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unofficial demotion after returning from maternity leave?

(20 Posts)
flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 20:37:21

Have posted this in employment, but was wondering if anybody here could help.
Hi, I have worked with the same company for 7 years, returned from maternity leave in April. I'm a manager of my department, used to work 30 hours but now do 16. When returning to work, my assistant manager was told by the MD that she was to take the lead of my department.
Nothing at all has been said to me, my contract or rate of pay hasn't changed but other people have been told I'm not the manager anymore. I don't attend heads of department meetings anymore, my deputy does.
I cant really say any of the big managers are horrible, they just act as if I'm not there...e.g not talking to me.The MD has spoke to my deputy and said to her that I'm getting above myself and other bitchy things.
I think this has all come about because basically I had a chat with my manager and told her that I was hoping to go to Uni in 2012 to retrain for a different career.I get the feeling they are trying to get me to resign.
Has anybody got any advice for me please?

pumpernickel10 Mon 13-Jun-11 20:39:29

They can't demote you have you HR you can talk to or a union?

Happymm Mon 13-Jun-11 20:42:55

I haven't really as similar happened to me, and tbh in the end I'd had a fucking gutful of it, the bitching and backstabbing. I couldn't stand not being able to do the job I have spent my whole life training to do and my opinions being ignored.

I jacked my career in. Best move I ever made. Haven't looked back. Much happier. I suppose it depends on whether you really want to stay there till you go to uni next year.

lalabaloo Mon 13-Jun-11 20:47:35

Personally I wouldn't have mentioned uni in case they got funny, but I would still say this sounds like discrimination, esp as it started after a change in hours. Is the firm big enough to have a designated HR team, if so could you have a private word?

squeakytoy Mon 13-Jun-11 20:51:42

Putting aside any employment law, I think to be fair, how can you effectively "manage" when you are only there for a few hours a week. Also they know that you are thinking of leaving anyway. Hardly shows any committment to the company long term.

chillichill Mon 13-Jun-11 20:52:49

from what I understand of maternity and employment law, your work is not required to give you the same position when you return from mat leave IF you are doing different hours. they ARE required to keep your job, with your hours for you for up to a year. if you come back to different hours, all bets are off.
it does sound a bit like you might ne being bullied, pushed out. do you have an hr dept you could speak to about it? if you suggest bullying, I'm sure they would have words with your manager so you don't have to.

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 20:57:35

I work 16 hours as this is all I'm allowed to work. My old deputy is now my boss, when i mention to her about resuming my old hours she mutters something about the MD. I realise if I went to a Union it would all be my word against theirs, I have no written proof.
I told them about Uni because I thought it was fair to do, plus the only way I could get on my access course was with a reference from my employer.

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 21:02:05

Thanks for all your replies so far, there is no HR department.
I'm really stressed out by it all, I feel like I'm being slagged off all of the time, realise this might be paranoia.
My deputy tells me what they say about me, we are good friends.

chillichill Mon 13-Jun-11 21:07:44

is there a medical reason why you are in fewer hours? if so, they would have to honour your original hours, I think. if you had to adjust your hours for personal reasons, child care for example, then that's that. it must be difficult to go back and have your deputy be above you but I can see, from your works perspective, that you cannot be a manager doing only 16 hours.

LDNmummy Mon 13-Jun-11 21:08:32

I'm sorry I have nothing to offer in the way of advice, but I can honestly say that doing an access course changed my life and I wish you the best of luck and hope it offers you the same opportunities it offered me.

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 21:23:21

I understand everyone's point about how you cant be a manager only working 16 hours, the thing I'm most upset about is the talking behind my back, feeling pushed out etc. Its hard having my deputy above me, yes, but only because she cant cope with all the paperwork etc so I am still doing most of it.(in secret)
She started working full time to cover my maternity,basically I have got her old hours.
I'm thinking of resigning anyway, don't want to get even more stressed but it hurts that I have worked my arse off for them for 7 years and this is how I get treated.

Bibbit Mon 13-Jun-11 21:28:03

stop propping her up
stop thinking of her as a friend
stop wasting time

start planning your exit

chillichill Mon 13-Jun-11 21:33:57

look up constructive dismissal and think long and hard if you feel you have a case. sounds like you may if after 7 years you feel like you are being pushed out your job.

FabbyChic Mon 13-Jun-11 21:34:44

How long was you off for?

Did they give you specific notice that your hours were to be reduced on your return?

How many employees are there in the company?

They may not have acted within the specific remits.

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 21:35:03

Thanks everyone, and Bibbit-you have helped me put it into perspective. Why do I even care? I'm gonna try not to let it bother me anymore.I'm gonna put all my energies into making my new career....and pray for that Uni place :D

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 21:39:46

Fabbychic I had 39 weeks off. I have had no paperwork since my return, none of the managers have really spoken to me since I went back to work and that was nearly 2 months ago.There are over 100 employees in the company.
I have not said anything about my job to the main managers as i dont know if they are within their rights or not.

bubblecoral Mon 13-Jun-11 21:41:36

They have to give you back your original hours if you want them.

Was it your choice to reduce your hours?

What sort of things are they saying about you? Is it personal or are they pissed off with you for a reason?

I agree that teling them you were intending to leave in a year was probably not a good move, although I understand that you had good reasons for telling them. However you can't expect them to treat you as a member of a commited team if they know full well that you would rather be in another career.

flowersinherhair Mon 13-Jun-11 21:54:46

Its personal stuff...saying I'm getting above myself, rang my deputy at home to tell her I was a liar-I was told I could borrow a member of staff for the department then said I was making the whole thing up. Nothing said directly to me though just other people.
I can expect them to treat me with respect though? I have had enough of the whole thing now tbh, reading it back I realise how petty it all sounds, it just seems to feel 100x worse at the time though. Hope I make sense! xx

tigandtiglet Mon 13-Jun-11 22:01:20

If you had 6 months off, you are entitled to your old job back. Haver more than that and you are entitled to your old job back UNLESS the company can show it's not reasonably practicable to do so.

How was your return handled? Why are you now on 16 hours? Have you had any paperwork? New contact issued?

If no, then potentially they have discriminated against you and fundamentally breached your contract of employment which entitles you to resign and claim unfair dismissal (based on being constructively dismissed) and discrimination on grounds of exercising your right to maternity leave.

You should seek advice before doing anything and do it soon because otherwise you are accepting the breach and damaging any claim.

microserf Mon 13-Jun-11 22:05:49

OP, why are your hours reduced? it is very important if it was your decision or theirs. Is there anything in writing?

If you are tempted to claim constructive dismissal, please see a solicitor first. To save your time and money, please write down all the relevant facts in as best order as you can. Start keeping a diary now of conversations - who with, what they said, dates, meetings you weren't invited too, etc. Try to fill it out as out backwards as you can be certain of remembering.

I am afraid it sounds like they are trying the cheap option which is "be unpleasant so she'll quit".

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