3 months into my maternity leave I received a phone call from my line manager to be told that my post was at risk of redundancy. I was totally shocked – my job role was definitely needed and I was very good at it, overachieving on my financial target significantly each year that I had been in post. No one else in the organisation was being made redundant. What transpired over the next few weeks was that they didn’t want to lose me and they wanted to redploy me into another role they had recently created which was basically my exact role but on a much lower pay and with less authority – however the exact same tasks. Over the next few weeks they continuously made things difficult for me, they refused to send me paperwork, they gave me riduculously unrealistic deadlines to apply for other redeployment options that were more suitable to my career progression, they refused to let me take keeping in touch days for my consultation meetings despite paying the colleague I had taken for support for her time, they also continuously failed to inform me of my protected status as someone on maternity leave and the rights that came with that, I had to find everything out myself from Maternity Action and ACAS and constantly challenge what my employer was telling me.
As a further kick in the teeth when I appealed the redundancy they assigned the manager who had initiated my redundancy to hear my appeal.
Luckily, I found out by chance that the basic legal cover on my home insurance covered me for employment tribunals so I instantly contacted them and within a few days I was assigned a high level solicitor from a top law firm who acted on my behalf. She did a means assessment and clearly saw that I had been the victim of sexual discrimination and put together a case – If I hadn’t of known about this service I would have crumbled, I found that there was a lot of information and best practice but not many specific employment laws around how women on maternity leave should be treated.
It came out that my employer hadn’t even looked at my job description prior to making me redundant – which in my opinion very clearly shows that it was about me as a person and my choices rather than the job role