Noorfadilla’s fight for all pregnant women continues

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

According to CEDAW, the refusal to employ a woman on the grounds of pregnancy alone was a form of gender discrimination and therefore unconstitutional under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. ― File pic

According to CEDAW, the refusal to employ a woman on the grounds of pregnancy alone was a form of gender discrimination and therefore unconstitutional under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. ― File pic

PETALING JAYA, Feb 19 — It has been a living hell for Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin since she took on the government in 2010 for citing pregnancy as the reason for not employing her as a temporary teacher.

She has been vilified online to the extent of being called, among others things, a prostitute.

Her life turned upside down after she sought legal remedy over the government’s refusal to employ her after finding out she was three months pregnant.

The mother of four won the lawsuit two years later with a Shah Alam High Court deputy registrar ordering RM300,000 in damages in 2014, a decision overturned on Monday by a High Court judge who reduced the award to RM30,000.

In a stinging remark, Datuk Azimah Omar said the original amount was tantamount to a “handsome profit” for the 34-year-old.

Noorfadilla said the decision saddened her as she had put her life on hold for seven years awaiting it.

“I have gone through a lot, been bullied by many and have had my reputation tarnished and this is what it finally comes down to,” she said.

Noorfadilla is determined to fight for women to have the right to be employed even if they are pregnant.

“I have known many women in the same situation but they were afraid to speak up.

“So, I am fighting to set a precedent. If  we not place a value on ourselves as women, then our fate is sealed,” she said.

Noorfadilla, who runs a small business, stopped working for others when she realised being a women made her vulnerable in the workplace.

“I have worked in several companies and GLCs. A company official asked me at a job interview if I planned to have more kids and if I am willing to work long hours and be away from my children.

“I literally was asked to choose between family and career,” she said.

Noorfadilla is keeping her fingers crossed on what she intends to do in her campaign against employers who use pregnancy against women pending an appeal against the High Court decision.