FORMER Coco’s Restaurant waitress Nikki Taylor claims she was discriminated against by her ex-employer who called her “disgusting” and denied her shifts because she was pregnant.
Ms Taylor took her claims to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), which has taken legal action against the restaurant’s operating company Jewel Bay 2015 Pty Ltd and its director Abdel Wahid Tajeddine.
In the Federal Circuit Court next month, FWO will allege that Jewel Bay and Mr Tajeddine breached the Fair Work Act by reducing and cancelling some of Ms Taylor’s shifts between July and September 2017.
The mother, in her late 20s, started working at the riverside restaurant in February 2016 and told Mr Tajeddine that she was pregnant in April 2017.
It will be alleged that in July 2017, by which time Ms Taylor was visibly pregnant, that Mr Tajeddine directed a supervisor to send her home because she “looks disgusting”.
It will be further alleged that in another occasion in July, Mr Tajeddine directed the supervisor to cancel the shift Ms Taylor was rostered to work that evening, making references to the effect of her pregnancy on her appearance and ability to work.
According to a FWO statement, days after the shift was cancelled, Ms Taylor wrote to Jewel Bay management with her concerns that the reason she wasn’t being rostered for shifts was because she was pregnant.
She allegedly did not receive a response.
The FWO is seeking a penalty against Jewel Bay and Mr Tajeddine for alleged breaches of workplace laws, as well as a court order requiring them to pay compensation to the employee for lost earnings and non-economic loss suffered, including stress and humiliation.
Jewel Bay faces penalties of up to $63,000 for each incident and Mr Tajeddine faces penalties of up to $12,600 for each occasion.
A court order requiring Jewel Bay to commission workplace relations training for management personnel is also being sought by the FWO.
The matter is scheduled for a directions hearing in the Federal Circuit Court in Perth on Tuesday, November 13.
Employers and employees seeking assistance should visit fairwork.gov.au or call Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.