Unfairly Dismissed, Mama Disrupt

What To Do If You’re Unfairly Dismissed From Work

In Career, Features, Life, Stories, Work by Nicole Fuge

By Nicole Fuge, Mama Disrupt® Managing Editor

If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby and you’ve been unfairly dismissed, there is now a free legal self-help service you can access.

A study has found one in five mothers have been made redundant, restructured, dismissed or their contract was not renewed either during their pregnancy, when they requested or took parental leave or when they returned to work.

That is NOT ok!

Which is why Bumpd is helping parents fight workplace discrimination.

You can access the cool new online tool for free at any time of day or night.

And it automates legal claims.

So it is quicker and easier to process a compensation claim within the Fair Work Commission’s 21-day timeframe requirement.

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Melbourne lawyers, Daniel Yim and Erin Kanygin, created Bumpd after seeing friends face sham redundancies or other unfair dismissal following pregnancy or parental leave.

“Losing your job due to discrimination while pregnant or having just returned to work creates enormous stress and pressure,” Erin says.

“It’s difficult enough trying to adjust to being pregnant or having a new child. Adding job loss on top of that is extremely challenging.

“There’s no doubt taking legal action adds more stress. So we try to dial that back as much as possible and make it realistic for women to not only seek compensation and other remediation, but also stand up to their employers and send the clearest message that this is not ok.”

Bumpd is not a replacement for lawyers.

But rather it allows mums and dads to have more control and power in solving their own problems.

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Advice for mums who have been unfairly dismissed

You need to act quickly if you’ve lost your job and suspect it’s due to pregnancy or parenting-related discrimination.

Under the Fair Work Act, you only have 21 days to make a legal claim against your ex-employer.

This means mums or mums-to-be should start looking into legal options immediately.

Whether that’s through a community legal centre, legal aid, a lawyer, or simply on the internet.

This short timeframe is less than ideal, particularly when new mums or mums-to-be have so much going else on.

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Warning signs to look out for

Employers know it is illegal to discriminate against someone for having a baby.

So employers looking to do this will usually dress up the situation to make it look like the dismissal is about something else.

These are the warning signs…

1 // Sudden concerns about work performance when there weren’t any issues before.

2 // Changes at work that make the employee’s life difficult, to try and make the employee resign. This could include unreasonable reductions/increases in the amount or complexity of work allocated. A significant increase in travel requirements. Exclusion from social activities. Or even just constant nasty comments.

3 // Actions in preparation for redundancy. This could include transferring the employee to a role already earmarked for redundancy. Creating a new role for the employee which doesn’t make much business sense. Or being vague or evasive about the employee returning to work from maternity leave.

If you notice any of these warning signs, make a note so you have that evidence ready in case you are unfairly dismissed and decide to make a formal complaint or take legal action later.

“Bumpd was developed specifically to address these barriers and empowers women to take action on their own,” Daniel says.

“We also hope the collective impact of many women fighting back against discrimination and holding their employers to account will help drive more fundamental changes in how employers treat mums and mums-to-be.”

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