Accused testifies at human rights pregnancy hearing

A woman accused of discriminating against her former employee told a human rights hearing on Wednesday that the two had a turbulent working relationship.

Yvonne Atwell is executive director of the Community Justice Society, an agency that helps troubled youth. She’s accused of not offering a job to former case worker Tammy Quilty-MacAskill because she was pregnant.

Quilty-MacAskill was offered a contract extension until her due date, but she quit and filed the complaint.

At the Dartmouth hearing Wednesday, Atwell said the case worker displayed a superior attitude and was disrespectful.

Atwell said Quilty-MacAskill made serious mistakes, including revealing pregnancy test results of a youth to the girl’s boyfriend. Atwell said Quilty-MacAskill later told the boyfriend he was an idiot.

Quilty-MacAskill received an official warning letter for the incidents, but she was also awarded a second contract.

“I wanted to give her a second chance,” Atwell said. “I was also very aware this was her last chance.”

Quilty-MacAskill said that was news to her.

“I was never told that,” she said. “I was told ‘great work.’”

Atwell said she decided she would not rehire Quilty-MacAskill around the time she was suspended for an issue involving another client in 2010. Atwell said she didn't tell Quilty-MacAskill's direct supervisor because she didn't trust him to keep the decision to himself.

Atwell said it was Quilty-MacAskill’s job performance, not her pregnancy, that cost her the new contract.

The hearing will resume next week.

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