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Does this qualify as discrimination?

(10 Posts)
tostaky Thu 08-Sep-11 10:55:33

Trying to make it short (i work in consultancy, project for clients)
one manager told me clearly that if i wanted the job back after mat leave it would have to be 5 days not 4. I nodded and then went on mat leave for a year.
Got back to work 5 months ago on 4 days a week. One my first day i sent an email to that manager saying hello im back, do you have any work for me? she said hello, how many days do you work? me: 4 then she went silent.
so talking to big boss (my and her manager) i said to him that story and he went, talked to her and i got the job "for 3 months and probably longer".
One month in she says i havent got the skills so it is going to be 3 months only. (not true i argued, i have the skills, so she changed her story to "it has always been only for 3 months).
I didnt complain to big boss at that point but i should have. Though i made it clear to her i disagreed with her.
The end of my 3 months was last week and, yesterday i was in a team meeting at the home office and someone mentions that she is now looking for someone from our team to join her team at the client office.

why she did not keep me, if she is now looking for someone? i cannot help but think it is because i work 4 days and only 9-5.30 (no extra hours as i used to do before children).

Is this discrimination? and should i talk to a lawyer?

figgygal Thu 08-Sep-11 12:59:13

The company should bring her to task if she doesnt have a good reason for not allowing you to work on the project but unless you have suffered a detriment or your job is at risk because of the compay's action or lack of action i dont think a solicitor will be much help to you.

I would complain in writing to your manager stating all you have above and ask them to investigate the reasons for your removal from the project. Is she looking for someone to join the team doing the same work, requiring the same skills etc ? It could simply be a communication issue but you would need to raise it internally first in my view.

tostaky Thu 08-Sep-11 13:10:38

thanks for this.
What do you mean by "suffered a detriment"?

The fact that I have been side-lined from a project is not considered as detrimental to my career and self-esteem?

StillSquiffy Thu 08-Sep-11 17:39:36

Yes, you need to take this further, but you will go about it the wrong way if you get emotional about it - your last post makes it look as if it becoming too personal, and you need to be very very impersonal in how you deal with it. It isn't about you and it isn't about her - it is simply a professional problem that the manager needs to deal with in a professional manner.

The best approach would be to drop an email to your/her mgr, expressing concern that you have been taken off project X without receiving adequate feedback as to the reasoning behind this, and that - given the project leader has previously expressly told you that she will not give you work because you are working a 4 day week - you are concerned to ensure that the project leader has business reasons for her decision, which you would like to receive in writing. You should explain that without adequate explanation as to why you have been sidelined with regard to client work, you may feel it necessary to raise a formal grievance, given that you are keen to continue working on the project, have received good feedback to date, and have clearly demonstrated your capability in the role.

Try to keep your email as brief as that, and then sit back and wait, as this puts it firmly into their court. Whatever you do, don't mention how you feel, that it damages your chances of getting more work, or whatever. The consequences can be discussed later, depending on how they respond.

Does it qualify as discrimination? Only if you can evidentially prove that she is discriminating against you and that it is solely because you work part time. Far better to resolve it than look for angles to hit them with on a legal basis. She definitely should continue to keep you on the project and it stinks that she isn't but tread lightly here. It will get complicated if she turns round and says that the client wants all the staff there on a FT basis, by the way (I've seen that happen), because you then have a 3-way complication whereby the 'guilty' party is (a) not directly in the employee/employer relationship and (b) holds all the cash cards

hairylights Thu 08-Sep-11 17:43:35

Confusing. You don't "get your job back" after maternity leave, you return to your job.

Are they now making you redundant?

Was your job time limited before maternity leave or was it a permanent job?

When you went back you had the same rights as before you left and continuity of service. They can't just get rid of you.

hairylights Thu 08-Sep-11 17:44:25

A of this is assuming you are employed, not a self- employed
Consultant.

meditrina Thu 08-Sep-11 17:50:48

Has she made a case as to why it is a FT role?

You have the right to request PT on return, but it does not have to be granted if there is a business reason why not. She stated before your departure that a FT return was unproblematic, so thus far there is no discrimination.

What will be important here are the reasons why this cannot be a FT role. If these are genuine business reasons (especially if they can be demonstrated after an actual 3month trial) then she is not obliged to take PT instead and your choice will be to return to FT hours, or find a different PT role.

In your shoes, I'd opt for the latter. Or are there really no other options?

hairylights Thu 08-Sep-11 22:02:55

Not if she left on part time hours though? She had a year maternity leave so has the right to a similar job and she could argue that should include the same hours as she left on?

meditrina Thu 08-Sep-11 22:24:46

OP: which was it? I thought you meant you had been FT, and were changing to 4 days and my apologies if I misunderstood.

If you were working 4 days before, then of course that it what you have the right to return to. If the project based nature of the work means that the PT role with that manager has genuinely disappeared, then the senior management should find you a 4 days role elsewhere of the same pay and seniority.

figgygal Thu 08-Sep-11 22:32:59

Isn't the issue that the colleague seems to want/need a particular project to have a FT resource? I read it that OP is employed part time this isn't under threat but its her involvement in a particular project.

A detriment would be considered to be if you have suffered financially, you have had reduced opportunity for career progression, your job is at risk because of your not being involved in the project, has your role/position been undermined by her actions etc. As someone said above pursue internal processes with management before you think about anything else.

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