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'Sexual discrimination' penalty for employer who fired female employee who had abortion in Belgium

For the first time in Belgium, an employer was found guilty of "sexual discrimination" for firing a female employee who had an abortion.

The employer was sentenced to pay the female employee a six-month gross salary.

According to the Belgian Institute for Gender Equality (IGVM), this decision sets an important precedent as it clearly affirms that dismissal for abortion is a form of gender discrimination.

According to the statement made by the institute, a woman working in the care sector in the Flemish part of the country informed her employer that she was pregnant and wanted to end it.

Photo: Unsplash

A few days before the abortion, the Belgian employer informed the female employee that there would be a “performance review”.

On the second business day after the abortion, the woman's contract was terminated on the grounds of "diluting performance and breaking trust".

The Belgian Institute for Gender Equality applied to the labor court on behalf of the female employee.

According to the institute, the court recently ruled that “the dismissal was due to abortion and therefore constituted discrimination based on gender.”

The court pointed out that the employer failed to provide objective evidence of the grounds for dismissal.

According to the court, the timing of the dismissal and the lack of serious reassessment suggest a link between termination of employment and termination of pregnancy.

Therefore, the court ordered the employer to pay the female employee six months' gross salary.

The court decided that the employer should pay IGVM a symbolic compensation of 1 euro.

The employer did not appeal the decision.

According to the institute, this is the first decision to explicitly affirm that dismissal for abortion is a form of gender discrimination. Therefore, it sets an important precedent.

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