Can work sideline me just because I'm pregnant?

(5 Posts)
Bringbring Wed 21-Nov-12 17:01:02

I’m a middle manager in a public sector organisation. There are four of us at the same level with small teams and we report into the same manager. I don’t know if what I’m experiencing is discrimination or something for a grievance but I do feel like there is a history of me being treated differently to other staff at the same level of me and that what is happening now is being directly a result of me being pregnant.

In February last year a member of my team left and was not replaced. There was no reorganisation of other staff to cover the post, I covered most of the staff loss myself. The three other managers continued with full staff levels.

In June last year a member of the management team went on maternity leave and was not replaced. I was asked to assume responsibility for her role and staff for an initial period of three weeks. This has now been continuing for nearly five months. There is a vacancy in this team so I am effectively carrying two roles at my level and two vacancies in support. I have been very vocal that this is an unsustainable situation and have received encouragement and recognition that I am doing a good job from both my manager and clients during this time. There have been no discussions about areas in which I am failing.

I am due to leave on my maternity in February. We are restructuring and I have been asked by my clients to stay with my current projects until I commence maternity. I have been given reassurances from our manager that I would be able to do this, however another manager disputes I should be given this role. It looks like I will be moved elsewhere to look after clients in a “holding style” only position (as I will only be here another 12 weeks). I am massively hacked off after at being written off after carrying the department for so long.

Is this discrimination because I’m pregnant and do I have a case for a grievance? Thank you so much for reading!

flowery Wed 21-Nov-12 21:44:01

First one - what reason were you given for the vacancy not being filled? Difficult to imagine how this is anything personal against you, more likely to be budgets or something, surely?

Second one, you have been asked to take on more and your manager thinks you are doing a good job at it. You think it's too much, which is fair by the sounds of things, but what is your manager's reaction to your concerns? Have you proposed an alternative structure so that the burden doesn't all fall on you? Also why do you think your pregnancy has anything to do with the fact you've been asked to take on more responsibility?

Third one, in a situation where you are in the process of restructuring, and you are going on maternity leave shortly, I can't see anything too untoward with asking you to cover some clients in a 'holding' pattern for the 12 weeks you'll be around. I think describing this as being 'written off' is a bit over-dramatic tbh.

Sounds like your manager isn't unsupportive, or am I reading that wrong? Is there more to this for you to be thinking about discrimination and grievances?

Bringbring Thu 22-Nov-12 00:15:52

Thanks for the reply, nice to have a new perspective.

Point 1, restructure, maternity and post filling has all been about money. Have worked with manager and rest of team to devise alternative structures and arrangements. These have been wearily agreed, not comitted to by other managers and not enforced by our manager.

I have had to lobby our top level to kick start the latest round of discussion - it would never come from our team. I am probably the easiest of the staff to manage, the others have never seemed to realise their relationships with clients despite having better resourced teams. That's why it is odd that I am expected to stand aside and let someone, who has limited knowledge of my clients and less of a track history than me take my place. I think my manager is weak when faced with making difficult decisions and will go for the easiest option rather then what is best for the team/client.

I keep coming back to this point: Why should I step aside for a colleague into a lesser role just because I'm off on maternity? They don't have my track record, if they want the role they can apply to cover my maternity?

My manager is supportive but lacks the clout to make uncomfortable decisions.

My pregnancy wasn't known when I took on more responsibility, there has only been a push from me to redustribute workloads. However pregnancy is now being used to justify why I should be moved into the non account.

I wish I ran the bloody department (and sometimes it feels like I do!)

flowery Thu 22-Nov-12 07:09:30

Is it a lesser role or is it just different clients/projects?

What's happening about the restructuring in terms of changes to roles and when is that?

flowery Thu 22-Nov-12 07:33:12

Also what's the reason being given for the change now, rather than when you actually go on maternity leave, and what role are they saying you will return to?

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