Planning boutique faces unfair dismissal claim

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers says it has filed a claim in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) alleging a planning firm unfairly terminated the employment of a woman looking to return to work after having a baby.

In a statement, Maurice Blackburn alleges Melbourne-based boutique Carnbrea & Co sacked a female employee attempting to return to work just months after giving birth, despite the company having previously agreed to helping her return to work.

The firm, which currently has three authorised representatives according to an ASIC register, took “unlawful adverse action” against Sarah Fillmore because she “accessed unpaid parental leave, because she had caring responsibilities and because she exercised her right to request flexible work arrangements,” Maurice Blackburn stated.

Maurice Blackburn noted the case comes shortly after the government announced an inquiry into workplace discrimination against women going on, or returning from, maternity leave.

Acting for Ms Fillmore, Maurice Blackburn employment law principal Josh Bornstein said Carnbrea had shown a lack of integrity in terminating Ms Fillmore, despite previously agreeing to a flexible return to work plan.

“As requested by Carnbrea, Ms Fillmore put her flexible work proposal in writing and asked to discuss it with the company. Instead, she received a letter from the company terminating her employment and demanding that she hand in the office key,” Mr Bornstein said.

“At the time Ms Fillmore told Carnbrea she was pregnant it was agreed she would return to work part-time before gradually returning to work full-time.”

Ms Fillmore has more than a decade’s experience in the financial services industry and is now seeking compensation “for lost wages and the hurt, humiliation and distress she suffered,” Maurice Blackburn stated.

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