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Mother claims she was fired because of pregnancy.

Byline: By Emma Brown South Wales Echo

A mother has claimed she was unfairly dismissed from her job because she was pregnant.

Speaking at an employment tribunal in Cardiff yesterday, Natalie Brookes, 24, from Cathays in Cardiff, said she was fired from her job with McMahon Associates estate agents last year for taking time off to go to hospital while she was pregnant.

Miss Brookes, who gave birth to her daughter Hope on January 31 this year, said she was not allowed suitable lunch breaks and her boss, Sean McMahon, 'was very unsympathetic' when she asked for time off work to attend an ante-natal scan during her pregnancy in 2005.

After her ante-natal scan in September 2005, Miss Brookes took two days' sick leave to attend hospital due to pregnancy complications.

Miss Brookes said: 'When I returned, Sean seemed very angry with me as a result of the absence. His attitude changed after this day. He did not even look up to address me.

'Around this time he started to make what I consider to be snide comments relating to my pregnancy, on one occasion informing me that he considered that I was 'looking pregnant today'.'

She added: 'If I was given a break, it was always much shorter than one hour and I was informed that if I had a break, I was to take it at the back of the office in a small, dark room without any tables or chairs.

'I had a choice of going up to that back room or sitting and eating my lunch on the front step outside. This to my mind was not appropriate for someone in my condition at that time.'

Responding, former employee Darren James Price said staff were given ample break times and could leave the office if they wanted to eat their lunch.

Two weeks after the time off, on September 23, 2005, Miss Brookes was informed by post that her employment had been terminated with immediate effect. The letter stated that a complaint had been made against her and the matter was being investigated.

Also giving evidence at the tribunal yesterday at Caradog House, St Andrews Place, Cardiff, was current employee Elena Farquhar.

Both Mrs Farquhar and Mr Price said they had experienced no problems of discrimination while working for McMahon Associates (now Re/Max Associates Estate Agents) and that they were not aware of any mistreatment or discrimination towards Miss Brookes during her employment from July to September 2005.

(Proceeding)
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 27, 2006
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