I don’t expect special treatment because I’ve had a baby, but I have a right to expect to be treated fairly

I worked as second in command in the finance department for a medium sized business. They were incredibly supportive when I was pregnant and I continued to go above and beyond up until 39 weeks, often working 14 hour days. I started doing 4 hours a week keep in touch when my baby was 6 weeks old as we were going through a merger. The finance team was moving location, so were all offered enhanced redundancy (6 months pay) to stay and do a handover. I was told I could apply for a divisional finance director role, and wouldn’t have any competition as my opposite number in the other business was moving into another division. Nothing more was said, I kept working casual hours, providing support, then found out months later that my opposite number in the other location had been given the job that was discussed with me, and I was being given a more junior role, with no consultation and no discussion, and no opportunity to apply against him. Because I was on maternity I was effectively pushed aside, and then offered a statutory redundancy package when I complained. I had to do a lot of fighting to get the package that was rightfully mine – had I not been on maternity I would have had the opportunity to apply for the job or take the enhanced redundancy as they would have needed my continued support. In the end I had to threaten a tribunal. It ruined the precious last few months of maternity leave with my baby, and really threatened my mental health after experiencing post natal depression after my baby was born. I was told things like “we can decide who we appoint” and that I hadn’t planned for my maternity leave properly, when in reality the cover I trained up had left soon after starting when they realised how tough the job was, so I started providing the extra hours to support the business. It still makes me angry now – it is often men who do this, but how would they feel if their wives had been in that position? I don’t expect special treatment because I’ve had a baby, but I have a right to expect to be treated fairly

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