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Pregnant and on probation period - is my job still protected by law?

(6 Posts)
summerinthesun Sat 29-Sep-12 03:25:13

Hi there,

I posted this in the legal section too, but I think it is more relevant here.

I would appreciate if someone could advise me how safe I am in my role at work.

I took on the job when I was 4 months pregnant, and I was put on a 6 month probation period (before they knew I was pregnant). I had a meeting with my boss today who said they will confirm before I go off on maternity leave whether I've passed my probation or not, and whether they'll continue with my employment.

The thing is I go off on maternity leave 9 days before the baby is due. So if they tell me then that I haven't passed my probation it doesn't leave me much time to plan.

I am a single mum of one already, and I move next month into a small flat near work. If I haven't passed my probation I won't be able to afford the flat, and I'll basically be homeless.

I'm wondering if I'm protected by the law because I'm pregnant, or if the fact I'm on my probation period means they can easily let me go.

I had my first review with my boss today and she said my performance so far was bad, and I had one month to improve till she reviews it again.

So I feel I need to find out now how safe I am in the eyes of the law with my job.

summerinthesun Sat 29-Sep-12 03:29:25

Also I disagree with what she said in the review. Basically they were annoyed when they found out I was pregnant, and I feel they are picking on my performance unnecessarily.

She gave two main examples of what I had done wrong which I totally disagree with. I have saved on a word doc on my home computer how I want to respond to what she said. But I didn't challenge her when she said them today as I was taken by surprise. I'm thinking I should probably challenge her now in writng, so they can't easily build up a case to let me go.

Do you agree? And should I just email her my response?

prh47bridge Sat 29-Sep-12 06:21:49

To add to what I've put in legal...

If you can show they are picking on your performance because you are pregnant you would have a case for sex discrimination if they dismiss you, but that is difficult to prove.

Showing that you disagree with their assessment does not stop them building up a case to let you go. You would have to show that their assessment is unreasonable.

Grumpla Sat 29-Sep-12 06:25:23

Sounds like they are planning to get rid sad

Can you get to a CAB? Or see if a local solicitor will do an initial consult for free? Demonstrating (as opposed to just thinking / saying!) that their assessment has been unfair will be pretty tough. Is there anyone else also on probation who you could discreetly pump for info?

If you are a union member give them a call ASAP.

I'd hope for the best but plan for the worst if I were you.

shushpenfold Sat 29-Sep-12 06:54:19

I'm no expert but as far as I am aware, the probation period is just that and they don't have to have any vastly concrete reasons for not making you permanent...pregnant or not. INvestigate a bit further though.

flowery Sat 29-Sep-12 09:36:54

Probationary periods are pretty meaningless really. You can be dismissed easily during the first year of employment if you started before April, or the first two years if you started later.

Unless the reason for dismissal is wholly or partly your pregnancy, in which case it's automatic unfair dismissal. Employers are usually scared of discrimination claims so even if you can't prove your pregnancy was all or part of the reason, if they dismiss you it might be worth appealing it on that basis anyway

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