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Help - feel forced out of my job

8 replies

becksmummy · 11/12/2006 19:38

HI There
I took maternity leave and wonder whether i have grounds for an employment tribunal over how i have been sort of forced out...

I was a branch manager for a well known agency, and went on maternity leave, the person who was supposedly "temporary" filling my job was told he would be running the office whilst i was off (and seemingly after !).

I have tried negotiating a 2 day return to work, but been told i must return as a junior receptionist as my managers job is a "full time role" (the two days i also wanted were apparently not convenient to them)

not only can i not survive on a 2 day return to work, but how can it be fair in "modern britain" for me to lose a good job, then be offered a lesser role, to be refused the only hours i can work because of child care issues

Any advice, or has my e mployer acted within the law?

OP posts:
southeastastra · 11/12/2006 19:41

don't know but that sounds terrible!

marymillington · 11/12/2006 19:42

it sounds like your employer has little or no knowledge of the law. check out the ACAS website for very good advice on your rights. also the DfES website.

also worth a search on here - your situation is - shockingly - not uncommon.

good luck

becksmummy · 11/12/2006 19:46

their argument is that a Branch manager is a full time job only and can not be performed as a part timer

I asked to work Thursday and Friday but was refused and told I must work monday and friday (so I can't go back as i have not child care on the Monday)...

they are well known for treating female employees the same, and think its reasonable to offer a lesser lower paid job as an alternative

I did a search on ACAS but just found unclear jargon!


OP posts:
ParanoidSurreyHousewife · 11/12/2006 19:51

Well the rights to flexible working have always been flawed, and so far there isn't any indication that he has acted outside of the law.

The law protects your existing job, so if you were prepared to go back to your original job they have to allow that or at least an equivalent role.

You have the right to ask for flexible working, and there are rules on the procedure to be followed, but there is no guaranteed outcome.

I supsect that you may be best off going back on your original hours (thereby ousting your temporary fill-in) and negotiating from there, which is at least a position of strength - that would give you a chance to say recruit a job-share to work with you? I would guess that it isn't really practical to be sole branch manager on 2 days a week?

I appreciate that it is hardly practical, but from what I've seen if you have to negotiate whilst still on maternity leave then you get a poorer deal (presumably as because you're out of the office they know that you're not indispensible!). Negotiations are either best done before maternity leave (where it is at least a very large hint that you have planned for after the birth and are therefore more likley to return) or after you have come back.

VeniVidiVickiQV · 11/12/2006 19:59

Well, you need clarification from them as to what basis the job MUST be a full time position. Management roles do not necessitate full time roles on that basis alone. If you come up with a plan of how it could be worked (and you need to be a little flexible on your part too, or at least be seen to be). Perhaps that some of the work be done from home? Be flexible on what days you can come in etc. They need to give definitive and acceptable reasons as to why this wouldnt work. If they havent done, well then you have grounds to appeal. If you can find other examples of flexible working within your company or similar work environment - that would help.

The ACAS website is not fantastic. The DTI is better, to be honest.

YOu need to either get advice from an employment law solicitor, or contact the CAB.

Offering you a junior receptionist role is not on in any case. Its a bit of a hint as to how they feel about part time workers/working mothers.

Thinkstoomuch · 11/12/2006 19:59

This is a very similar position to the one I was in. They are in breach of the law on several points by the sound of it. I would suggest calling the Equal Opps Commission. They have knowledgeable and helpful staff on the advice line who will be able to tell you exactly where you stand and guide you on how best to proceed. Tel. 0845 601 5901. Their website is also good:

My case, as I say, was similar and was strong enough that they settled out of court before it got to tribunal.

marymillington · 11/12/2006 20:00

have you formally requested to return part-time and they outlined a clear business case why it can only be performed full time? there are only a limited number of reasons that they can use to reject your request and you do have a right to appeal if you disagree.

try this may be clearer

you will have to dig around a bit for the specific advice that you need but if you are serious about a tribunal you will have to be well-appraised of your rights.

Rookietherednosedreindeer · 12/12/2006 12:40

This was kind of similar to my own position, I think if you were putting in a request for flexible working you would be best to put in for a job share as they can state that a managerial job requires a minimum number of days in the office, in my case I was rejected for 3 days.There is no guarantee that a job share would be accepted but there are very few acceptable grounds for turning it down therefore at least they would have to go down the route of advertising it.
To play devils advocate I would find it hard to believe that a managerial role could be covered in 2 days a week, if you don't think that job share is the way to go would you consider 3 or 4 days as it would be more difficult to justify a refusal to that?

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