I worked long hours helping to build a struggling charity with whom I started as a volunteer some six years or more ago. Myself and a few other staff members were regularly there still at 9pm trying to generate funds and after more than two years of this type of pattern I was delighted to discover I was pregnant.
I advised my manager I was pregnant and she was less than delighted, she made comments to the office generally about not employing someone who might want a baby in future (then laughed as if it were a joke) and generally making it clear that my timing was inconvenient to say the least.
After a blissful 12 months maternity leave I had applied for flexible working and was advised I could not have the hours and days I requested (little valid reason for refusal) and I discovered on my return that there had been a restructure and my two colleagues who were in the same roles as me prior to my leaving had been promoted. My job involved all the increased responsibility that theirs did but when I officially appealed I was advised I was undertaking the extra duties for my ‘own personal progression’ and whilst it was commendable then it didn’t warrant a promotion or a pay rise as the other two colleagues had.
Fast forward three years and we were again delighted to find we were expecting our second child together. I had all but given up trying for equality in the workplace and was not surprised when my manager took me aside and told me that if I wanted to request flexible working arrangements when I returned after this maternity leave that I should do it informally with her as she felt my official request first time round made me ‘awkward and difficult’. We had several unofficial meetings and agreed several things but when I had the official meeting which she said was a mere formality then they refused my request and upheld their decision when i appealed. I returned to yet another restructure whereby I was in a new role, had lost all managerial responsibility and was starting from scratch.
I’m currently off work under doctors orders as it all reached a head and I had had enough of the backhanded bigotry.
To say I feel unfairly treated would be a huge understatement and I’ve certainly been held back in my career by the actions of my workplace. The law needs to change and support women returning to work more actively and efficiently.