Maternity leave, discrimination

(13 Posts)
fiskinma Tue 27-Aug-13 21:29:08

I am on maternity leave (my son is 6 months old) I emailed requesting holidays & Xmas off, I got an email back saying "priority is given to those who have worked all year". I replied pointing pout that this is discrimination. I got an email from General manager telling me my job became nil and void when i went on maternity leave and i was to stop rocking the boat! Anyway, obviously i am furious but my friend (female, who also happens to be HR Manager) told me to resign...Help?! Should i fight or leave?

I know what the law says but when I came back to work after 7 months off I was aware that everyone else had booked their holidays so I would have what I could get. I wouldn't have resigned over it, but it's a crap attitude for the GM to take. I'd go back and be nice, whilst looking for a new job.

K8Middleton Tue 27-Aug-13 21:46:10

God don't resign you would undermine your position which has been augmented by their very stupid email.

Either keep your job and consider raising a grievance for maternity discrimination with a view to possibly making a claim for maternity discrimination at a tribunal but seek legal advice pre tribunal claim. Or if you want to leave take the email as your dismissal, speak to a lawyer first then confirm you have received their dismissal in writing and then take action from there depending on your lawyer's advice.

Do you want to go back?

K8Middleton Tue 27-Aug-13 21:47:24

Obviously save the email and bcc yourself into all replies.

jkklpu Tue 27-Aug-13 21:51:52

This sounds horrible, very stressful for you. Yes, sounds discriminating against you for being out of the workplace and you need to take advice - are you in a union? Tbh, I'd be more concerned about the "null and void" statement than the holidays.

At the same time, it's true that there has to be some give and take by everyone when allocating leave and not everyone can always be off on all public holidays. So can you think back to how it was when you were at work, eg at what point in the year did people apply for the big ones like Christmas? Who had Christmas/New Year off last year and the one before? Aside from the way your employer is communicating with you, you need to have a clear idea of what the real issue is. Best of luck.

Boosiehs Tue 27-Aug-13 21:52:38

Take legal advice. It's clearly discrimination as far as I can see but I'm not an employment expert.

K8Middleton Tue 27-Aug-13 21:58:35

Yes it was the "null and void" bit that I reacted to. Totally stupid because it could be construed as a dismissal.

TheFallenNinja Wed 28-Aug-13 03:48:28

I don't think your female HR manager mate is much good and giving bad advice.

The email replies you have seem pretty poor, is this a small company?

On balance though, Christmas holidays are always a huge bone of contention, and I wouldn't be terribly happy if I couldn't have Christmas off in favour of somebody who had been off for a length of time during the year.

It's a toughie but the nil and void statement would certainly be where my attention would be, not that I had had a holiday request declined.

fiskinma Wed 28-Aug-13 11:30:22

Thanks for your advice.
I did want to go back. For me it wasn't really about Xmas leave but the reaction of the GM and his Nil and Void statement. I was in a senior management position before maternity leave and did not always agree with this new GM. In my reply regarding Xmas i also pointed out the procedure i had set in place which was fair. Requests accepted, and factors such as children/who had the previous years off taken into consideration. (I have not had any festive period off in years since working for them)
It is a small company. I spoke to CAB and have been advised to put my complaint in a letter and await their reply, otherwise i am within my rights to go to employment tribunal. Thanks again all that replied.

K8Middleton Wed 28-Aug-13 15:29:02

You need to exhaust the internal grievance procedures before you even start thinking about tribunal. I would suggest you speak to an employment lawyer before you even consider making a claim and clearly think through the implications and consequences of making such a claim and what you want to achieve. It is not easy.

Arianasmummy Wed 28-Aug-13 16:03:08

Hi,

Sorry you are in this position. I am currently part way through a grievance due to discrimination due to pregnancy and maternity. And Boy is it stressfull - i am currently off work with stress.

I would suggest that you carefully decide what it is that you want as a result of raising the grievance. Do you want your old role back? etc etc

Be aware as well, that as far as Tribunals are concerned, you only have 3 months less 1 day from when the 'incident' occurred to register your case with the Employment Tribunal. This is from when the incident happened, not from when you became aware of it. If i had waited for my employer to exhaust the internal procedures i would well and truly have missed the deadline. However, it is because i lodged my compaint with the Tribunal that i have now been sent to coventry so to speak by my employer.

Good luck,
M

TheVicki Wed 28-Aug-13 16:26:19

This is a tricky one - clearly your GM has got a real attitude problem, and his e-mail to you will likely get him a disciplinary himself.

That said, on balance, it is probably fair that employees that have not been on maternity leave should have the first opportunity to choose their holiday first, especially if they have not been able to take holiday due to covering some of your responsibilities whilst you were on maternity leave.

Its not clear cut for sure, but your GM needs pulling up on his 'staff management' approach!

sisterofmercy Thu 29-Aug-13 15:28:57

Speak to Acas if you can't afford an employment lawyer.

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