Unlawful Discrimination: Stern v Depilation & Skincare Pty Ltd [2009] VCAT 2725

Dsicrimination LawA pregnant beauty therapist requested a reduction in hours on medical grounds. Her employer changed her employment status from full-time to permanent part-time, rather than treating her as a full-time employee requesting a temporary reduction in hours. Soon after, the employer experienced a downturn in business and needed to make a part-time position redundant. It chose the pregnant employee’s position.

While the Tribunal found that the dominant reason for the redundancy was business related, a key reason for choosing the employee was that she was part-time. She was only part-time because the employer had changed her employment status due to her pregnancy. The employee was treated less favourably than other employees who were pregnant and this amounted to discrimination. The employee was awarded total compensation of $6,607.58.