I feel my wife has been turned down for jobs because she is pregnant

(11 Posts)
joemolloy Tue 06-Aug-19 19:58:21

Hi everybody,

My wife has been working for Greensquare as a Housing Officer on a 6 month contract, which ended on Friday. They decided to not continue with the contract despite the fact that they are busier now than at any time when they first started. She also applied for four different jobs, three of them being the exact same job she is doing now but in different locations (each location was easily commutable though). She has been turned down for these roles and has not been given a reason for this, all of her appraisals were good in her time there and she has been advised that she has done really well in her role.

She is 4 months pregnant now and they've known she was pregnant for a few months. It is overwhelmingly obvious that they have not given her these roles because of her pregnancy, but I don't know how we go about proving this. Surely if the exact role she has been doing has become available with the same company they are obliged to offer her the role, bar any exceptional circumstances.

Any advice is appreciated, we're really worried at the moment.

OP’s posts: |
rottiemum88 Tue 06-Aug-19 20:07:00

If she was on a 6 month contract then no, the employer has no "obligation" to offer her anything unfortunately and in terms of discrimination, they would be able to argue that her particular contract was always intended to be temporary, so the fact she was not offered a new/equivalent role had nothing to do with her being pregnant - whether that is or isn't the case in fact is going to be pretty irrelevant, it's about what you can prove sad

joemolloy Tue 06-Aug-19 20:23:31

Thanks for the reply. I would have thought that it is only fair to for the burden to be on the employer to prove they haven't offered her a role she was clearly best qualified for, especially if they haven't even given a reason why she's not been offered the role??

This seems so heavily in favour of the employer as it's virtually impossible to categorically prove she has been discriminated against, unless they just come out and say she was turned down because she is pregnant.

It's worth bearing in mind as well that they've already lied to her about what she is entitled to as far as statutory sick pay and are claiming that she owes them money because she was previously over-paid previously, but are refusing to give a break down of the hours worked. Surely this pattern of behaviour points to maternity discrimination??

OP’s posts: |
Megan2018 Tue 06-Aug-19 20:26:43

It is probably discrimination, but you’ll get nowhere with it. If you’ve been employed with a company less than 2 years you are on a hiding to nothing sadly. Very few rights, virtually impossible to get anywhere legally.
It’s very unfair. Best thing is to move on gracefully in these circumstances.

Moondust001 Tue 06-Aug-19 20:32:29

No what you are complaining of does not point to discrimination. It might, if true, point to them being disorganised or not at all competent. But how would lying about SSP or possibly falsely saying she's been overpaid prove discrimination - those things could happen to anyone. I'm sorry, but if it was "overwhelmingly obvious" then you would have proof. You have no proof, so it isn't overwhelmingly obvious. All that is obvious is that she applied for four jobs and they appointed better candidates. Having had good appraisals doesn't make her the best candidate. And the employer is not obliged to provide a reason for failing to appoint someone.

As a matter of interest, why is she incapable of explaining her position herself? You are making an awful lot of assumptions and allegation on her behalf. None of which you can evidence.

DistantDream Tue 06-Aug-19 20:37:46

It's a temporary contract and always was. Sorry but I don't think they have done anything wrong and it's a risk you take when you accept temporary contracts (I appreciate that permanent ones are tricky to find in some areas), why did she tell them so early she was pregnant?

Pancakeflipper Tue 06-Aug-19 20:43:24

Her 6 month contract ended. There is no discrimination because they did not renew it.
With regards to the 4 other jobs, how do you prove she was the best candidate.

I doubt if you can prove discrimation for any of this.

Though the reality is that maternity leave does cost a company alot money and possible disruption...... But doubt in this situation there's anything you can prove.

wheresmyphone Tue 06-Aug-19 22:28:24

Call your local Citizens Advice. They are hot on discrimination. She has good appraisals and is able to get to the other places of work. It smells like discrimination to me.

They will talk you through the process but you have to make the assessment whether it is worth the fight.

I have been out of HR for a while so will defer to people more up to date but Citizens Advice should be able to walk you through the steps.

Good luck.

PonderLand Tue 06-Aug-19 23:51:43

I was in a similar position it was a 12 month temp contract, I told them I was pregnant after 1 month in the role (as soon as I found out). I ended up having sick leave due to the pregnancy towards the end, I didn't qualifying for the mat pay. It took me 4 months to start the job and I'd already handed in notice from my last job so I had no claims for maternity. Thank god for maternity allowance £139 pw. Do you have savings? We had nothing as we were in the process of buying our first home.

She should keep looking for work but I wouldn't chase after the companies who don't give her the role, did they know she was pregnant? And is it really worth the stress right now of taking them to court? I'm not sure what legalities there is about telling employers about pregnancies in the interview stage so perhaps if times are going to be really hard then don't tell them? It won't be the best start but at least you'll have a few months to save up!

I returned to the same job when my son was 6 months and they had fired the last manager, I emailed the new manager straight away and explained my circumstances and she gave me a part time permanent contract job, I was so so lucky and I have continued working there for nearly 3 years. My partners now self employed and we make a lot more money than we did before when we both had full time work. It is so stressful but you will find a way to make it work, concentrate on maternity benefits from the gov and work out how much money you've got I found all that really confusing and it took me a while to work it out, you have to apply for it at a certain stage in the pregnancy.

I breastfed and relied on family for the nice newborn baby clothes, supermarkets have good quality cheap bundles though. Babies are cheap, the gadgets and fancy cots, prams, 10 different types of seating for the baby are not necessary if you can't afford it. Look on Facebook market place for prams and cots, they're only used for a few months normally so it's not a big deal. Buy new what you have to like mattresses and bedding for the pram and cot, bottles, milk powder, maternity clothes, maternity bras, nappies etc. The most expensive time for us was when I needed to socialise with other parents and I went to the baby groups, swimming, lunch etc it all adds up if you do multiple things per week. I hope your wife finds something soon but if not don't worry too much, she will be entitled to something to bridge the gap until the babies here.

daisychain01 Wed 07-Aug-19 06:59:56

* It is probably discrimination, but you’ll get nowhere with it. If you’ve been employed with a company less than 2 years you are on a hiding to nothing sadly. Very few rights, virtually impossible to get anywhere legally.

Just to clarify this point, the 2 year employment rights does not apply when discrimination is a consideration. Protected characteristics such as pg apply from Day 1, you don't have to have worked somewhere for 2 years to expect to be treated fairly and equitably compared to non- pg workers.

In any case, the basis of employment in this case was a fixed term contract with a defined end point at 6 months. So they acted legally in exercising the terms of that contract as expected.

flowery Wed 07-Aug-19 09:59:38

Surprised at some of the comments here. Some just blatantly wrong advice!

"Surely if the exact role she has been doing has become available with the same company they are obliged to offer her the role, bar any exceptional circumstances."

No they don't have to offer it to her. Although by not doing so they are opening themselves up to a claim of pregnancy discrimination, and obviously if they would have renewed her contract if she had not been pregnant, then they are acting unlawfully.

The work is clearly continuing, if there are vacant roles doing exactly the same thing. She has had good feedback about her performance. I'd say there is definitely a case to answer as to why her contract hasn't been renewed, when the work is there and she's good at it.

People are mistaken about the burden of proof in employment law and in discrimination cases in particular. The onus is on the employee to demonstrate why they believe there may have been discrimination, and the onus then moves to the employer to demonstrate what other valid non-discriminatory reason there was for whatever it is.

I would suggest your wife raise a grievance, stating what you've said here, that as the work is clearly continuing and she has good feedback about her performance, she is concerned that the reason her contract was not renewed may have been because she is pregnant, which would of course be unlawful discrimination.

Ball is then in their court to show it was for another reason. Hopefully they will backpedal, but even if not, she's not losing anything by trying.

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