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Demoted Before Return to Work Following Maternity Leave

(25 Posts)
DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Mon 16-Jul-07 10:17:38

Checking my name...

beansprout Mon 16-Jul-07 10:18:37

They aren't allowed to do that. They have to offer you your old job or one at an equivalent grade.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Mon 16-Jul-07 10:28:18

Ok, very briefly.

I'm coming up to the end of my maternity leave and my company are currently restructuring.

I have been told that my job no longer exists.

I have also been told I MUST return to a demotion, with payment protection for a limited time but eventually dropping 10k salary wise to a lower status job.

I have seeked legal advice and they confirmed that the company must hold my job (or one at the same level and salary)else I am in a redundancy situation.

I have asked my company to let me go via redundancy or by agreement but they are insisting I return to this demotion else I am being unreasonable...WTF

Although I always intending on returning to my original job and would have returned if it still existed. Now returning to my job is not an option, I would rather same at home for a while. I certainly do not want the demotion job, I would never of applied for that post

My company says my legal advice is in the wrong and vice versa...who do I believe !?!

beansprout Mon 16-Jul-07 10:31:23

Who are you seeking the legal advice from? It's pretty standard advice, the situation is straightforward. It may not suit the managers in your company, but that's tough. That's what the law is there for, to protect women from these sort of situations. Sorry to hear this is happening, not what you need at the moment, I'm sure.

flowerybeanbag Mon 16-Jul-07 10:35:33

demoted you are in a redundancy situation as your job or an equivalent is not available.

They can and should offer you alternatives in this situation but you are not obliged to take an alternative offered to you if it is not suitable, and I'm pretty sure that a demotion dropping 10k after a short protected period would not be considered a suitable alternative.

Your legal advice is correct, stick to your guns and get the appropriate redundancy package, which may enable you to stay at home for a while until you find something elsewhere.

sorry this has happened at a time when you were probably looking for a stress-free return to work

nannynick Mon 16-Jul-07 10:47:38

Contact ACAS for advice, they have a lot of experience dealing with this sort of thing and advise both employees and employers.

It is best to call 08457 47 47 47 and talk through your situation with an advisor.

For general info, visit

DTI has specific information about your Right To Return To Work
"if there is a reason other than redundancy which means that it is not reasonably practicable for her employer to take her back to the same job, she is entitled to be offered suitable alternative work."

If you have had Additional Maternity Leave
"in which case she should be offered a similar job on terms and conditions which are not less favourable than her original job."

If you feel that redundancy would be good thing for you, then I would say that you should aim to get the company to make you redundant.

Seek professional advice regarding your position. Call ACAS in the first instance.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Mon 16-Jul-07 11:15:01

Rang ACAS he said seek legal advice, which I have already done.

I am going to ring for a second opinion...wish me luck

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Mon 16-Jul-07 11:41:51

Right, second opinion backs up my first legal opinion. i.e. They have to make me redundant.

I think I will wait for a response from work and if it is another fob off.

I'll then consider doing a grievence against them like suggested and if that doesn't work.

Either legal firm will do me 'No win,no fee' to take them to court if it boils down to that, not that I want it to get that far

callmeovercautious Mon 16-Jul-07 11:48:17

Demoted - sounds like you may have to take the legal route. Just check the wording in the agreements, make sure they will claim their fee as legal costs from your employer not from the money you are awarded. Most reputable firms will do this.

Sorry they are messing you around while on Maternity, you should be enjoying your LO not worrying about work. Managers like this should be personally fined as well I think!

chocolatekimmy Tue 17-Jul-07 16:37:15

Yes its a redundancy situation so they have to consider alternatives but they have to be suitable. A demotion and pay cut would not be a suitable alternative.

Did they write to you to say your job may be at risk and then invite you in for a meeting to discuss the business case etc. They should have done that or if they haven't it could be deemed an unfair dismissal. If it is redundancy, it is a dismissal so they have to follow the statutory process and give you the right of appeal as well.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 07:57:36

No they wrote to me to tell me I had been assigned this demotion and I must sign the agreement and return, which I didn't. I emailed my objections straight away.

I have been told by the director of HR that they have a lot of people to sort out(sorry, but that is not my problem) and that I am not 'at risk' as they have assigned this demotion position to me !!!

flowerybeanbag Wed 18-Jul-07 09:23:21

Outrageous! When someone is redundant it is the job that is 'at risk' and then redundant, not the individual. Clearly your post is more than'at risk' as you have been told it no longer exists!

Sounds like they may not have followed a proper procedure, and as mentioned before you definitely do not need to accept any alternative post offered to you unless it is 'suitable', and being shoehorned into a demotion with a large salary cut on the horizon is not 'suitable' in anyone's books.

The legal advice you have been getting is correct, definitely stick to your guns. I would write a formal letter to the HR Director explaining that as you have been told your post no longer exists, it is therefore redundant. You have been offered an alternative post which you do not consider suitable, and therefore will not be accepting. As a result instead you are claiming whatever redundancy package you are entitled to.
I would then say that you are also concerned that they have not followed the statutory procedure in handling your redundancy situation - you did not received written notification explaining the reasons and inviting you to a meeting, you did not get a meeting to discuss it at which you should have been entitled to be accompanied, and you have not been officially notified of your right to appeal. (assuming this is all correct).

If you write formally like that, stating you do not accept the alternative and pointing out where they have not followed the procedure, that should (hopefully) get you a better response, and gives you a basis for a grievance should you need to bring one.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 09:54:53

flowerybeanbag, I have written several times pointing the things you have mentioned but they ignore my points and keep repeating that my legal advice is flawed and that their internal restructuring policy (written recently) is allowed to overule the Maternity Laws...Yeah Lawyer LOL at that thought. If an employer doesn't like a law just write an internal policy which overides it...LOL

It is interesting that I explain some points and ask ONE direct question in a letter and they send a 2 page letter in response which doesn't even answer my original question !!! So my last written response was as short and sweet as possible, remove all uneccessary words, resulting in two bullet points and a sentence in bold re-requesting my redundancy package details.

So there is no way to missunderstand what I am asking, I bet a £10 that I STILL recieve another 2 pages of bull 'response' which completely ignores my request for information.

Oh well, fingers crossed that they actually speak to their own legal people before responding to me again.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 09:57:47

Unnecessary not uneccessary

Scoobyc Wed 18-Jul-07 10:03:12

Sorry to hear about your situation. Just a quick point - make sure you document absolutely everything. Make notes of any conversations, keep emails etc etc.

Also - do you know how they have dealt with other people in a similar/same job to you? Eg did they do the same to men in a similar position?
(If they are guilty of sexual discrimination damages are unlimited so if it went to tribunal it would be in your favour to be able to show they treated you differently to a man).

Good luck.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 10:16:53

The other two people doing my job (a lady and a man) their original jobs do not exist either. However they both got promotions after applying for two different and a grade higher jobs.

I could of applied for one of these promotions myself but with a young baby, I don't want a new job with longer hours and training issues etc, I wanted to return to the job I have done for years and knew already and my lawyer said that was reasonable to do on return from my maternity.

flowerybeanbag Wed 18-Jul-07 10:17:43

lol at rewriting an internal policy to overrule the law if you don't like what the law says!

Now there's a thought...

You are right Demoted they clearly haven't had any legal advice up to now - if you have pointed out all those things and still get no satisfactory response when they come back to you again, just put in a grievance - they haven't got a leg to stand on. Liking the short and sweet ones-of-one-syllable approach when you didn't get anywhere the first time!
Hopefully they will either take proper advice before they come back to you this time, or will do so when you put in a grievance.

Even if a grievance doesn't get you anywhere and you do then have to put in a claim, I am sure they would take legal advice then and there is no way any solicitor would advise them to fight this one!

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 10:22:33

Oh yeah, I have requested the grievance procedure in writing twice and sent a reminder in writing too.

Yet they have ignored all three requests for that policy and I still don't have a copy

flowerybeanbag Wed 18-Jul-07 10:27:24

Do they WANT to go to a tribunal?

In that case I would write saying you are putting in a formal grievance, and as they have not given you a copy of the grievance procedure at your request, thereby denying you access to the company's normal procedure, you have no option but to use the statutory grievance procedure to make your complaint. here on acas website

flowerybeanbag Wed 18-Jul-07 10:32:01

Am and at how crap your HR dept clearly is.

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 10:34:00

Oh I could kiss you FBB

They definately want rid of me and reduced me to tears in the last meeting I was forced to attend at work.

But according to your link I only have to write to them before we go to a tribule...i.e They can't put me in a room and outnumber me on my own and upset me again

Now the question is Do any of my emails since the end of June count as notication or do I have to resend an email marked as grievence...Think I'll send another email tonight, restating everything and putting in the statement from your post FBB

Thanks you have really cheered me up

flowerybeanbag Wed 18-Jul-07 10:48:29

Yep put everything together tonight in one email, I would, restating everything, ones of one syllable again, so there's no chance of any confusion or anything.

Definitely can't outnumber you, get you on your own or anything like that.

Glad to have cheered you up, and kisses gratefully received

keep us informed won't you?

chocolatekimmy Wed 18-Jul-07 10:54:07

You dont' have to use the word grievance (or formal). All you have to do is make a written complaint, outlining the issues.

It is up to them to act upon any written notification that is a complaint/grievance by the very nature of the wording. They have to treat it as a grievance even if it doesn't say that on the letter or e-mail. A resignation letter for example with a complaint as the reason for leaving should automatically be treated as a grievance and proper procedure followed (if they know what they are doing of course!).

Clearly they haven't got a clue. As you know, keep everything and document all meetings, conversations etc. You need to build up a case to support your claim as it sounds as though it will end up as a legal claim via the tribunal process.

Its still not nice though is it but keep strong and professional and you will come out on top.

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 18-Jul-07 10:59:44

Emails do count, yes.

Did they offer you the opportunity of going for the promotions that your colleagues went for? (irrespective of whether you would have taken it or not?)

Sounds like discrimination. A company in Central London that I know does employment law is Brian Harris & Co. Might be worth contacting them?

DemotedAfterMaternityLeave Wed 18-Jul-07 11:11:53

Thanks for the responses, I feel a lot better now.

I will give them to the end of the day to reply and if I hear nothing will send an offical grievence in.

Yes, VVV I could of applied for a promotion...the jobs were already earmarked so I wouldn;t of got one. (They left one candidate name on her new job description online before she was interviewed..LOL Got altered so I have no prove of that, but it made me laugh) But that doesn't bother me, as I never wanted a promotion just my orginal (worked damm hard for it) job back.

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