A mother of four who lost her post as untrained attachment teacher due to her pregnancy was awarded RM40,000 in damages by the Court of Appeal today, for breach of constitutional rights, and emotional and mental distress.
A three-man bench led by Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh partly allowed Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin's appeal over the quantum of damages awarded to her by the High Court.
"We maintained the amount of RM30,000 in damages for breach of constitutional protection," he said, adding the court was awarding separate damages in respect of pain and suffering of a sum of RM10,000.
The court also awarded her RM10,000 in costs.
Meanwhile, the panel which also comprised justices Abdul Rahman Sebli and Prasad Sandosham Abraham dismissed the cross-appeal brought by the government.
Noorfadilla, 34, was appealing against the Shah Alam High Court decision on Feb 15, this year to allow the government's appeal to reduce the quantum of damages awarded to her to RM30,000 from RM325,000.
On Nov 10, 2014, High Court senior assistant registrar Ahmad Rizki Abdul Jalil who had assessed damages, had awarded Noorfadilla RM300,000 in damages for breach of constitutional rights and RM25,000 damages for emotional and mental distress.
Mohd Zawawi also ordered that Noorfadilla be paid RM16,116.49 for loss of earnings, loss of Employment Provident Fund (EPF) contribution and loss of EPF dividends.
Noorfadilla had filed a civil lawsuit on May 7, 2010, seeking a declaration that the termination of her contract because she was three months’ pregnant, was illegal.
She claimed she was offered a position as an untrained relief teacher on a month-to-month basis, starting in mid-January 2009. However, the offer was withdrawn when she informed the Hulu Langat district education office that she was pregnant.
She named Hulu Langat district education officers Chayed Basirun and Ismail Musa, Selangor Education Department director Dr Zahri Aziz, education ministry director-general, education minister and the Government as defendants.
On July 12, 2011, the Shah Alam High Court ruled on liability in favour of Noorfadilla, who sought a declaration that pregnancy was not a reason for her to be denied employment as an untrained relief teacher.
The court then ordered the matter to be remitted to the High Court for an assessment of damages for breach of Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution, which stated that there should be no discrimination against anyone based on gender.
Noorfadilla's counsel, Honey Tan, earlier submitted that the High Court erred in reducing the quantum of damages for breach of constitutional rights.
In the cross-appeal, senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob representing the government submitted that Noorfadilla was not entitled to damages for breach of constitutional rights and for emotional and mental distress but she was only entitled for damages for breach of contract.