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Redundancy upon return from mat leave - pls help, meeting tomorrow!

(13 Posts)
mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 20:51:58

Right ... I'm a solicitor, when I was pregnant my employers worked me like you wouldn't believe (including one episode of working from 7am til 5am) and also made loads of sexist comments like "but you won't come back to work cos mums need to stay at home with their babies", "bloody hell you've got fat", "big tits" etc .. then didn't pay me a bonus. I brought a grievance while on mat leave which they replied to and tbh I just left as wanted a job to come back to.

Came back at beginning of May (3 days / wk)and have now been told am being made redundant (along with a girl who's pregnant). We were told we were being made redundant and then told we would now enter into a consultation process "because we have to by law" (!!)

They've also taken over another firm this week with people(non-pregnant, non-mothers) who do the same job as me. I've pointed out that they should have considered these people in the selection pools and also consulted me with regard to TUPE.

They advised there was 1 job available in another dept - which is a 6 month fixed term contract. Upon leaving the meeting the other girl told me she'd been offered that job 2 weeks ago (then told them she was pregnant a week later..). I've in the end said that I don't want to apply as it's fixed term plus the only other candidate was offered it before redundancy started.

Had a meeting in which I asked who was going to do all my roles and was told associates (next rung up) will do them, at a lower charge-out rate to clients. Doesn't this mean my role isn't redundant?

I've told them I'm going to claim and (without prejudice) offered a settlement and have just received a letter saying they're not offering anything. Statutory redundancy pay only. I think this after my 10 months on statutory mat pay is going to bankrupt us! I know from ACAS that I now need to bring a grievance which I will do tomorrow but what should I put in it? All the above?

And what do I do next? We are not flush as still recovering from my mat leave and I am just SOOOO stressed and hate the thought of going in tomorrow. My meeting is at 10am and they have advised that a likely outcome is giving final notice of dismissal due to redundancy.

gigglewitch Tue 28-Jul-09 20:54:51

well it sounds like you know all the legal stuff (!) so yes it looks like you've nothing to lose by presenting the entire lot to them. Just one thing that occurs to me, is there a union?

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 22:04:34

No union.

gigglewitch Tue 28-Jul-09 22:09:15

as you will know loads more about this than me, can you get them for discrimination? And don't you have protection on returning from mat leave? (sorry all the questions, I only know about managing in the education field)

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 22:19:35

I don't know ... I only know about my area of law not employment ... just am feeling like a ball of stress at the moment!!

fishie Tue 28-Jul-09 22:21:46

nothing much to say except... it all sounds vile m2i, get them because they don't give a fuck about you and they are counting on you backing down.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 22:25:17

thanks fishie.

mumof2222222222222222boys Tue 28-Jul-09 22:29:16

Can you not get access to PLC on line? Or ask a trainee? Or do you not have an employment lawyer friend?

You do know the basics - being made redundant as you spell it out, with unfair selection based on pregnancy with all the comments etc - def = sex discrimination. Or certainly at least enough to make a claim.

Get the grievance in and see what their response is. If unsat, fill in an ET1 and set the ball rolling. ACAS will offer to help - but good luck in getting hold of them!

Good luck. It sounds a horrendous firm. You will get something a lot better - but clearly you need the money asap.

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 22:32:37

I have access to plc but only to corporate not employment and our employment team is small, meaning I think the only associate there would tell the directors if I asked her to get it.

I think I have enough to make a claim, I'm just a bit frightened. Of the stress of it, the hassle, and of being badmouthed round our local fairly small legal market.

Boo to them.

fruitstick Tue 28-Jul-09 22:38:13

Oh you poor thing. I know nothing about this at all but would think they would have to consider everyone for redundancy (including at new firm) and ask you all to apply for the reduced number of roles.

To select you and the pregnant colleague smells shocking to me.

No advice, but I wouldn't worry about being bad mouthed. Badmouthing rarely happens and it is always the firm that comes out looking like the tossers

mummy2isla Tue 28-Jul-09 22:41:59

Thanks...

Really must stop drinking red wine by myself (dh away) and sitting on the internet and stewing at some point tonight !!

ChazsBarmyArmy Wed 29-Jul-09 00:26:49

These might be useful

Dismissal due to pregnancy or maternity

If an employee is dismissed (which includes non-renewal of a fixed-term contract) or selected for redundancy, where the only (or principal) reason for her dismissal or selection is related to pregnancy, birth or maternity leave, the dismissal will be automatically unfair under section 99 of ERA 1996. It will also constitute sex discrimination (see Sex discrimination). (from PLC)

There is also a fair bit of info on direct.gov
www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/RedundancyAndLeavingYourJob/Dismissal/DG_10026692

Note these are the criteria that are automatically unfair and so even if you don't fit into them exactly your dismissal can still be found to be unfair based on the facts of your case. NB dismissal related to grievances can also be automatically unfair in certain circs.
I am not an employment lawyer but I think you can do enough to rattle their cage a bit. The LawSoc / SRA might be interested in their tactics.

flowerybeanbag Wed 29-Jul-09 09:03:35

I wouldn't speak to anyone else in the firm about it at all tbh.

Go to your meeting today, and don't say much at all. Just hear what they say, take appropriate notes, don't get drawn into any kind of response or heated discussion, just be matter of fact and see it as information-gathering for your next step.

Once you've got confirmation of your dismissal, you can then get your document together. You will need to appeal your dismissal and possibly make a wider claim of sex discrimination including previous incidents as well. This could be two separate documents, one appealing the dismissal and one grievance about the sex discrimination, or you could combine it, which would probably be easier.

How it's written is crucial. Tbh I wouldn't have advised offering a settlement, even though you said without prejudice. They hadn't even dismissed you at that point and you coming to them asking for a settlement combined with the fact that you didn't pursue your grievance earlier on will indicate to them that you have no desire to fight and just want some money. You are more likely to get a good settlement if they think there is a genuine realistic prospect of this ending up in a tribunal otherwise, and as yet there's no reason for them to think that so there's no incentive to settle, at least at the moment.

You need an excellent appeal/grievance document, pointing out procedure they have not followed to make you redundant, pointing out incidences of sex discrimination and pointing out that the redundancy isn't genuine if that is the case.

You need some help with this ideally. As you know it's all very well being a lawyer but if you are not an employment specialist you're not in much of a better position than anyone else - my DH is an excellent lawyer but he's not an employment lawyer and would not claim to have any employment law knowledge - to the extent that when people come to him for help because he's a lawyer he immediately refers them to me. If you have any friends or friends of friends who are employment lawyers or have employment law contacts that might be a place to start.

I would also suggest you ring your house insurers as there is often legal cover included in that. But first step is to go to the meeting today and see what happens and take it from there.

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