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Advice on being told you're not wanted after mat leave

(6 Posts)
HappyTanga Mon 17-Aug-09 19:18:19

Last Dec I was due to return to work after taking 9 months mat leave. I had taken maternity pay and was obliged to return for a minimum of 10 weeks or refund the mat pay. I was planning to return to work on the same terms as I had been previously and loved my job, having been with the company for 7 years. During the initial meeting my boss said that if I didn't want to return to work they'd waive the maternity benefit and then hinted very strongly that he'd prefer to keep my maternity replacement (who was childless, worked loads of overtime and was on a smaller salary, but was also very nice, I'd recruited her!). I was horrified as it was just before Christmas and my family are dependent on my salary. During a second meeting my boss stated categorically that he didn't want me to return and I could take redundancy which was 7 weeks pay. I was stunned and through a solicitor friend sought legal advice. After the most stressful 8 weeks of my life I finally negotiationed a (much higher) settlement and left my employment on Christmas Eve. I had a very strong case for sexual discrimination and could have taken it to a Tribunal but couldn't handle the stress. The condition of my settlement means I can't discuss it with anyone so everyone in the company thinks I left voluntarily. I wonder how may other women returning to work are silently forced to leave under such terms? Anyway, I wanted to share this to help anyone who may be in the same horrible position I was in. 8 months later I am very happy with the outcome but the process was horrible and totally knocked my confidence.

gigglewitch Mon 17-Aug-09 19:23:15

that's shock
Glad you are happy now.

Advice hereif anyone needs to know what their rights are.

HappyTanga Mon 17-Aug-09 20:06:54

I know! I think that main thing was that my boss offered me various options which he made out were good for me - like not paying my mat leave back and the 7 weeks. The reality of my situation legally was very different from what he was telling me. Anyone in a similar position should be aware that things aren't as straightforward as HR might make them out to be.

gigglewitch Mon 17-Aug-09 20:33:14

Never believe a smiling Manager wink
Specially a HR one, they are very rarely as wholesome as they would have you believe. Arses, the lot of them.

nkf Mon 17-Aug-09 20:40:33

How horrible. Mean and sneaky and contemptible.

I expect it happens a lot. Good luck with whatever you do next.

HappyTanga Tue 18-Aug-09 14:11:22

Thank you for your lovely messages. I used my settlement money to launch my own company which is doing very well and restored my faith in myself. I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to do that without the pay-off so in the end I feel like my boss did me favour in the long run. A bit like being dumped by your boyfriend and being devasted at the time but then finding out afterwards that he used to flirt with your sister! Alls well that ends well I suppose.

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