The company says it was shutting down anyway; the complainant says she was let go because she got pregnant – in the end the company’s lack of evidence saw it lose its defence.
When Pauline Prabhjot Kooner-Rilcof told her boss in September 2010 that she was pregnant and would be on maternity leave from December or January she didn’t expect to be told not to come back. She had worked more than a year for BNA Smart Payment Systems and had been praised often, and even promoted to vice-president of sales.
See also: Pregnant pause: discrimination claims on the rise
However, company president Matthew Moore consulted with a lawyer and called her the next day, telling her she was being fired and the company was shutting down its West Coast operations. While there was evidence the company was struggling financially, it was still advertising for a new sales representative this month and other workers were given the opportunity to work on for the company on commission after being let go.
The tribunal found that the company wanted to cut costs, and could not provide enough evidence to explain why someone “key to BNA’s success” was fired with no forewarning.
The tribunal ordered Moore and his company to pay two more weeks of her salary, totaling $3,125 and an additional $8,000 for “injury to dignity, feelings and self respect”.
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