I spoke to my Union about the way they treated me whilst pregnant, but nothing was written down so it was impossible to prove

I was a teaching assistant at my school for almost 3 years before I got pregnant and started to get treated differently. As my school had a high turn over rate of teachers, the management team relied a lot on the help of the teaching assistants to take classes, so although I wasn’t paid to do so, I would always have a class to myself, or would have to stand in for the teachers PPA. As a result of this, my employers loved me, even offering to pay to “top up” my degree so I could become a qualified teacher (I had already completed my degree independently but did not want to do the extra years to become a teacher). I kindly declined this offer as I knew that I wanted to focus on my life and having children, which is of course my choice, but continued to take classes and work extra as needed – without pay! When I eventually did get pregnant, everything changed! I suddenly became not only a social outcast, but also a person who was considered “useless” at my job. People who I considered friends no longer wanted to be associated with me because they were aware of how badly management feel about workers who get pregnant, and feared that it would affect their own careers at this workplace. I was no longer asked to take classes, I was moved from class to class as a teaching assistant and never had any consistency to my daily job, when doing interventions I had my room taken away from me and was expected to sit on the floor to teach the children, I suddenly received negative feedback from observations and was no longer invited to team meetings as “there was no point of having me attend”. I even over heard a conversation between two staff members who where arguing in the corridor about which one of them would take me in their class today as “I was pregnant and couldn’t do anything anyway”. In the end, I took early maternity leave as I couldn’t deal with the stress and nastiness of it anymore. I was not wished good luck, I received no cards, no presents and no announcement to even bother telling the school children that I was leaving. Once on maternity leave, the few members of staff that continued to be nice to me got in contact to tell me that management had basically told everyone in a meeting that they doubt I would be returning from maternity leave as “none of these new mum’s do” and as a result, told the staff to no longer discuss anything to do with work with me, even though I am still an employee. A colleague of mine even told me that people had wanted to do a collection for me but were told no by the headteacher as she was sick of buying presents for pregnant people who do not return after maternity leave. I spoke to my union regarding all these issues but as you can imagine it is all hard to prove. Without written proof of anything management said, I am unable to prove the things that were said to me, and the difference in the way got treated since pregnancy. Needless to say, I will not be returning after my maternity leave!

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