The Human Right Division of an Accra High Court has ordered the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to reinstate two of its female officers dismissed for getting pregnant within three years of their employment.
The court also ordered GNFS to pay the two personnel a sum of GHc50, 000 each as well as pay all their salaries and benefits due them during the entire period they were sacked.
Grace and Thelma dismissedThe two fire officers, Grace Fosu and Thelma Hammond, were dismissed from the Fire Service in 2014 after the Service discovered that they had taken seed within the first three years after joining the Service.
Regulation 33(6) of the GNFS conditions of service of the fire service prohibits pregnancy within the first three years of employment.
The regulation states that “A female employee shall not be dismissed on the ground that she is pregnant provided she has served the first three years.”
The decision to challenge the dismissal
Unhappy with the dismissal, the two proceeded to court arguing that they had been discriminated upon on the basis of their gender, a clear violation of the 1992 Constitution.
The constitution states in Article 17 (1) that “All persons shall be equal before the law… A person shall not be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, race colour, ethnicity, or creed or social or economic status.”
The two prayed the court to revoke their dismissal and order for an immediate reinstatement.
The court, presided over by Justice Anthony Yeboah, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, said the regulation “is discriminatory in effect, unjustifiable, illegitimate and illegal.”
“It is hereby ordered that the 2nd and 3rd applicants be reinstated into the employment of GNFS without prejudice to any benefit that would have accrued to them during the period of their dismissal. It is hereby ordered that the GNFS pays to the 2nd and 3rd applicants all arrears of their salaries and benefits that accrued to them during the period of dismissal.”
“Finally, it is hereby ordered that the GNFS pays to each of the 2nd and 3rd applicants a compensation in the sum of GHc50, 000.00 for the trauma and inevitable inconvenience of the wrongful dismissal,” Justice Yeboah added in the ruling.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citinewsroom.com/Ghana