I am on my third pregnancy and have experience discrimination and a fight for my rights each and every time.
The first time I was pregnant I was a Manager with a successful career in the civil service. After I announced my pregnancy I was treated differently. My manager (female, who didn’t believe in having children) who was in a temporary position started treating me terribly and saying that my performance was falling. No evidence to support this and I made sure that my pregnancy did not affect my work, and if anything worked even harder to prove a point. The temporary senior manager position which I was told by my director pre-pregnancy was mine when it went permanent kept being off until I went on maternity leave. I only found out about it as a colleague rang me to say it was on the intranet (all my access was removed after I went on leave) I rang HR and demanded to be sent the info and applied. They had to interview me but unsurprisingly at 39 weeks pregnant they claimed I wasn’t ready for the role, even though I had been told several times and had it written in my reviews that I was ready.
When I returned from maternity they had completed a re-structure and although my role was the same they had removed nearly half of my management responsibilities. I had to fight to get agreement to work condensed hours, even though many people in the company already did that. I was told that I should choose between having a career and being a mother!!
6 months after returning, I fell pregnant again. The day after I announced it to my manager the bullying began. I endured months of humiliation and was overlooked for promotion again.
After 8 months I returned to work. The first day back I was told to report to HR who informed me that a complete restructure had taken place in my absence and my role no longer existed. I was told to wait while they “sorted something out”
I was given a role with no job title/description for a department I had no experience in. I tried to fight them and started proceedings for a tribunal. Unfortunately the law has changed and I would have to pay to take them and I could not afford to do that.
I left and I got a new job elsewhere.
This is another large firm but in the public sector. I recently got a promotion into another department. I asked to keep my condensed hours and was told that this was not possible as no one else on the team did that (it’s a company policy available to all) and that childcare and work/life balance were not good enough reasons.
I have not mentioned to the new team that I am 20 weeks pregnant and will only tell them when I legally have to at 25 weeks. I know for a fact I would not have been given the promotion if they knew I was already pregnant. It’s sad because I know it will cause bad feeling, but I should not be made to choose between having a career and being a parent. Yes I have chosen to have 3 children, but that is my right. It makes me no less hard working or capable of doing my job. A little bit of flexibility goes a long way in making this work. It is the 21st century.