Employment Law Update – Discriminatory Treatment

Grainne Campbell v Bank of Ireland – Employment Law case update.

The claimant contented that she was subjected to discriminatory treatment on the grounds of gender and disability contrary to Section 8 of the  Employment Equality Acts.

The Complainant commenced employment with Bank of Ireland in 2006 as a Private Banking Manager. Historically it was confirmed that she had issues regarding lack of support/ targets etc and that she partook in counselling to deal with work related issues that had taken a toll on her health.

The complainant took absence on sick leave between September and October 2007 after announcing her pregnancy in August. Upon her return, the manager was aggressive towards her regarding the cover of her workload subsequent to which she was asked to step back from this workload or consider another role during her pregnancy.

In November 2007 a new private banking manager was appointed to her area and she was advised that no confirmation could be given to her as to what would happen upon her return from maternity leave. She was eventually told that she could insist upon returning to her old job but that this would be difficult. On return to work she did not receive her old portfolio of clients back and contents that in effect she suffered a demotion.

It was held that further to EU Directive 2002/73/EC a woman on maternity leave is entitled to return to her job or an equivalent position and that Bank of Ireland had failed to rebut the inference of discriminatory treatment and the claimants case succeeded.  She was awarded €30,000 which equated to 6 months salary.