Pregnant, so she got sack
By RENEE REDMOND
FORMER dental assistant Hailey Stevens was yesterday given an out-of-court settlement after claiming she had been sacked by her employer after falling pregnant.
Ms Stevens, 18, of Casino, told the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting at Lismore Local Court she noticed a change in attitude from her employer, Robert & Lea Foster Dental Surgeons in Casino, soon after she had told them of her pregnancy in July last year.
"At the initial job interview in February, Robert Foster told me he wanted me to work for three years," she said.
"He said he didn't want any stuff-ups. He was referring to me falling pregnant.
"I told him I wouldn't, but when I did he said it would be best for me to leave at the end of November. But if I stayed until February I would have been entitled to 12 months' maternity leave."
Before her dismissal, Ms Stevens said she had been to the doctor, who said she was unfit for work and needed a week off.
"I went to the surgery to find out what time I started work on Monday and was told I didn't. I was given a form to say my employment had been terminated," she said.
"I was disappointed because I needed the money and had hoped to come back to full-time work after a year at home with my baby."
Principal solicitor of the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, Cathy Kerr, who represented Ms Stevens, said she was pleased an out-of-court settlement had been reached.
However, Ms Kerr said possible changes to unfair dismissal laws would mean people like Ms Stevens would not be given a fair go.
"The changes will mean a large proportion of working Australians won't have any redress when they are sacked," she said.
"Employers with less than 100 employees will have more power if these changes are introduced.
"The changes could be made after July this year."