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Unislim discriminated against fitness trainer

Unislim has been ordered to pay €9,000 to a part-time fitness trainer after she returned from maternity leave and was issued with a new contract changing her employment “beyond recognition”.

Making a finding of gender-based discrimination against the firm, a Workplace Relations Commission official wrote she was surprised that a business which “perhaps garners more enthusiasm amongst women than men” had “so little understanding of how important it is that women should not be allowed to fall behind” for taking maternity leave.

The tribunal heard that the complainant in the case, Marsha Flannery, had worked for Unislim Ltd since 2016.

She worked as part of its core head office team and led two classes in a ten-hour working week in operation when she went out on maternity leave around May 2019.

She had been due to return to work in March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the firm shut down, remaining on sick leave for a time before going on layoff from September that year, the tribunal heard.

Ms Flannery took maternity leave again from December 2020 to June 2021 and again contacted her employer again to discuss a return to work.

Adjudicating officer Penelope McGrath noted that the company’s business had been “decimated by the Covid pandemic” and that there were “very few classes” being taught throughout the period.

Although Ms Flannery had previously done two in-person classes a week on a ten-hour contract, the employer proposed she either take on one extra remote class or be paid for six hours a week to do two classes, the tribunal heard.

Ms Flannery told the tribunal she was “not happy” with what Ms McGrath noted were “seemingly new terms and conditions” in a letter of agreement issued to her which included class attendance targets, review clauses and time limits.

A new contract of employment was also issued to Ms Flannery which “purported to set a new start date of September 2021, discounting her start date of 2016, with a preliminary probationary period”, Ms McGrath wrote.

“The complainant could see that her service with the company was to be lost,” the adjudicating officer added.

When the complainant…


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