After announcing I was pregnant in 2012, one month later my colleague who had a similar position to mine and would have been my runner up (as I was told by my then line manager) got promoted and became my line manager, although it felt like a demotion, I was promised that this was not a demotion, but simply adding a new line of authority to the hierarchy. During the time I was pregnant, I had a few “jokes” thrown at me by senior staff, one of which was “Don’t believe anything she says…she’s hormonal”
When I came back from maternity leave after 4.5 months, that’s when my real struggle began. One could almost say it was a form of bullying, by more than one member of the team. I was given a degree of flexibility in the sense that I could work from home for 2 days, but a lot of talk happened behind my back on those days as I was not there to defend myself, my every move was being monitored, and any slight slip, such a spelling mistake or typo when naming an internal folder was highlighted and all the senior managers were copied in to all the emails. Other staff members were rude, my line of report was taken away from me and she now reported to my line manager, my line manager made me send her an email every Monday with a list of everything that I had worked on that week and how I was spending my time. I was given the worst end of year review in the four years that I had been at the company, which resulted in a reduced bonus although I had actually met all my KPI’s.
I got pregnant shortly after I returned from Mat leave with my second child, which caused me a lot of distress as I feared losing my job due to the treatment I had the first round. A month after I announced my pregnancy, My role was given to my former report (who was the person trying to get my job and sending emails to higher levels of management to make me look bad at work) I spent so much of my time dealing with these issues that it took away the time that should have been spent dealing with actual business issues and making the company successful. Instead I compromised my own time with my child to work longer hours to get my work done and try and prove myself. My role was handed to my previous report before I was even informed about it. Within 2 weeks of informing them that I was pregnant, she received a great appraisal and was promoted to my role, whilst I had a bad appraisal and was not informed that my role would be taken away. I decided to take some action and eventually went to HR; I also called a few companies who dealt with discrimination, who said there may be a case but my employer could find a loophole. When I approached my manager, I was told that this seemed the most viable option as I was only under performing in some aspects of my role rather than all. I received a verbal apology for the way it was handled but the final decision was made, and I was promised I would remain on the same salary and that my new responsibilities would be discussed in the future. I never felt bullied or under stress as much as I did in the time that I told them I was pregnant and after maternity leave. The saddest part was that the two colleagues who were the root of the problems were both women and both played the biggest role in my downfall. I obviously feared losing my job and didn’t have the means to pay for a court case and pursue the issue, in addition to looking like a trouble maker.