An Accra High Court on Thursday ordered the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to pay an amount of GH¢100,000.00 as compensation to two former women employees who were dismissed for getting pregnant within three years of their appointment.
The service is to pay GH¢50,000.00 each to the women for the trauma and inevitable inconvenience of the wrongful dismissal.
The court presided over by Justice Anthony K. Yeboah ordered the Service to reinstate the two – Grace Fosu and Thelma Hammond, into the service without prejudice to any benefit that would have accrued to them during the period of their dismissal.
The service is also to pay all arrears of their salaries and benefits that should have accrued to them during the period of dismissal.
In delivering the judgement the court declared that Regulation 33 (6) of the conditions of service of the GNFS is discriminatory in effect, unjustifiable, illegitimate and illegal.
The Regulation states: “A female employee shall not be dismissed on the ground that she is pregnant provided she has served the first three years”.
In other words, women employees of the National Fire Service must defer their pregnancies until after three years of being employed.
It said the regulation, as was applied to the two by the Service, unduly impaired their constitutional rights, discriminated against them on that grounds and there was no reasonable justification for the continued existence of the regulation.
A cost of GH¢10,000.00 for each of the applicants was also awarded against the GNFS.
The two ex-employees of the Service, Grace Fosu and Thelma Hammond, were dismissed for violating Regulation 33 (6) of the Ghana National Fire Service Conditions of Service.
They proceeded to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice and later to the Human Rights Court, accusing the Service of discriminating against them on the basis of gender.