||Issue No. 250||21 December 2004|
Beyond The Law
Interview: The King of Comedy
Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
International: Global Struggle
Economics: Cashing in the Year
History: Grass Roots
Review: Cultural Realities
The Locker Room
The Price Of Tea In China
Cry For Me, Argentina
Ho Bloody Ho
Right Is Wrong
Business As Usual
All In The Family
Swing Left Wishful Thinking
Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice
Maree Cunningham was "horrified" when her policeman husband delivered the Greater Building Society’s version of "congratulations" to her bedside.
Amongst cards and good wishes from friends and family were two letters from the insurance company's human resources manager, Tim Hopson - the first confirmed she no longer had a job, and the second demanded that uniforms be returned within four days.
"The whole thing was just bizarre," Cunningham told Workers Online. "It was like going back to the dark ages when females were frightened to have babies in case they lost their jobs.
"I will fight them over this. It's disgraceful. We have to keep on top of our mortgage like everybody else."
The USU confirmed it would seek Cunningham's reinstatement through the IRC after being unable to convince the Greater Building Society its actions were unfair and discriminatory.
It is understood the company has put a gagging order on Cunningham's workmates, ordering them not to discuss her case with anyone outside the organisation.
Cunningham started with the Greater Building Society on March 1 and learned she was pregnant within three months. She knew she was not legally entitled to maternity leave but applied for unpaid leave while she recovered from the caesarean.
She told the company her husband had agreed to take extended leave from the police force to become the infant's primary carer.
Cunningham said the Greater Building Society's corporate secretary had told her he would recommend that her position be held open.
However, when Hopson became involved, her choices narrowed dramatically.
The HR supremo told her she would lose her job, and have to train a replacement.
Cunningham appealed to the general manager before bringing in the union. They have been to the IRC three times to try and get a resolution.
"I wasn't pregnant when I got the job and I didn't mean to get pregnant. It was an accident," she said, "but that's not the point. We have a beautiful baby which is great but I don't believe, in this day and age, that should cost you your job."
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