I applied for a promotion and didn’t get it due to my lack of experience with people management.
During the feedback my manager said that they had looked at helping me develop My people management skills by changing the structure and have someone report to me. Then they said that they had decided not to bother since I’ll be going on maternity leave in 4 months.
I know could do the job so being rejected is frustrating, but I’m more upset about the obvious discrimination because I’ll be going on mat leave.
Surely there's no point doing it before you go on leave as then that member of staff will have lots of upheaval as when you leave they'll have to change manager again. They should be offering it to you when you return though.
Bear in mind that discrimination is generally taken to mean that someone is disadvantaged due to a protected characteristic compared to someone without that PC. So in your case, discrimination would involve them giving the promo + direct reports to someone else who didn't have DC or who wasn't pg (this is a broad generalisation but you get the picture).
They have given a common-sense response to the situation. They haven't said never, they have deferred it until you (presumably) return from Mat Leave, so there is continuity.
You could, if you chose, ask them to clarify their intentions about plans for the future, and you may even want to state an intention to return to work, and ask if they can give you some reassurance (eg specific timelines) to signify this is a temporary hold until you return, not a final decision. Gauge how serious they are.
Agree with others, it sounds a reasonable decision for the interests of the business currently. Also if you’re planning to take extended ML (which many people seem to do now, having a year off) then there isn’t an automatic right to return to the exact same position, so it’s possible (if that’s what you end up doing) that restructuring could change things anyway.
”They have given the promo and direct reports to someone else, with no managerial experience.”
I’m confused. Are you complaining about not getting the promotion in the first place? It sounded from your OP as though they were planning to restructure other staff members specifically to help you develop your management skills, and had decided not to because you are not going to be around. That bit sounds perfectly reasonable tbh. Restructuring other people to develop the management skills of someone who won’t be around makes no sense.
If you don't currently have management experience, which invariably involves organisational supervisory skills and knowledge of employment law, then you weren't qualified to do the job, so them giving it to someone else wasn't because you were pg, it was that they needed someone who (a) would be there, present and able to step into the role and (b) had the required capabilities. It wasn't discriminatory.
The fact they are willing to consider you having someone reporting to you to give you exposure to the new skill set involved in people management is a sign they have confidence in you but you will need to be in role not on Mat Leave.
I would see what happens when you return and remind them at that time of your aspirations.
1) you applied for a promotion, were a strong candidate as you were completing many elements of the role, but they gave the job to another candidate who also didn't have management experience.
2) they were going to restructure to give you the experience, but decided against it as you are going on mat leave.
1) could well be discrimination, if they didn't give you the role because you are going on mat leave. It could be difficult to prove though. Or, it may have been that the other candidate performed better at interview than you did. I have seen it happen before, where the stronger candidate has done a weak interview, but someone else had come along and has really shined in interview.
2) I would accept this as a pragmatic decision, both for you and the company. It would be disruptive to change reporting lines before you go on mat leave.
@empressjewel thanks for summing that up better than I did.
I know the other candidate really well I know what experience they’ve had.
It’s really bothering me, keeping me awake at night because something just doesn’t feel right. I have had feedback from my manager but not from HR. I think I might note down my concerns and frustrations and ask for their feedback. Is that a good move?
There is no harm in expressing your concerns if you believe some discrimination took place.
Think about what you feel they ought to have done instead. How do you believe they could have covered the post during your Mat Leave. Sometimes that clarity of thought put to an employer constructively could make them realise that they have treated yo in a way that might be deemed discriminatory.