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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I'm returning from maternity leave in two weeks and my new

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Hi, I'm returning from maternity leave in two weeks and my new manager is saying that I won't get my two direct reports as it used to be. I'm a sales manager and had two team members working under me before I left on maternity leave. I've been away for 12 months and many changes happened on the department while I was away. My new manager still says I won't get my team back until Jan 2018. Is it legally correct?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

What reason has your manager provided for this change?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
She calls it transition and believes I need time to familiarize myself with the way she works...

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Sorry, please can you also tell me how long you have worked for this employer for?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
This is what she says in her email:Yes, you will have direct reports along with a territory, who this will be and what it will look like will be agreed over the integration period but will be aligned and agreed by Dec 2017, to be official for Jan 2018. (I'm coming back from maternity leave on the 29th Aug).She also says:
By transitioning over a period of time, you will get the opportunity to understand how the team now works, the expectations required from each team member, team managers and the accountabilities that need to be agreed before any line management duties are undertaken.To answer your question: I've been with the company since April 2011.

OK thank you for your response. Leave it with me and I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Ben,Is there any chance I can get a response today? No rush if not possible, I was just assuming that for the price I paid I'll get a response quickly. If it takes longer, please do let me know. Thank you!

Many thanks for your patience. 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 and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances.”

This means that there is no guarantee of a return to the job the employee performed before going on maternity leave. If the employer can show that it is not reasonably practicable to allow a return to that job, they need to find something that is both suitable and appropriate for the employee to do instead.

A common issue that arises is whether the reason for not being reasonably practicable to allow the employee to returnto her old job is relevant and justifiable. Sadly there is very little case law that covers that and there are only a handful of lower tribunal decisions that have examined this. For example, formal reorganisations of the business can amount to a justifiable reason, whereas a simple preference over someone providing maternity cover will not suffice.

So you can try and challenge the employer over this move by requesting them to justify exactly why it is no long reasonably practicable for them to allow you back to your previous job. You also have the grievance procedure available to you in the event you want to make a formal complaint.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the options open to you to challenge this after the grievance.There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. In terms of taking the matter further, what options are available would depend on what has happened so far:

· If the employment is unreasonably denying the opportunity to return to the old job, that could amount to pregnancy and maternity discrimination

· If an alternative job has been offered, which is unsuitable, the employee can resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal and/or sex discrimination

· In any event a claim for discrimination can be made without having to leave the employment

Each of the above claims will be made in the employment tribunal and the remedy would be compensation for loss of earnings and/or injury to feelings. I would suggest a formal internal grievance to start with before any legal action is considered