The comment by Gordon Dunne was labelled “childish and unnecessary” by Foyle MLA Sinead McLaughlin.
The SDLP MLA had been waiting on a video-link turn to contribute to a discussion on Brexit at last Wednesday’s economy committee when the connection was lost.
Fellow committee member Mr Dunne quipped: “She’s away by the look of it… must be away shopping.”
The SDLP MLA said the DUP politician would not have made the comment if she was male.Mr Dunne has since apologised, and said he had not intended causing offence.
The committee, which is chaired by Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald, has been regularly hearing contributions through video-link since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in March.
A number of committee members, including Ms McLaughlin and independent MLA Claire Sugden, have also been taking part remotely.