Return to work denied after pregnancy

April 2023

Natalia* had been working for her former employer for two months before she advised them that she was pregnant. She told them she wanted to return to her position after a period of unpaid maternity leave.

While on maternity leave, Natalia said she contacted her employer and tried to set an agreed date for her return to work but was told she should look for other work due to instability in the business. Natalia later became aware that several new staff members had been hired and her position filled by someone else.

Natalia lodged a complaint of sex (pregnancy) discrimination with ADNSW.

Natalia’s former employer disputed her version of events and said that Natalia was not entitled to unpaid maternity leave because she had been employed with them for less than 12 months. Her employer also said they had only ever agreed that they would discuss a ‘possible’ return for Natalia after her baby was born.

The complaint was resolved through conciliation conference when Natalia’s former employer gave her a positive written reference and the Managing Director also agreed that prospective employers could contact him, and he would give a positive verbal reference about Natalia’s performance.

Natalia said this was a useful outcome for her, as she lived in a regional area and good references would help her to find other employment.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual

Last updated:

25 Jul 2023

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