When I said I would be taking a year off my manager said: ‘I assume you won’t be returning then’

I joined a company back in 2014 for a package of training and incentives to take my career to the next level. Approaching 30 my husband and I had put children on hold for me to take this next step – the promises never materialised and after a year we decided to start a family. Thinking it may take a while, a bit shocked when I fell pregnant rather quickly.

I worried myself sick about telling my boss who already had made his feeling clear about the recent pregnancies of other staff and how inconvenient they were. I decided to tell work after an early scan (thinking it might help to protect me at work).

They appreciated the early notice, but I said I would prefer to wait until my 12 week scan to make it public knowledge. They probably didn’t even wait an hour to share my news round the management team – one manger being told she ‘ better not be next and to wait 6 months’

I was asked immediately how much time I intended to take off and when I said most likely a year I was met with ‘I assume you won’t be returning then’

Quickly I was called into a meeting so they could ask what my intentions were and would I be looking to return to a more junior role. It was also made clear my job role was a full time job role and that’s all they wanted. I found the pressure too much and just said it was before my 12 week scan and too early.

I was then met with warnings of ‘targets need to be hit so I would get my maternity pay’ or ‘I hope I work hard so there is a business to pay my SMP’. I didn’t even bother to respond with the fact my SMP is my money as they didn’t offer company pay.

I had no risk assessment even after a fall at work and I refused to make anything an issue.

I was asked if i could afford so many antenatal appointments off unpaid. I had to have a meeting so I could show them the government website about paid leave. In the end I just made appointments in my own time if I could.

If anything needed doing to improve the working conditions, staff were told if I doubled my target we could have air con, no leaks, fix the water machine etc

Shortly before I left they applied more pressure saying they had certain information for disciplinary but wouldn’t take it further- I believe just to make sure I really felt alienated.

I am currently starting my maternity leave so I’m sure they will find a reason to make sure I don’t return.