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To think this is discrimination

17 replies

Holly94 · 22/06/2013 19:34

Long sorry i dont want to drip feed!
I work as a sales assistant. Our manager handed in her notice in December and left in Jan and we haven't had a manager until today. Our assistant manager was acting manager.

I was given a lot of responsibility as even though I'm on an 8 hour contract I do a lot of over time so I basically work full time every week. Until recently there's been no bigger contract vacant and our assistant manager said I have to wait till the real manager starts. I was basically acting supervisor.

I am now 8 weeks pregnant. I'm suffering really badly with morning sickness and as I had a suspected ectopic at the beginning of the pregnancy I told my manager especially as my job involves being stood up 8-9 hours a day and we're not meant to have bottles of water with us.

Our new manager started today and I asked her about moving to a 30 hour contract and she said 'no because you're pregnant.' I said why does that matter? She said you'll be leaving (yeah in December!) and I need to give the bigger contracts to more reliable people. I said I've been acting as a supervisor for months. She said she doesn't want to give me it because I'm pregnant and can't be having people taking time off for midwife appointments etc. is this discrimination and should I pursue it further?

OP posts:

Catsize · 22/06/2013 19:36

If the only reason you are being disadvantaged is your pregnancy, then yes, this is discrimination.


Catsize · 22/06/2013 19:37

And you are entitled to time off for midwife appts.


SoftlySoftly · 22/06/2013 19:42

Erm yes and not even hidden. Call hq hr? I'd they do go ahead and give the contracts to someone else id be taking my proof (im assuming payslips show the hrs?) directly to a lawyer.


Holly94 · 22/06/2013 19:42

It's the fact she said 'no because you're pregnant'', makes me think if I wasn't, or she hadnt known, then I'd be getting a bigger contract. I need it for maternity pay (baby was unplanned)

OP posts:

fubbsy · 22/06/2013 19:45

Yes absolutely it is discrimination! The law says it is sex discrimination to treat an employee less favourably because she is pregnant. Definitely take it further. Are you a member of a union?


fubbsy · 22/06/2013 19:51

Sorry cross posts. Yes that's what I would assume from what she said. Make a note of what was said and when, so you have a record. Definitely seek advice and take it further.


Holly94 · 22/06/2013 19:51

fubbsby no I'm not. I know if I'd have waited to tell work then this wouldn't be an issue but I really had no choice as I was in a lot of pain and was in and out of hospital every 48 hours for bloodtests early on in my pg. I also have awful sickness and end up having to go to the toilet quite a few times a day. So I had to tell them.

OP posts:

hermioneweasley · 22/06/2013 19:52

You need to make a note of the conversation - every detail. Time, place, when it started and finished, we're you stood up or sat down, what were you wearing and what exactly was said. The more detail, the more credible it will be because she is almost certainly going to deny it when you start asking more questions.

I would try verbally once more (maybe see if yo can record it secretly?) and then if she says it again, I would follow up in writing confirming the 2 conversations.

Then they will either back down and give you the contract, or you can stay in your job but bring a complaint of sex discrimination.


CloudsAndTrees · 22/06/2013 19:56

It absolutely sounds like discrimination, but whether it's fair or not depends on whether there are other people who have been doing the same level of work as you and are equally worthy of the contracts.


fubbsy · 22/06/2013 19:59

The new manager is obviously clueless about employment law or else she wouldn't have said what she did.

I'm on my phone and can't do links, but I suggest getting in touch with Maternity Action. They have a helpline you can ring for advice.


fubbsy · 22/06/2013 20:01

And yes make detailed notes as Hermione suggests.


Holly94 · 22/06/2013 20:01

Clouds, the other girls there that do the same amount of work as me are all leaving for various reasons. There's 5 of us and 2 are going to uni in September, 2 have another job so have handed notice in and then there's me. The rest of the team is made up of older ladies who will only work their contracted hours and most of them are on 4, 6 or 8 hour contracts. It's difficult because the 5 of us seem to do all the work and I'm going to be the only one left so she wants to recruit some other people.

OP posts:

lobsterkiller · 22/06/2013 20:06

i am a TU official...this is discrimination. You need to diarise the conversation and formally (in writing) request a meeting to discuss this, you also need the meeting minuted. You cannot be refused a job/promotion/increase in hours etc due to pregnancy. If its possible follow up all verbal conversations with an email titled "as discussed" Good luck to you with this and your pregnancy.


honestpointofview · 22/06/2013 20:17

Hi Holly

For my sins I am an employment lawyer. As everyone has said it is an act of discrimination. It amounts to an act of indirect sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and a breach of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regs 1999. You might want to start by talking to the manager and see what she says (they will also allow you to get more evidence if necessary). If it is a big retailer I agree with Softlysoftly. You could give HR a call and see what they say. I have worked for large retailers and sometimes local managers just get it wrong. HR and their legal team will not be happy with the managers comment. When phoning HR be "nice". They will react better to someone saying sorry to phone you but can you help etc, rather than i am going to sue you as opening line. They are more likely to to help rather than get defensive. Of course if they are not helpfully then you can get more assertive. Second to last resort is to raise a grievance. I say second to last because you have to work with this manager so raising a grievance is tricky. Of course the last resort is to bring an employment tribunal claim. As I say I would start by discussing it again with the manager which at the very least will help with evidence if needed.

Hope this helps.


Holly94 · 22/06/2013 20:35

Thank you for all the advice everyone. I am going to speak to her again on Monday. After that I will be writing a letter to HR. Does anyone know if she can sack me for going to HR about her? Just worried to lose my job.

OP posts:

honestpointofview · 22/06/2013 20:51

Hi Holly

Theoretically you can be sacked for any reason if you have less than two years service. However in this case even if you have it would be legally difficult to do so because it would be linked to the pregnancy issue and enforcing your rights. Of course they does not stop her doing it just legally doing it. If it is a big company as soon as they knew they i suspect they would sort it out.

If you write to HR keep it short, to the point and factually. Ideally on one page, much more tends to distract. If they want more details they will ask.


Catsize · 22/06/2013 22:17

Good luck, and keep us posted. Sometimes, we evil lawyers aren't so bad y'know... (Ducking to dodge raw eggs...)

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