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to think about bringing a claim for unfair dismissal?

(43 Posts)
mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 19:36:55

Right ... I'm a solicitor, when I was pregnant my employers worked me like you wouldn't believe (including one episode of working from 7am til 5am) and also made loads of sexist comments like "but you won't come back to work cos mums need to stay at home with their babies", "bloody hell you've got fat", "big tits" etc .. then didn't pay me a bonus. I brought a grievance while on mat leave which they replied to and tbh I just left as wanted a job to come back to.

Came back at beginning of May (3 days / wk)and have now been told am being made redundant (along with a girl who's pregnant). They've also taken over another firm this week with (non-pregnant, non-mothers) who do the same job as me.

I've told them I'm going to claim and offered a settlement and have just received a letter saying they're not offering anything. Statutory redundancy pay only. I think this after my 10 months on statutory mat pay is going to bankrupt us!

I do think though am I being unreasonable and should I just leave it, and move on? I don't know if I've got a fight in me at the moment!

prettyfly1 Tue 28-Jul-09 19:44:11

bloody right you should fight it. disgraceful behaviour. Start with ACAS.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 19:47:17

I just feel very worried that I won't get another job and they will walk all over me!! x

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jul-09 19:48:48

of course you should do something - put this on employment issues and get some great advice from the people on here

good luck smile

naturalblonde Tue 28-Jul-09 19:48:53

No, completely out of order. I very rarely agree with industrial action but in your case it sounds justified.

squilly Tue 28-Jul-09 20:01:14

I went for unfair dismissal after I got made redundant in the middle of a grievance against my then boss. I settled out of court for lots more than I would have got in redundancy (only a few grand, but I would have gotten nothing with redundancy).

Your claim should be quite strong. You've got the Equal Ops on your side. I was just fighting unfair dismissal through bullying (very hard to prove and I had to do it all myself through the Industrial Tribunal rules).

I hope you manage to sort this. It sounds like they're being shites and they deserve to be taken to task for this.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:04:23

Thanks everyone.

I think they think "oh well she's had a baby and wants to spend time at home with her, and her husband has a good job". But I think, I spent 6 years getting myself into terrible debt then 5 years (almost) working for you and this is the way you treat me...

I was just so peed off to get a letter saying "no we're not going to offer you anything".

I am sooooo not looking forward to going into the office tomorrow. sad

squilly Tue 28-Jul-09 20:08:02

I hated going through the Tribunal thing. It came at the same time as my treatment for recurrent miscarriage and that's part of the reason why I settled out of court...they caught me as I was suffering particularly bad sickness during early pregnancy and made me an offer I couldn't be bothered to hold out on.

I look back at it now, 8 years later, and I'm SOOOoooo glad I did it. It didn't achieve much. The bitch boss I worked for stayed for ages afterwards and eventually had a nervous breakdown and left. She got rid of loads of staff in her time in the team and eventually that arm of hte business was closed down.

If I hadn't fought, I wouldn't have gotten anything and hte ocmpany would have got away with abusing me. I'm proud to have followed it through and I'm sure you'll feel the same when you get to the other end.

I got a great job after I left too. So no harm in the end. Good luck with it.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:10:18

Thanks squilly.

squilly Tue 28-Jul-09 20:12:57

Check out help boards on discrimination at work. I got a lot of help from adult bullying sites. I think speaking to people who've been through the same thing is really, really helpful.

Good luck for tomorrow.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Tue 28-Jul-09 20:15:42

yanbu. fight. not enough people do and it is why employers such as this can get away with this type of behaviour. It will be hard and stressful, but you will win. And you will be able to feel proud, your family will be proud of you fighting for your rights.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jul-09 20:16:27

The only regret I have in my life is not doing anything about the sexual harassment I suffered at work. It set into motion a whole chain of events that have ended with me being very happy but I suffered an enormous amount of loss along the way.

Briefly - I was harassed seriously, I cried, I whinged, I got depressed. I handed in my notice - my dh said no problem find another job - the next week he left me (and I couldn't retract my notice). I lost my house, my car and it left me with masses of debts.

squilly Tue 28-Jul-09 20:20:33

OMG Laurie! I think we always regret the things we don't do. The things we do, even if they suck, we justify them or find a way of making the fact that we did them right. The things we don't do are so rich with possibility, so ripe with the 'what if' outcomes, they can drive you insane.

I'm glad things have ended up o.k. for you in the end Laurie, but it sounds like you had a tough old road to follow before you got where you are now.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:21:00

thanks everyone smile

I just feel scared about facing everyone and then scared that they're going to put across that I'm a silly little girl who can't get by in the corporate world and then I kind of feel tempted to just walk away.

But I guess that'd be letting them walk all over me.

One of the worst things is that there are no jobs available to apply for in my field so I need to now give everything some long hard thought. I can't be SAHM due to financial reasons (plus I'd go a bit mad) and had just got used to working a 3 day week and everything working out ok ... sigh...

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:22:38

Laurie - that sucks. Big-style. Dh sounds like a b**tard. I guess at least you got there in the end smile

Slambang Tue 28-Jul-09 20:31:28


Am I right in guessing that as a lawyer you will have collected a fairly sound file full of evidence to back you up. Do you have proof of the sexist comments etc? Did you make any complaints at the time or is it going to be your word against theirs?

Although I would like to say fight it for the rest of us sisters I think you need to be fairly selfish and make your decision based on what good it will do in the long run to yourself and your family.

If it's going to be a stressful and upsetting nightmare and you have a weak case then why go through it?

If it's going to be financially and emotionally beneficial and a great boost to your self esteem then why not?

(but my selfish gut-feeling says sue the ba&~*rds for every last penny they've got wink)

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jul-09 20:31:49

Thank-you both smile

Don't let them walk all over you - you can do it.

If there are no solicitor jobs consider a change or a sideways step? Back then I was harassed in IT, now after 6 years I'm a psychotherapist. Ex-husband now lives in a million pound house and I er......have an allotment and no money grin but am blissfully happy with new dh/new job/new family.

FattipuffsandThinnifers Tue 28-Jul-09 20:32:10

On what grounds are they making you redundant?

If they have no legitimate grounds you can claim for unfair dismissal. And chuck in sexual discrimination too - that'll definitely get them worried and they'll almost certainly offer you more money to settle.

Make notes now of all the comments etc you have had to date, and everything that happens from now on.

Good luck.

ABetaDad Tue 28-Jul-09 20:34:08

mummy2isla - they have come back hard.

They will offer something on the steps of the court. Usually an amount equal to the cost of their legal fees.

Many firms have an insurance contract to cover legal costs of cases like this and are not allowed to accept or make offers without the insurer agreeing.

TigerDrivesAgain Tue 28-Jul-09 20:36:33

You need to get some specialist advice on your position. Have you any mates from law school who are now employment lawyers who'd talk it through with you?

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:37:13

Have been making notes of every meeting etc. Don't have contemporaneous notes of the comments but do have my grievance (although I understand I can't raise it as was over 3 months ago - but can ask tribunal to raise it).

They have made both me and another girl, who are both senior solicitors, redundant, on the grounds that the associates (a level up) can do our work as well. When I asked why it's a good idea in a credit crunch to get associates charging £200 / hr to do basic stuff I was told that the associates' charge-out rates will be altered.

They also said that there's 1 job available in another dept. When walked out of meeting the other girl told me she'd been offered that job 2 weeks ago (then told them she was preg, then suddenly she's redundant too and having to apply for that job).

Ladies I am so angry about all of this I guess I'm just wondering if IABU because i've got myself so very wound up about it all.

dh is away and I am sitting drinking a glass (2nd about to come up) of red wine and stewing!!

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:39:05

ABetaDad good point I didn't think of that.

TigerDrivesAgain I have a mate who is, have arranged to meet her tomorrow, work has asked me to have my final consultation meeting at 10am so have just e-mailed to say it needs to be after have had some advice.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jul-09 20:41:17

stew away - hopefully it will get you properly angry for the fight grin

According to the employment issues thread your pregnant colleague should be offered (and not forced to compete for) any suitable job. If they make you redundant they should have to go through a proper process -which I don't know anything about. So have a post going on employment too, there's some right brainy folks over there.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:43:51

Ummmm where's the employment thread??

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:44:50

Found it - was just looking at popular threads!blush

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