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Is this discrimination?

(10 Posts)
furryleopard Tue 04-Aug-15 21:02:28

I've returned to work today after my maternity leave. I was chatting with a colleague who told me her temporary post at the grade higher than us (we are in public sector) has been made permanent a few days ago. I said I was pleased for her and the conversation moved on.

I'm so disappointed about her getting this job as prior to my maternity leave I'd been working really hard in preparation to apply for it myself. My manager said in passing to me that if I wasn't going on maternity they would act me up to this role.

They advertised the role when I'd just gone off and I'm 97% certain noone told me about it apart from my best friend who also works in our team. I wouldn't have gone for it anyway as it was advertised as 6 months temporary to back fill a post and I was expecting to be off for 11 months more at this point. But if they'd have said it was permanent I'd have gone for it!

I've come back and it's all done and dusted she's in post. I went for the same post but in a different location when 34 weeks pregnant but didn't get it but neither did she. There was a another same job advertised elsewhere while I was off but I didn't go for it as I didn't want to travel that far.

Am I right to be a bit gutted about this? I mentioned it in passing to my boss who said 'we'll she'd applied through a competitive recruitment' and ' that's the way xx (our manager) has done it'. But I maintain I didn't have the chance to apply and was deliberately put off applying by it being temporary.

If I am right to be a bit put out by this- what do I do?

PeterParkerSays Tue 04-Aug-15 21:15:04

I can see where you're coming from, but if this post was recruited to as temporary 11 months ago, and she's worked 11 months believing it to be temporary, it's not discrimination as the temporary nature of the post would have put off anyone who wanted to go for it, who didn't want to risk going for a temorary post, not just you / someone on maternity leave. In a similar vein, would you say a ost was discriminating against you if it was advertised as FT and you only wanted a PT post?

Unless you have suspicions that they advertised it to put you off, and the successful candidate knew from the get-go that it was going to be permanent, which doesn't seem to be the case from your OP, it's not discrimination. It sounds like she made a good go of the post and some money has been found to make it permanent rather than it ending when originally thought.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 04-Aug-15 21:19:25

A very similar thing happened to me. Yes, it's discrimination. It is unfair what they have done to be honest. You can either leave it or bring it to the attention of the union (if you are in one).
I didn't do anything with my discrimination but I ended up leaving (after many happy years there) as the 'feeling' never went away. I did mention it to a senior union rep years later who said I could have taken them to the cleaners.

CountryLovingGirl Tue 04-Aug-15 21:22:18

How can they make it permanent without competitive interviews?

furryleopard Tue 04-Aug-15 21:34:28

I would have gone for it if I was at work though, I was never told officially about it (presumably because it was temporary) and I don't think I was given a fair chance at a role I've been working very hard to get purely because I was on maternity.

Because it was advertised as a temporary post I'm assuming that's why they can confirm her in post - if she'd have been acted up they wouldn't have been able to.

It doesn't help that I've not got my same area back, instead being dumped with the worst area that I worked on 3 years ago and managed to work my way away from.

I just feel absolutely gutted about the whole thing.

Noeuf Tue 04-Aug-15 21:46:56

I'm a bit confused because you say you wouldn't have gone for it as it was temporary?

furryleopard Tue 04-Aug-15 22:01:51

Sorry- I didn't go for it because I was on maternity leave. If I'd have been at work I would have applied as I'd not be bothered by it being temporary. The only reason I didn't go for it was that I was off for 11 more months and the job was 6 months temporary. (That and noone told me about it! )

tribpot Tue 04-Aug-15 22:14:11

I agree with CountryLovingGirl. If the post was truly temporary and then they decided they needed to retain it on a permanent basis, they should have advertised it again at that point. Admittedly the person already in post would have had a competitive advantage but at least you could have thrown your hat in the ring.

Something similar happened in an old team of mine (just as I was leaving it). Two people were going off on mat leave at the same time and they decided rather than backfill both they would create a 'temporary' act-up on the grade above for one of the other people in the team. They openly said the intention was to confirm this as a permanent position later and I encouraged the two people going on mat leave to apply for it on that basis. Obviously they didn't as they didn't want to try to get into all that when they had no idea how they might fare trying to juggle work and their first babies, etc - and were effectively barred from applying because it was their own maternity cover.

It stank in my opinion - the act up got the promotion permanently and has continued to royally take the piss, to the tune of something like 30 days on the sick this year, none of which get reported in the monthly returns to HR (because she does the department's returns). Anyway, I appear to have wandered off the point a bit!

I think your manager is wrong - she didn't apply for the permanent post through competitive recruitment, she was handed a job you could have applied for. I would certainly escalate it from the point of view of (a) making your disappointment known and (b) ensuring they have followed best practice in this kind of recruitment. Perhaps a word with HR?

sooperdooper Tue 04-Aug-15 22:17:23

I can understand you being disappointed but don't think it's discrimination - the post was advertised, she went for it and got it, why would they wait until you were back to advertise if they needed someone in the post while you were off? If it was advertised it wasn't exactly a secret

Noeuf Tue 04-Aug-15 22:19:06

Oh I see. Do you think it was always permanent?

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