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    Nursery worker was sacked for being pregnant

    A TRAINEE nursery nurse who was sacked for getting pregnant was yesterday awarded £7,500 compensation.

    An employment tribunal in Birmingham found that Rebecca Mountford, 20, was unfairly dismissed six months into her contract after informing her manager that she was pregnant.

    The tribunal panel calculated the damages for loss of earnings by using the national minimum wage, though Miss Mountford was paid less than that at the Jack & Jill Nursery in Bromsgrove.

    Miss Mountford, from Stourport-on-Severn, Worcs, said that last July her manager, Pauline Hawkins, told her that she would have to leave because her pregnancy would render her unable to cope with the demands of the work.

    She was given less than a week’s notice.

    The panel was also shown a letter from Mrs Hawkins which said: “Rebecca has recently informed me that she is pregnant and will not be able to fulfil her obligations as regards to the conditions of the employment.”

    Mark Vinall, for Miss Mountford, said he had never seen such a blatant violation of the protection afforded to pregnant workers.

    Miss Mountford, who gave birth to a son Joshua last February, said she was delighted with the tribunal’s decision.

    “Employers should not treat their staff this way,” she said.

    Rosemary Lloyd of the Equal Opportunities Commission, which back Miss Mountford’s legal action, said that employers’ unfair treatment of pregnant women was the most common cause of complaints to its helpline.

    She said: “Pregnancy is not a sackable offence and employers have a legal duty under the Sex Discrimination Act to treat pregnant women fairly.”

    “The Daily Telegraph” 28 April 2004