2 Ghanaian firefighters who were fired for ‘giving life’ have been given back their livelihood

Two women who worked for the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and were dismissed in 2013 and 2014 for getting pregnant have been reinstated.

2 Ghananian firefighters who were fired for ‘giving life’ have been given back their livelihood

Thelma Hammond and FW Grace Fosu's reinstatement comes after a long legal battle with the state to have their dismissal reversed because it was against their human rights.

Their reinstatement on Monday comes after a long struggle in court and then a month after CNN reported their story.

The GNFS fired the two women for violating a decades-old rule prohibiting women firefighters from becoming pregnant within their first three years of employment.

The women further petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the commission took the matter to the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court.

In April 2018, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Anthony Yeboah, ruled in favour of CHRAJ and the two fire service women that Regulation 33 (6) of the Conditions of Service of the GNFS which prohibited fire service women from getting pregnant within the first three years of their employment was discriminatory and infringed on the rights of women.

He said, “The second and third applicants (Ms Hammond and Ms Fosu) are women who are protected under Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution. The right to family includes their right to be pregnant and they are entitled to the right to choose when to become pregnant.”

Mr Yeboah further ordered the GNFS to pay Ms Hammond and Ms Fosu GH¢50,000 each as compensation and also ordered the service to reinstate them.

A letter from the Chief Fire Officer, Mr Edwin Blackson, to CHRAJ stated that the two fire women “have been reinstated into the service with immediate effect”.

The GNFS added that the necessary “arrangements are being made to effect the payment of their entitlements.”

Using the case of the two women as a study, CHRAJ has urged all institutions to take notice of the judgment and revise all regulations and conditions that infringe on the rights of women to reproduction and marriage, particularly banks and financial institutions in the private sector.

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