Selected for redundancy for being a single parent

I’ve been with my soon to be ex employer for 14 years. My issues started when I returned to work after having my first child where there was a dispute with regards to my salary – I had secured a new role towards the end of my mat leave. Three months after returning, they said that it was a mistake and had not been pro rated (10% less hours) and withheld part of my salary and refused to engage or negotiate with me to try and resolve the matter.

I raised a grievance, which was upheld, however this took around 5 months in total to resolve and was an extremely stressful time, given I’d just returned to work and was actually pregnant again. On returning after my second baby, I used my accrued annual leave to give me a Friday off. When that was ending I asked if I could compress 3.5 hours in to 4 days to continue to give me a Friday off as this had been working well for me. I had been working 4 days for the year since my second mat leave but was given all kinds of excuses why it wouldn’t be possible, one of which was that they did not recognise compressed hours, despite the fact this was in the flexible working policy and someone within the department was already doing that.

This took a couple of months to resolve and I was eventually told that I could do this on a trial basis. During this time I also became a single parent, however I did not mention this to anyone at work. At the start of lockdown I confided in my line manager that I would have very little support with two small children at home and they assured me they understood. I was furloughed for 3 weeks then asked to come back to manage some business critical projects which I did and as things returned more to normal managed and delivered everything asked of me and was signed off on my half year review as fully meeting all expectations. The business then announced redundancies and I was in a pool.

I was advised pre-Christmas I had been provisionally selected for redundancy based on a desktop assessment for which I received the lowest scores of my entire 14 year career and lower than my half-year review (which was signed off at the end of September). I was served my notice in January. I had 5 weeks off due to stress and when I returned to work was asked if I needed any support due to “childcare issues”. Which was confusing as I had not given any indication that that was why I was off work and in fact it wasn’t anything to do with having the children at home, and actually my P1 and nursery age child were due to go back imminently.

I feel like since having my children I have been treated unfairly by a business which claims to support it’s employees and I am convinced my low scoring and therefore selection for redundancy were driven by the fact I am a single parent. I had a 10 year career where pre-children I was successfully promoted twice (moving up two levels each time) and praised for being a good operator, having a strong performance track record etc and in the last 4 years, despite successfully delivering all my projects I’m suddenly not meeting expectations. There was no capability or development plan and no concerns had ever been raised with me. I raised an appeal, where they didn’t even speak to me and it’s now with ACAS. It’s taking a huge toll on my mental health but I feel I have to try and fight for what’s right.


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