Pregnant woman unlawfully fired

11:00 Fri Jan 20 2012
Beauty clinic owner told woman clients would find her pregnancy
Beauty clinic owner told woman clients would find her pregnancy "disgusting and repulsive" (Thinkstock)

A pregnant woman fired from an Auckland spray tan clinic after being told clients would find it "disgusting and repulsive" for her to provide them services has been awarded thousands of dollars in compensation.

An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) hearing found that Janita Wright unjustifiably sacked her niece Veronica Kloeten from Combined Tanning Supplies Ltd in June 2011.

ERA member Eleanor Robinson ordered that Ms Kloeten should be reimbursed for nearly six months of wages she would have earned before maternity leave, 14 weeks of maternity leave, and $3000 for humiliation and distress.

Ms Robinson's report says Ms Wright told Ms Kloeten the day after the latter announced her pregnancy that the business could not sustain the costs it would incur.

The report says the aunt told her niece that its clients "would not like to have the services provided by a pregnant woman, as they would find this to be disgusting and repulsive", actions Ms Robinson said "constituted bullying and harassment".

A day later, Ms Wright's Facebook page had a status update saying "a catastrophic event ... is watching everything you've worked for, your entire networth (sic), the thing that defines you as who you are & the hopes & dreams you had ... all gone".

The next day Ms Kloeten said she was scared Ms Wright would assault her following an argument, gathered her laptop and sewing machine and had to push past Ms Wright to get to the door.

She received notice she had been dismissed four days later for serious misconduct for assaulting and verbally abusing Ms Wright.

Ms Robinson said there was no substantive justification for finding she committed serious misconduct.

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