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Woman fired from job 'for being pregnant'

A woman working at a nuclear arms factory has said that she was fired because she told her bosses of her pregnancy.

Jennifer Cox alleged that she lost her job as a result of morning sickness after deciding 'honesty was the best policy' and telling her bosses she was expecting a child.

Cox, 33, had worked for the Ministry of Defence police at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire, as its website manager in charge of updating information on the base's intranet. She had been hired on a part-time basis and within five weeks of the start of her job, she told bosses she was pregnant and began taking time off due to morning sickness and attending antenatal appointments.

This delayed progress on the website's development and as a result, she said her line manager Ray Cross had a 'threatening conversation' with her. "He just told me to stop going off sick � I didn't want to be sick, I couldn't help it," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.

"The threatening and intimidating conversation left me leaving work feeling very miserable and low," she said. She is charging her bosses with unfair dismissal due to sexual discrimination. Cox told the tribunal panel that when she informed her superiors of her condition it led to her newly formed job becoming 'at risk'.

"I had made the decision to notify my line manager, thinking that honesty was the best policy, which I now regret," she said. Martin Downs, representing the MoD, said Cross was not angry at her for missing work because of her sickness.

"This was not with focus on absence in mind � all Mr Cross was concerned about was the output on the intranet," Downs said. Her employment with the MoD ended on July 12, 2010. She had been employed on a six-month short-term casual contract for three days a week.

Cox said she was led to believe it would become permanent position. However, that appeared to have changed several months later, the tribunal was told. "Mr Cross told me that if things didn't start to develop on the intranet soon he would have no option other than to end my contract and remind me that my contribution to the business was being evaluated while on a casual contract," she said. The case was adjourned with a reserved conclusion from Judge Robin Lewis expected in the New Year. 

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