A Perth boss is being prosecuted by the Fair Work Ombudsman for allegedly discriminating against a female employee by telling her to resign when she became pregnant with her second child.
Austrend International Pty Ltd part owner and general manager Denzil Godfrey Rao is alleged to have breached the workplace rights of sales executive Diana Lindsey Aragon, 27, when he asked her to sign a pre-prepared resignation letter last July.
Documents filed in the Federal Court show the Ombudsman is seeking compensation on behalf of Ms Aragon for lost earnings and also wants Mr Rao and his company to face substantial fines if convicted of breaching the Fair Work Act.
Ms Aragon claims her problems with her employer began in early 2015 when she became pregnant with her first child. Shortly after she announced the pregnancy, she was issued with a written warning for what she was told were poor sales results, despite having been given a pay rise months earlier as a reward for her good performance.
She claims she was then made to work right up until the date the baby was due, before starting 18 weeks of maternity leave in July 2015.
While on leave, she contacted the company to inform it she wanted to return to work on a part-time basis once her leave was over.
The request was allegedly refused and Ms Aragon claims she was also told that she should stay on leave until April last year when she was ready to return full-time. But a month before she was due to begin, she discovered she was pregnant again and informed the company that she would require maternity leave for a second time in September.
It is alleged the company told her that rather than returning to work, she should take leave without pay until after the baby was born.
Ms Aragaon claims she rejected the offer and was summoned to a meeting at the company’s Bibra Lake headquarters in July where she was allegedly handed the resignation letter.
She agreed to sign it in order to access $16,000 in back pay, but then took her complaint to the Ombudsman’s office.
A Federal Court hearing is due to start in Perth today.