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Not allowed to go back into my role following mat leave, advice really needed

(15 Posts)
namechange02837492 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:40:28

I'm returning to work after AML. My job is in sales and before I left on mat leave I had managed a mid sized account for 3 years. I've been told that this account is going to be permanently managed by my maternity cover, and I'm not allowed to go back into my role.

I've been offered a much smaller account. It will look terrible on my CV and involve a significant increase in travel. My job title will remain the same. Does anyone know where I stand?

Pinkprincess1978 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:56:50

If you have more than 6 months off then you don't have to be given the same job just similar with same pay/hours. I'm not sure what your job is but could it still be classed as the same job still?

Beansprout30 Sat 11-Aug-18 19:46:43

It sounds as if they have kept you in the same job but just fobbed you off a bit with rubbish accounts to look after. Unfortunately I don't think they've done anything legally wrong here

inquiquotiokixul Sat 11-Aug-18 19:58:32

If they haven't reduced your pay or changed your job title you will find it difficult to prove anything.

Is there a bonus system linked to the kind of accounts you have? Will you have fewer chances to earn bonuses or other opportunities with this new workload? If you can prove that you are being treated less favourably due to being a mother then you might have a case for discrimination but it would be very difficult to prove.

If you aren't materially disadvantaged then you don't really have a case. They have every right to choose to give the top accounts to other colleagues.

Hoppinggreen Sat 11-Aug-18 20:48:21

It may be possible that the client wants the continuity or the business feels it’s best that they stay with the same account manager. I doubt they are doing it out of spite, there will be a good business reason
If it’s not a demotion I don’t see how you would claim it’s unfair

flowery Sat 11-Aug-18 21:03:31

They have to offer you a suitable job on no less favourable terms and conditions. It sounds like you may struggle to argue that they haven’t met those obligations really.

greenlanes Sat 11-Aug-18 21:06:35

What was discussed about this account before you went on maternity leave?

Have sales to this account improved whilst you have been away? (ie has maternity cover done better?)

Iizzyb Sat 11-Aug-18 21:18:55

I think this is a very grey area but basically if the role is still there it is pregnancy/sex discrimination not to put you back in your original role.

In 22 years of work as an employment lawyer I have never seen an employer successfully argue about the alternative role after 6 months ie during aml. You hear about it a lot on threads here and it was mentioned often when I was on mat leave.

Kick up a fuss - a huge fuss - if you can be bothered. If you can't then kick up a fuss in such a way that they will pay you off. It's never ok to fill your job with your mat cover xx

flowery Sun 12-Aug-18 09:33:09

For what reason are they saying it’s “not reasonably practicable” for you to return to your old job OP?

namechange02837492 Sun 12-Aug-18 13:11:29

@flowery just that 'the role has been filled', which doesn't feel right. From what I've read they need a better reason than that. But my contracted job title is generic, not specific to that account, which makes me feel worried, even though it's what I've been doing for the past three years.

flowery Sun 12-Aug-18 15:56:51

”the role has been filled”

You are right that isn’t nearly enough justification.

If it were not reasonably practicable for you to return to your original job, I think you’d probably have a hard time arguing that the new one isn’t suitable. Therefore your best option is to say they do not have reasonable grounds for not giving your old one back. If the only justification they can come up with is that someone else has been doing it while you are away (well duh!) that’s not enough at all. Your maternity cover can do this job they are offering you if they want to keep him/her!

I take it you haven’t asked for flexible working or anything and are returning on the same hours?

namechange02837492 Sun 12-Aug-18 16:34:30

Thanks so much for the advice. No flexible working/changes to hours requested at all. This has made me so stressed, I'm not sleeping, and so your help is massively appreciated.

Flowerypig Sun 12-Aug-18 16:41:07

Hi- I went back to my teaching role full time after my mat leave. I had 12 months off so they didn’t have to offer my same job back. However, they kept my maternity leave replacement on, even though they knew I was coming back. They wouldn’t let me teach, lesson plan, mark or do verification. I was doing cleaning, admin and stock taking. I complained and went through the whole complaints process. They wouldn’t budge. I found my emails circulated around the department, with discussions on how ‘sneaky’ I was being. I found my manager and maternity leave were having an affair. I took them to tribunal and won. Was very stressful and lots of work but so so satisfying!

flowery Sun 12-Aug-18 17:20:59

I would quote the legislation at them and say they are in breach of it.

“An employee who takes additional maternity leave, or parental leave for a period of more than four weeks, is entitled to return from leave to the job in which she was employed before her absence, or, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit her to return to that job, to another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”

They have not said how or why it is not practicable for you to return.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 12-Aug-18 17:44:03

Nor have they said why the new role is suitable and appropriate in these circumatances. An Employment Tribunal would want to hear credible, substantive factual (not conjecture) evidence from an employer on that point. The evidence would really need to be contemporaneous- ie not made up after the event. You should be pointing this out

If you bring a discrimination claim, an inference by an employee is enough to shift the burden of proof onto an employer to require them to prove they have not discriminated. Failure to provide an evidence based rationale for the new role to the employee per the test set out in the legislation is enough to shift that burden of proof. That is not to say that you would win any claim but it would be messy and possibly risky to defend

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