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Any good websites with info for helping me compile a grievance?

(19 Posts)
MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 18:51:27

I have been advised by my trade union to compile a grievance on the grounds of discrimination based on the fact I am on maternity leave and there are also wider issues of discrimination due to pregnancy. I am likely to be forced to resign and think I might be heading for an employment tribunal.

Am sure the union and their solicitors will help me but wondered if there were any good legal websites that would be helpful to me? Thanks.

avenanap Fri 29-Feb-08 18:55:09

Equal opportunities commission and ACAS. You only have 3 months so be quick. I have a degree in law and employment tribunal experience (my own though!) if you want some help. Tell me about it.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 18:59:24

Thanks avenanap.
When does the 3 months start from?

avenanap Fri 29-Feb-08 19:15:04

When the problem first developed. If you leave it longer then this the tribunal won't even look at it as they consider this to be you agreeing with the problem.

TheBlonde Fri 29-Feb-08 19:20:51

link for you
I used info from the DTI site when I did mine but can't find it now

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 19:31:06

I asked my manager for a secondment on monday, as I have successfully been offered a job for a year covering someone else's maternity leave. Secondments happen frequently in my organisation and I have never known one to be turned down. Initially my manager said it would be fine, but he needed to check with his manager. I was told on Wednesday (informally) I am unlikely to be successful for a variety of reasons.

In addition my manager told me he wants to see me next week to discuss reorganisation within the dept. A colleague co-incidentally phoned me last night to tell me my manager had been dicussing the reorganisation with them, mentioned me and I am apparently likely to be downgraded. I have already been downgraded once already during my pregnancy.

There is a whole lot of other history of things that happened to me during my pregnancy, which strongly suggests that their refusal for a secondment is based on my maternity leave (I am still on mat leave). I asked my manager to put details of our conversation in an e-mail. Although it an edited version of what he said to me, the e-mail backs this up. I think they are trying to force me to resign.

Do you think the history of the things that happened to me while pregnant is also relevant? (I.e. not sending me to occ health, downgrading my job, refusing to act on the written advice of my GP,refusal to follow in-house policy etc). The union rep seemed to think it was. I was on the verge of a breakdown after what happened to me and was unable to deal with a grievance at that time. It seems to me that this will continue until I resign.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 19:39:01

Thanks TheBlonde. Did a quick google and seems to be BERR - there is a section about grievances so think this is the right one.

avenanap Fri 29-Feb-08 19:49:04

Definetly, it sounds like harassment. If you can prove that you were the only one affected by the downgrading then you should be able to use this aswell. Once can be forgiven but twice is not good. You could claim constructive dismissal, this is where they damage the employer-employee relationship so much by their actions that the employee is forced to leave. It carries the same weight as if they had fired you on the spot even though it is you that has left. In order to use this you must write in your resignation letter that you consider yourself to have been constructively dismissed. You no longer have faith and trust in your employer because of their actions and this is an irreversable breakdown of your relationship. Constructive dismissal can be used in cases of sexual discrimination without a qualifying period, otherwise it's 12 months. In order to claim sexual discrimination you need to prove that they have not treated a man with a 'equivalent medical complaint' the same way, is there someone who has a bad back and has needed time off?
You can claim that the mental strain has damaged your health and self esteem, your doctor should be able to help you with this.Don't resign, go to the doctor with stress, ask for a sick note depending on when you're due back and get some legal advice as quickly as you can. it is recommended that you follow the company grievence ploicy first but you can do this and file for a tribunal at the same time. You can cancel a tribunal hearing the day before if you need to but once you start to complain you only have three months.

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 19:54:53

Have you raised any of these issues with anyone in your organisation?

I'm not sure I follow exactly what you are unhappy with. Are you saying you are on maternity leave right now? And have asked for a secondment to cover another maternity leave? Were you planning to return to work to take up the secondment?

Why were you refused a referral to OH? Did you say you were unhappy? What reasons were given for the downgrading?

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 19:56:29

Do not rush into resigning by the way. You need to raise this grievance with your employer and give them the opportunity to deal with it before you go to tribunal. You don't need to resign either to go to tribunal.

Personally I would not resign.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 20:05:17

The 1st downgrading was due to reconfiguration of the organisation. Out of about 70 employees only 2 people were downgraded (me and one other woman). And many people were upgraded. I saw documents before the reorganisation that showed my name against a lower grade job even though jobs at my grade were available. I have an e-mail to me from the senior manager stating that one of my employees who was on maternity leave at that time would have to be demoted on her return as part-time work and seniority don't go together. The manager told a meeting "off the record" who was being considered for the jobs at my grade i.e. not me.

I went off sick when pregnant, with work-related stress as the reason on the sick note. I ended up with the flu and bronchitis as well during the same period as the situation made me so run down. I took my annual leave owed and then I went straight onto maternity leave without going back to work. I am still on maternity leave at the moment. The reaction of my then manager was to not allow my annual leave and force me back to work, which was discussed with one of my peers.

The union rep said she'd post me the grievance policy and relevant forms on Wednesday, so they should be with me any time. The rep advised a friend should be with me next week, so my husband is coming with me. Unfortunately she can't attend.

Also am going to put my request for a secondment in writing. Do you think I should respond in writing arguing against all his 'reasons' why I shouldn't go on secondment?

Am trying to get things in writing where possible, although of course what I am told verbally has a different slant than what is in writing!

Any other advice? Particularly around how I handle the meeting next week. Thanks for helping me with this. I am v grateful.

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 20:11:28

Are you public or private sector?

Definitely go with your union rep. Is he/she well known to your organisation? That can make a real difference as they will understand the culture etc and perhaps know what is really going on.

The key issue I guess is whether the senior manager who made the comment about seniority and part time represents the view of the whole organisation or just himself.

You need to be very clear about what you are complaining about. Try and list them in bullet points. The history is relevant for context but the latest act of discrimination is probably what you need to concentrate on.

You need to be focussed, professional, unemotional and (I think) focus upon the business reasons for agreeing to your secondment. What benefits are there for the organisation? Focus on that rather than talking about how you been discriminated against.

Then listen to their reasons for objecting to it and see whether it stacks up. Is it a real argument or not?

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 20:15:25


I went to see the chief exec of the organisation and HR and another senior manager about these issues at the time of my pregnancy before I went off sick. Nothing was done. The reasons I was given for were things like I can't manage people, I can't produce certain pieces of work, even though I am an experienced manager, with a very good track record.

I was asked to go to occ health by my manager. I agreed. My manager did not send me the forms for me to fill out to be referred. It is policy that you must be referred at 4 weeks.

I am on mat leave now and returning in a few months. I have asked for a secondment to cover another maternity leave. I am planning to return to work to take up the secondment. Otherwise I would be returning to my substantive job if I had not been offered the secondment.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 20:21:33

Public sector.

The union rep will be well known to the organisation.

The structure of the organisation is complicated, but he is the head of the organisation, which is part of a larger public organisation.

I think your advice about the history as context but focussing on this latest issue is good advice.

I am working on a list of the benefits for the organisation (a secondment for another member of staff to a similar job was agreed a few months ago). There is a financial incentive. And a counterargument to his argument. He has stated things like it is difficult to cover my post during a secondment, even though my maternity leave is being covered by a member of staff!

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 20:41:22

Just take things step by step. I know it is hard, but please try not to get stressed out by it. Focus on what you want to try and achieve, rather than claiming discrimination etc. Think very carefully about what you want.

Your HEad of service will be accountable to someone, whether it is a board, or governors or whoever. So he isn't the last resort.

Good luck, happy to answer any questions or just here to bounce ideas off.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 20:48:05

It is now difficult to know what I want tbh.

It would be hard for me to return back to the organisation with the history. But I don't want to lose my enhanced entitlements to annual leave, sickness benefits etc and a permanent job.

But I really want to do this secondment as it is a great opportunity, at my old grade, with some exciting projects to work on.

I feel like I have to make a stand about this. Some awful things have recently happened to others on maternity leave and they have all ended up leaving without making grievances as they felt they couldn't go through with it.

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 20:50:54

I'm happy talk offline about this if you want. I work in HR in the public sector and may be able to help, entirely up to you. If you want to email me you can on llareggubmn at gmaildotcom. If you are happy to that is. It is just difficult to talk openly on here.

MumtoBen Fri 29-Feb-08 20:58:11

Thank you very much llareggub.

I will take on board your advice and see how the next week unfolds. I might e-mail you after that if I have more questions.

llareggub Fri 29-Feb-08 21:07:33

Good luck. I hope it goes well.

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