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Being made redundant whilst on maternity leave

(24 Posts)
raspberryjamcreamtea Fri 07-Jan-11 20:59:00

Really need some advice - is this unfair dismissal?

Am due back at work in five weeks after a year's maternity leave but am being made redundant. I work in the construction industry so there have been various rounds of redundancies since 2008.I have been with the company for four years.

In summary:
- I am the only person now being made redundant.
- There are other people with the same job title as me but they are not being considered for redundancy at all.
- They have said their decision is based on a review of my skills and competences but despite being asked they have not said where my skills are lacking. However every performance review I have ever had whilst with the company has been glowing.
- They have said that I have not been able to maintain client relationships whilst I have been on maternity leave whilst others with the same job title have.
- I am better qualified than others with the same job title although slightly less experienced but get paid less.

I would be very grateful for any help. Thanks in advance.

TwoWeeSausages Sat 08-Jan-11 00:14:22

Are you a member of a union? If you are, my advice would be to contact them asap.

Also the ACAS website might give you some answers

raspberryjamcreamtea Sat 08-Jan-11 07:51:18

I'm not in a union. I do belong to a professional body but I don't think they offer employment advice apart from having published a few employment guides (which I'm guessing my office haven't read...)

Have looked at ACAS and CAB websites but there's nothing very conclusive - think I might need a solicitor.

JeezyPeeps Sat 08-Jan-11 09:12:55

If yopur workplace recognises a union, join it now. There is really tight legislation re redundancy in pregnancy, and they would be best placed to help. Cab is another good option initially.

Lougle Sat 08-Jan-11 09:48:57

This is direct discrimination. You are being made redundant because you went on Mat leave. You need to raise a grievance straight away. CAB and or find a solicitor who offers the free 0.5 hour cnsultation.

littlemiss72 Sat 08-Jan-11 10:03:50

As I understand it you have more rights than most during a redundancy period whilst on maternity leave. All too often companies assume you will not ague the toss!

Selecting you for redundancy on the grounds of performance despite your glowing past reviews is certainly worth looking into. They would have to show clear evidence of you under-performing, this would have to be on record which from what you say I doubt they have.

Of course you have not been able to maintain client relationships whilst on maternity leave! That's complete discrimination and I would urge you to get free advice from an employment law specialist as soon as possible and only respond to the company in writing once you have been properly advised.

I wish you all the best, do come back and let us know how you get on. x

raspberryjamcreamtea Sat 08-Jan-11 12:02:32

Thanks everybody for the advice, I've been getting very stressed about it all. Will keep you posted...

PuppyMonkey Sat 08-Jan-11 12:11:57

Loads of advice on direct.gov.uk. This is sex discrimination and they can't do it really. I'm on iPhone so can't work out how to do links, but there's a big section on it. Eg your company has to offer you an alternative job If one available. Do look it up!!!

Electricstarfish Wed 12-Jan-11 21:48:26

How stressful for you. If there are others doing your same (or similar) job and this is a genuine redundancy (which is v clearly defined in law and relates to the post and not the person doing it) they should be pooling those who do the same job for fair selection, carrying out a proper consultation process with them all and not singling you out. It would be direct discrimination to select you because you are on maternity leave. I would get some legal advice sharpish - sometimes a strongly worded letter from a solicitor can work wonders. You can ring ACAS for advice too. Best wishes.

Suzihaha Fri 14-Jan-11 23:03:24

As far as I know, a job is made redundant, not a person.

And a woman on maternity leave/pregnant has to be prioritised over others if there is a suitable job in the firm she can do.

Therefore, definitely get a lawyer.

greentea72 Mon 17-Jan-11 22:15:55

See if you have access to a free legal helpline through your professional body or house insurance. Also check your companies redundancy policy, have they followed procedures layed out in this. Agree with ElectricStarfish comments .Make sure you have records of everything - letters emails, reviews etc. If you don't have these you can request from your company under freedom of information act ( this includes your personnel file).

Good luck - they sound reall yout of order.

gingercat12 Mon 17-Jan-11 22:25:00

There are a lot of redundancies in our workplace, but when more than one person do the same job, they all have to re-apply for their jobs. No one was made redundant without having the chance to defend their records.

greentea72 Wed 19-Jan-11 20:15:21

hows it going rasberry?

katiepotatie Wed 19-Jan-11 20:30:26

There were redundancies at my work while I was on Mat leave. All staff in my team where included in the consultation period, although I was called in and told because of my rights while on mat leave there would be a job for me at the end of my leave...meaning they couldn't make me redundant.
Definitely speak to CAB or a employment solicitor ASAP

Good Luck

raspberryjamcreamtea Wed 19-Jan-11 20:39:31

Thanks for all the advice - I have got a solicitor on the case...

Have written to work to appeal their decision and have got appeal meeting next week. Solicitor says I have a very good case on two counts - 1: because they haven't consulted with me about why I've been chosen and 2:because the only reason they have given me is sex discrimination / maternity related. So it all hangs on appeal meeting really, whether they have now realised that they've got themselves in a bit of a mess and use the appeal meeting to retrospectively say why it has to be me that gets made redundant, or whether they are so genuinely clueless that they dig themselves further into a hole. Solicitor has given me some good questions to ask though and I am gearing up to fight my corner.

The more I think about it though the more angry I am that they think they could get away with treating me like this.

So have to get though appeal meeting before deciding next course of action.

abcmum Sat 22-Jan-11 13:55:10

If you need any more help - give me a shout -won my own case for SD and unfair dismissal under very similar circumstances in 2008 - I can email you my tribunal decision, and other case notes if it will help you. Good luck x

jacobsyummymummy Sat 29-Jan-11 14:52:48

Very good case Id say... there is a statutory procedure, and you need to check if they followed their own internal policy and procedures too, but they DO need to consult with you in advance as you are not in a unique post and it does require a selection process. They can't use this meeting to back-track. If you are still unhappy with the outcome you can claim an unfair dismissal case an ET1 (employment Tribunal). You need to do it within 3 months of dismissal.

Same happened to me, and I didn't do anything about it because I didn;t have the strength... and now I am a HR manager, and wish I had done something!!

Good luck, let us know how it goes....

raspberryjamcreamtea Tue 01-Feb-11 15:40:32

ABCmum thanks for your post - just wondering how it has affected your career going forward? I know these things are meant to be confidential but it is quite a small world and I'm worried that if I go through with it I'll never get another job ever again.

Honestly struggling to decide what to do. I know the company are struggling and I feel bad about adding to their burden by taking it further but at the same time I'm really annoyed that they think I'll just roll over and take this (and they have said they want me to come back when things pick up hmm)and at the end of the day I don't have a job any more.

Would be very interested to see your case notes abcmum if you don't mind? raspberryjamcreamtea @ hotmail .co.uk. Thanks in advance.

TheSecondComing Tue 01-Feb-11 15:47:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpledreams Tue 01-Feb-11 20:54:26

I got made redundant in a small industry took action got payout and got another job after taking a break. Personal references were a bit tricky I had to rely on a previous employer, however note that many companies won't offer a personal reference in cases of redundancy anyway for fear of reprisal.. Don't believe the old "we will take you back when things pick up" ruse. and just because thing are tough for them there is no need for them to flout employment law - besides they may be insured against employment disputes.

katesmummy Fri 04-Feb-11 12:31:18

this is blatant discrimination and as others have said the corporation expect you to bow to it, dont let them get their way. Most employers will shy away from a tribunal case so any action you take is likely to be settled outside of the court room. I have won an unfair dismissal case and with a good solicitor its not as daunting as you might think. Good luck!

abcmum Mon 14-Feb-11 20:55:40

Hi,

Have mailed you my Judgement - sorry for delay - not been on for a while. YOur solicitor is correct - a very good case, I would say. The crux for proving Sex Discrimination is "but for Maternity you would not have been made redundant" which from the face of it with regards this comment - "They have said that I have not been able to maintain client relationships whilst I have been on maternity leave whilst others with the same job title have"

They have made a serious error.

I will also mail you my SD74 if that helps you.

abcmum Mon 14-Feb-11 20:57:28

Ignore that - it's not you I mailed - wires crossed - but I can mail you it if you like

suzymiller Thu 01-Sep-11 19:12:08

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

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