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To be annoyed my maternity cover has been promoted to be my boss?!

(38 Posts)
maybunny Tue 27-Sep-11 21:12:39

Whilst on maternity leave my boss moved departments (he is the owners son). I have been at the company for 13 years and they are paying for me to become a qualified accountant. My boss has always said he is training me up for his job.
Whilst on maternity leave I get an email saying they are creating a new position to replace him and I am invited to apply. When i said I was interested he acted very surprised and tried to put me off saying how much more responsibility it would be. He did meet me for lunch with his dad (the owner of the business) where they got drunk, asked me what my husband did for a living, whether I had a mortgage and if I was planning on having any more children. They also told me at this 'interview' what the job entailed, but were very vague and just kept saying 'I can't really explain it very well'.
I got a call a few weeks later to say I didn't get the job as they didn't think I was ready for it yet.
A couple of days later a colleague (one of my staff that manage) tells me via Facebook that my maternity cover got the promotion - She had not been in contact with me before so I got the feeling the other people who report to me had been talking and thought someone should tell me!
I now have to go back and report to my maternity cover as my boss and feel humiliated and disappointed about this. I feel discriminated against as I suspect they offered her the job a lot earlier than I think as they got cover for her within a week, and when I met with her regarding my return to work she hinted that she had been doing the job since march!

RedHelenB Tue 27-Sep-11 21:33:21

Yes you are being unreasonable/ How do you know your maternity cover wasn't better suited or qualified than you?

troisgarcons Tue 27-Sep-11 21:35:25

Welcome to my world - my maternity cover was my bosses GF .... need we say more.

NoNoNoMYDoIt Tue 27-Sep-11 21:35:28

yanbu to be annoyed. however, i suspect there is jack shit you can do about it...

troisgarcons Tue 27-Sep-11 21:37:32

He did meet me for lunch with his dad (the owner of the business) where they got drunk, asked me what my husband did for a living, whether I had a mortgage and if I was planning on having any more children

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear - You would think interviewers would now be a little more clued up.... I never say sue - but I do say 'contact your union'.

foreverondiet Tue 27-Sep-11 21:38:36

Maybe the maternity cover is more qualified and better suited. YANBU to be annoyed but not much you can do about it and thats one of the hazards of taking maternity leave.

MrsMoosickle Tue 27-Sep-11 21:39:06

May be something you can do about it, if you feel up to challenging the recruitment process. if it feels like a done deal and you feel the process was a sham....for example.

Depends how much you want to shake that particular tree though.

Lougle Tue 27-Sep-11 21:39:49

I think I would be raising a grievance about the way it was conducted, and be asking on what criteria they decided the promotion.

BluddyMoFo Tue 27-Sep-11 21:41:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maisiethemorningsidecat Tue 27-Sep-11 21:42:08

Are you in a union? If so, and if you want to take it further, then I'd suggest contacting them for advice re the 'recruitment' (I use the word loosely) process.

FlyingPirates Tue 27-Sep-11 21:42:54

That would grate for sure. Perhaps have a chat to your union rep as other posters have suggested.

Iggly Tue 27-Sep-11 21:43:46


Can you move jobs?

Tewkespeggy Tue 27-Sep-11 21:45:11

i would call ACAS and explain your situation. If you do have a case they will help you mediate with your bosses to get a resolution. if you dont have a case they will help you understand why not.

they are entirley independant and will help you 08457 47 47 47

maybunny Tue 27-Sep-11 22:08:23

Thank you everyone

LifeHope11 Tue 27-Sep-11 22:25:01

Without knowing all the circumstances, ie the basis on which they selected your maternity cover, there is a possibility that you have been discriminated against. This may apply even though the person selected for the job was also a woman. The questions asked you at the 'interview' were definitely inappropriate. It is of course possible that the other candidate was better qualified/more experienced...but if as you say they were vague about the job and what it entailed, how would you be able to sell yourself adequately and convince them you were right for it? You should not be losing out on benefits such as promotions which would otherwise be your due, on the grounds of taking maternity leave....that is what sex discrimination legislation is supposed to protect you from.

I suggest that you ask them to explain why the other person was selected, the selection criteria used etc. If you are not satisfied than you can raise a grievance. As other peters have suggested, you can contact your union(if a member) or ACAS for advice.

meravigliosa Tue 27-Sep-11 22:43:03

To treat a woman unfavourably during her pregnancy or maternity leave constitutes discrimination if the unfavourable treatment is because of her pregnancy or maternity leave. The fact that another woman got the job does not preclude unlawful discrimination. The questions asked at the lunch/interview are out of order and raise at the very least the possibility that you were discriminated against because you were on maternity leave.

As LifeHope says you can ask for information as to the selection criteria used. If you wish to challenge this I suggest you seek legal advice either through your union or privately. If your employer cannot demonstrate that a fair selection process was used in relation to scoring you and any other applicants against the job criteria, they may have difficulty in demonstrating that they did not discriminate against you. In discrimination cases if the claimant can show that on the face of things there has been discrimination (eg by evidence about an inappropriate interview) the burden of proof shifts to the employer to show that there has not been discrimination.

eurochick Tue 27-Sep-11 22:55:48

From the questions asked at the lunch it sounds like you could have been discriminated against. It is a huge "no no" to ask a woman about her future family plans in an interview. Another woman getting the job would not mean that there was no discrimination. Perhaps she was asked the same (bad) question and said that she had finished her family and you said you had not.

The difficult question is what you do about it. The current employment market is tough and if you put in a grievance things might become untenable so you feel you have no option but to leave. If you are part way through your qualification and they are paying for it that is even more difficult. From the limited information posted here, in your shoes I would be inclined to let them know that their card is marked - i.e. that it was inappropriate to ask you about your family plans, etc. at the "interview" and not to give you proper details about the job and that you are unhappy about it. But that is just me. It is a tricky situation.

LifeHope11 Tue 27-Sep-11 23:52:01

eurochick: fair point. I can understand that OP might be apprehensive about raising an official grievance about her treatment and what the consequences may be to her. I would point out that the grievance procedure is not meant to be about the employee 'being difficult' but is supposed to supply a framework to examine an issue that the employee is unhappy about, evaluate all the circumstances and reach a conclusion acceptable to everyone. It should not entail 'burning bridges' with the employer. Frankly I think that any employer with an ounce of sense will avoid any potential situation where they could be accused of discrimination against the employee. However I appreciate that such things do unfortunately happen.

I must say though that there is no need for her to feel that she should put up with poor treatment just because her employers rare paying for her qualification. Companies never pay for employee training out of the kindness of their hearts, there is always a purpose - to have a trained and motivated workforce - to gain a reputation as a quality employer - so there is no need for any employee to feel pathetically grateful for receiving training (I am talking in general terms here not specifically about OP - just that no employee should feel she has to tolerate otherwise poor treatment just because s/he is being sponsored for training).

Ultimately knowledge is power, and if OP establishes that she was probably discriminated against, it is up to her what she does with that knowledge. She may speak to her employer and say that she was unhappy with the way recruitment process was handled & why, and ask them what they can say/do to reassure her of their commitment to her career. Grievance, tribunal processes etc are there if she wants to take that road but it may not be in her interest -there may be no need - to get adversarial.

WilsonFrickett Wed 28-Sep-11 00:00:31

I planned to say YANBU to feel bad about this but maybe the other candidate was better than you. On reading your post though it sounds like the recruitment process has been a total joke. So no, YANBU and I think you would have grounds to challenge it. However, that can be a total PITA in family owned companies. do you have an HR dept?

maybunny Wed 28-Sep-11 08:19:08

Thank you everyone - no we don't have an hr dept or union, it's a very small family company. I don't really want to rock the boat by complaining, so will just have to swallow my pride when I go back. I just feel that after all the years I have worked there, and the previous verbal acknowledgement I was being trained for this job, very annoyed that a temp comes in and gets promoted! My old boss has issues delegating and letting go of control, so my new boss has done really well to secure this promotion. I also feel insecure for my own prospects as they might not feel they need 2 qualified accountants and find ways to push me out, as it is such a small company.
I would like to have another baby in the future, but they don't even pay maternity pay!

NinkyNonker Wed 28-Sep-11 08:25:11

You're not getting much sympathy here, shame on you for taking maternity leave. They handled this very poorly.

MollyTheMole Wed 28-Sep-11 08:27:41


My fecking maternity cover has been given my job permanently so if when I go back who knows what I'll be doing.

Cant say anything though as will get badged a trouble maker and cards well and truly marked.


bochead Wed 28-Sep-11 08:29:48

Go back, bite your tongue and do your best to readjust to working life (the first month or so back after a long break is hard).

Smile sweetly continue your studies.

Loyalty - you owe them none.
It's easier to get a job from a job in a tough market.
(tell any recruitment agents they can only apply for references at the offer stage - they will understand your position as it's a common one).

Start looking for an alternative role elsewhere - as soon as summat suitable comes up. JUMP SHIP!

Feel no guilt whatsoever for taking this somewhat sneaky approach - don't tell them you are looking

coccyx Wed 28-Sep-11 08:34:06

maybe better person got the job. YABU

Grumpla Wed 28-Sep-11 08:37:32

Yes, you HAVE been discriminated against from the sound of things so YANBU to be extremely fucked off. It's EXTREMELY unprofessional to ask you about your financial circs or family plans. You weren't properly interviewed. Was the post even advertised?!?

I think the advice to clarify your position and then make a decision is a good one.

Whatever you decide to do (challenge them / bide your time until qualified and look for another job in the meantime) you're then coming from a much stronger position.

Your union, ACAS or CAB should be your first port of call.

My own experience is that once employers have treated you shittily once, they carry on treating you shittily sad

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