Pregnant Employee Dismissed During Probation

Giada Mifsud Calabro has been awarded damages amounting to €10,846 by the Industrial Tribunal after the Tribunal decided in favour of the employee in a case against Union Print Company Limited.

The employee was employed in a full-time position as a Sales Executive with a condition being stipulated in her contract that she needed to sell an amount equivalent to €75,000 within the first 12 months of her employment. She was dismissed on grounds of non-performance a few days after informing her employers that she was pregnant while she was still during the probationary period of her employment contract. The employer explained how the employee had been given several warnings due to non-performance and that the dismissal had been made purely on the grounds of non-performance.

The Tribunal thus had to analyse whether the dismissal was made purely on grounds of non-performance. It was noted that the employee had made the equivalent of €9,000 worth of sale within a little less than 6 months and this was much less than her annual target sales of €75,000 even when prorated to the time the employee had been employed with the employer. However, the Tribunal also noted that the employment contract did not subdivide the target sales further into months and that other employees who had not reached their targets were not dismissed.

Subsidiary legislation states that in cases of dismissal during pregnancy and also during the probationary period, where the employee established facts from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination related to the pregnancy, the burden of proof falls on the defendant employer to prove that the dismissal was based on a good and sufficient cause.

In this case, the Tribunal concluded that there was no good and sufficient cause for the dismissal made, and proceeded with awarding damages.

For further information about how GVZH Advocates can help you with your employment law query, kindly contact us on employment@gvzh.com.mt.

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