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Oh grief...yet another mat leave redundancy...

(16 Posts)
Harrumpf Sat 15-Sep-07 22:48:03

I've recently heard that I'm being made redundant whilst still on mat leave. There are other women in my organisation who've had the same thing done to them this year. Basically they've restructured the department and I've been offered another role which is very similar to one I did a few years ago - therefore way below my present level and would negatively impact my career progress.

As far as I'm concerned this doesn't count as being offered a 'suitable vacancy' - thoughts, anyone?

berolina Sat 15-Sep-07 22:50:01

I never fail to be astonished that this is apparently legal. over here (Germany) no employer would get away with it.

No ideas, but much sympathy.

Harrumpf Sat 15-Sep-07 22:55:27

Danke schon, Berolina. I'm not sure that it is totally legal, actually.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind so much if employers were cracking down on the many, many people having a negative impact on their businesses (e.g. the workshy, the incompetent, the people taking 'sickies' or rolling in late with hangovers) - but let's face it: they don't. They're damned lazy thinkers.

Moonlit Sat 15-Sep-07 23:37:33

From what I have read (as I currently facing issues with my company). Is that they can offer you a similar role, but it has to be at the same level. Sounds like sex descrimination to me.

flowerybeanbag Sun 16-Sep-07 08:52:17

Harrumpf they have to offer you a similar job if there is one available. Is there a similar job available but you are just not being offered it?

Harrumpf Sun 16-Sep-07 18:59:52

Well...there isn't a similar job but apparently there may be one which is at my level...but they've chosen not to offer it to me.

flowerybeanbag Sun 16-Sep-07 19:23:57

If it's not a similar job they don't have to offer it to you.
If there is what is called a suitable alternative, they have to offer it to you. What constitutes a suitable alternative is very subjective obviously, but one which involved different skills, changes in pay, status, working environment or location would probably not be considered 'suitable alternatives'. You will be able to form an opinion whether this other job would be a 'suitable alternative' or not, but just being at the same level as your old job doesn't make it suitable.

Here is what it says on the DTI website about this -

'If a redundancy situation arises at any stage during an employee’s maternity leave which means it is not practicable for the employer to continue to employ her under her original contract of employment, she is entitled to be offered (before that contract ends) a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available. This includes a vacancy with an associated employer or with a successor to the original employer.

The new contract must take effect immediately on the ending of the original one and must be such that:

the work to be done by the employee is both suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances; and
the capacity and place in which she is to be employed and the other terms and conditions of her employment are not substantially less favourable to her than if she had continued to be employed under the original contract.
It is unlawful for an employer to make an employee redundant during ordinary or additional maternity leave period without first complying with these requirements. An employee made redundant in these circumstances will have a claim for unfair dismissal and may also be able to claim sex discrimination. An employee who has been dismissed in this way should appeal against the dismissal as part of the requirement under the Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures. Failure by employers or employees to use these statutory procedures could result in an increase or reduction to any compensation awarded. The Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures sets out the statutory dispute resolution procedures that should be followed before an employee may, if the dispute is not resolved, complain to an Employment Tribunal. Employers and employees may also find the general Acas advice on dispute resolution helpful.

If the employer has a suitable alternative vacancy available but fails to offer it to the employee, the redundancy dismissal will be regarded as an unfair dismissal. If the employer offers the employee a suitable alternative vacancy (she is entitled to a four- week trial period in which to decide whether the employment is suitable, and this period may be extended beyond four weeks by written agreement) and she unreasonably refuses it, either before or during the trial period, she may forfeit her right to a redundancy payment'.

So as you can see, if there is a suitable alternative for you, they must offer it to you without any competition.
If there isn't a suitable alternative, you don't get any further special protection due to your maternity leave - you can be made redundant the same as anyone else.

Out of interest, the job you have been offered - you say it is at a lower level - would they agree with that? And are they proposing protecting your salary?

Peachy Sun 16-Sep-07 19:28:05

I rpesume it is definitely at a lower level, as you used to hold the job? I presume you were promoted up?

ACAS. In two steps:

1. Call them. Get every bit of advice you can.

2. Print outs aid advice from their regally wonderful websit, qquietly and without comment place in the inbox of person responsible for this (or post). Add your signature at then end- no toehr comment.

With dh this has always suffficed (problems over flexi working etc) but ifn nnot, ACAS willa dvise on next step

flowerybeanbag Sun 16-Sep-07 19:30:14

Have a look at this thread as well if you haven't already, some useful stuff on there about this.

Harrumpf Sun 16-Sep-07 22:07:45

Hmmm...interesting, that line about a suitable job 'if one is available'. Perhaps that provides enough of a loophole for them to get through.

I'll definitely call ACAS tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

Harrumpf Sun 16-Sep-07 22:09:04

Hi Peachy,

Yes, my previous job was very similar to the one which they've now offered me, and yes - I was promoted up. The question is how do I prove that they've created this new job in order to discriminate against me as a new mother?

flowerybeanbag Mon 17-Sep-07 08:18:40

Harrumpf which job do you think they created to discriminate against you - the one you have been offered which is at a lower level but similar, or the one which is less similar but at the same level?

What you need to do is think about whether the job you mentioned which is at your level, could be considered a suitable alternative or not. It's a subjective thing as I said, but try and take a step back and think about whether the skills required etc are similar to the job you were in before this happened.
If you genuinely think the one at the correct level is similar enough, then you should be offered it.

If you think actually it probably isn't close enough to be considered a suitable alternative, then you need to focus on the job you have been offered. Are the content and responsibility level similar to the post you held before you were promoted - i.e. is it genuinely a post at the lower level, does the content of that job justify it being at the lower level, regardless of who ends up in it?

And also think about the job you were doing at the higher level. What has happened to this work now, is there a job/jobs that are covering this work and would it be appropriate for you to be offered them?

Have a think about all those things before you call Acas. And good luck

Harrumpf Mon 17-Sep-07 11:22:43

Thanks for your suppor and advice, FBB. I don't want to say too much in case they're reading this website, but now I'm pretty sure my suspicions are correct.

flowerybeanbag Mon 17-Sep-07 11:24:57

No problem at all. Some things to think about anyway - hope ACAS can help you.

MrsThierryHenry Mon 17-Sep-07 11:27:47

Yes - spoke to ACAS today - to be honest they told me what I already know, so I'll have to make some other enquiries. Still, good to know I'm not barking up the wrong tree.

MrsThierryHenry Mon 17-Sep-07 11:28:18

Oh no! Used my true ID!!!


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