Pregnant worker's firing called bad timing

Hotel managers in Charlottetown told a human rights commission panel that the firing of a woman had nothing to do with her pregnancy.

PEI Human Rights Commission hears hotel worker's case

Other managers had been told of the plans to fire Alison MacKinnon, before they learned of her pregnancy, said Roger and Tanya Bevan. (CBC)

Hotel managers in Charlottetown have told a PEI Human Rights Commission panel that the firing of a woman had nothing to do with her pregnancy.

Alison MacKinnon was hired at the Quality Inn on the Hill as an administration assistant and front desk worker in September 2010. The next month, she told her supervisor she was three months pregnant, and an hour after that she was called into an office and fired.


Was it fair for a PEI hotel to fire a pregnant woman? Have your say. 

On Monday, the hotel's owner and MacKinnon's supervisor both testified that the 33-year-old was let go because of performance issues. Roger and Tanya Bevan said MacKinnon wasn't dressing appropriately and that on at least one occasion, she had ignored a guest to finish a conversation with a co-worker.

They also testified there was a personality clash between the woman and her supervisor.

The two said the firing of MacKinnon an hour after she announced her pregnancy was just bad timing, and that they had decided to let her go a full week before and had told two other managers about their plans.

Alison MacKinnon with her daughter at the PEI Human Rights Commission. (CBC)

"I just don't do that, let someone go because they're pregnant," said Roger Bevan.

"We've had many young ladies go out on maternity leave, and we've dealt with it. It's a strain on the other employees, but we manage it."

MacKinnon said in the month she worked at the hotel, nobody said anything to her about her performance, at least not until the owner called her in and told her she was fired.

"I was in shock, absolute shock," MacKinnon told CBC News.

"Because I know in other past jobs, if there was any problems, you always sat down with your manager. There was always a written report."

MacKinnon's supervisor said MacKinnon was still in her six-month probationary period, and if the hotel didn't think she was right for the job, it was their right to let her go without warning.

The human rights panel will take the next two to three months to decide whether MacKinnon was discriminated against because of her pregnancy.

MacKinnon, who has since found work delivering newspapers, is seeking more than $8,000 in lost income and $7,500 in damages for hurt and humiliation.