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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am currently on maternity leave till 31st May

Customer Question

Hello,
I am currently on maternity leave till 31st May and taking annual holidays till 18th June. n December 2013 I accepted a promotion and advised my employer I was pregnant in January 2014. I could not complete the full take over of my promotion due to training maternity cover two maternity over employees came and left so I trained an internal staff member to cover my role whilst on leave.
I recently requested reduced hours to look after my child from 40 to 24 which was accepted by my employer however they only gave me one element of my role and wanted me to continue working towards the promotion 3 months after. I signed a contract prior to leave that should I not perform to company standards I would revert to my previous role with all benefits based on 40 hours a week. I was not happy with what they had suggested as they wanted my maternity cover to continue with my role I left and I would be doing just one element. They also tried to re-name what she was doing from Finance to Finance Administration? I was continuing with my role and promotion tasks would be delegated to me and I would delegate my tasks down over time (to my maternity cover)
Since I questioned what they had suggested they have written to me and want me to cover 3 elements of my role and as I have taken a year off on maternity leave now feel they have to re-structure and my line manager will continue to be finance team leader my maternity cover continuing with the majority of my daily tasks.so they have taken my promotion from me? and effectively passed more or less my role to my maternity cover. Can they do this? I feel I am being treated unfairly due to being off on leave and previous benefits offered have been taken away. Please can you help and give advise? I have spoken to ACAS but can not seem to get straight answers and if I am being discriminated against.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
According to Reg. 18 of The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, an employee who takes Additional Maternity Leave (i.e. between 6-12 months off) is entitled “to return to the job in which she was employed before her absence, or, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit her to return to that job, to another job which is both suitable for her and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”
This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job you performed before going on maternity leave. If the employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow you to return to that job, they need to find you something that is both suitable and appropriate for you to do instead.
A common issue that arises is whether the reason for not being reasonably practicable to allow the employee to return to her old job is actually justifiable. Case law has suggested that formal reorganisations can amount to a justifiable reason, whereas a simple preference over someone providing maternity cover will not suffice. The employer needs to show that there is a genuine reason which makes it no longer practicable to allow you to return to your old job, this is not just a formality.
In terms of taking the matter further, the options available to challenge this depend on what has happened so far:
• If your employment has not terminated but you are unreasonably being denied the opportunity to return to your old job, that could amount to pregnancy and maternity discrimination and/or unlawful detriment
• If you have been given an alternative job which you find unsuitable, then you could resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal and/or sex discrimination.
Each of the above claims will be made in the employment tribunal and you can seek compensation for loss of earnings and/or injury to feelings.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

*****@******.***

Hi Ben thank you for your response. I have drafted an email to my employer regarding my concerns please would you be good enough to have a brief look form?

Further to your letter received on 28th May 2015 regarding my job role at Diaquip, I have consulted with Maternity Action and been given advise regarding this matter. I initially requested reduced hours only, in order to care for my daughter and felt that the changes you were proposing were to my detriment.

When I attended a meeting with you to discuss my request for reduced hours it appeared that my maternity cover was going to continue my role. This would be considered as less favourable treatment and unlawful by refusing aspects of my role I left whilst on Maternity leave. You stated in your initial letter “Rachel would continue with the daily tasks” however when we discussed the matter by telephone you then advised the aspects of my job that she was doing were not “Finance” they were “Finance Administration”.

With that said you have advised I cannot return to my role following maternity leave, have you ultimately made my job redundant whilst on maternity leave, you should have consulted with me as this is classed as pregnancy/maternity discrimination.

You also stated in your letter that further to my concerns over my job role you felt it necessary to withdraw my promotion that I accepted and signed a contract to in 2014.

Following your letter I feel I have been undermined and responsibilities eroded. You stated you felt it best to reconfigure the structure following my absence after 12 months Maternity leave, In accordance with Regulation 18 of the Maternity leave regulations 1999, Demotion is classed as sex discrimination and unfair treatment. If the above claims were made to an employment tribunal it would amount to discrimination and/or unlawful detriment.

Whilst I appreciate that the circumstances may have changed within the business I feel my request was reasonable and fair and the advise that I have been given suggests that your response to my request is not so. I am not certain how we can go forward with all the above to be considered as I do feel this has affected me personally. As I am due to return on 18th June I do feel that a response its urgently required. I understand that these matters take time, but I did not receive a response for two weeks plus previously. I would appreciate your response at your earliest convenience.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
I need further clarification over the content.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, here is a slightly amended version:
Further to your letter received on 28th May 2015 regarding my job role at Diaquip, I have consulted with Maternity Action and been given advice regarding this matter. I initially requested reduced hours only, in order to care for my daughter and felt that the changes you were proposing were to my detriment.
When I attended a meeting with you to discuss my request for reduced hours it appeared that my maternity cover was going to continue in my role. This would be considered as less favourable treatment and unlawful by refusing aspects of my role I left whilst on Maternity leave. You stated in your initial letter “Rachel would continue with the daily tasks” however when we discussed the matter by telephone you then advised the aspects of my job that she was doing were not “Finance” they were “Finance Administration”.
You eventually informed me that I cannot return to my role following maternity leave, and with no justifiable reason that could amount to pregnancy/maternity discrimination.
You also stated in your letter that further to my concerns over my job role you felt it necessary to withdraw my promotion that I accepted and signed a contract to in 2014.
Following your letter I feel I have been undermined and my responsibilities eroded. You stated you felt it best to reconfigure the structure following my absence after 12 months Maternity leave. Under Regulation 18 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999, demotion is equivalent to less favourable treatment and therefore sex discrimination, which can be pursued at an employment tribunal.
Whilst I appreciate that the circumstances may have changed within the business I feel my request was reasonable and fair and the advice that I have been given suggests that your response to my request is not so. As I am due to return on 18th June I do feel that a response is urgently required. I would therefore appreciate a response to my concerns and a solution on moving forward at your earliest convenience.

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