Working mums deserve a career as well as a family life.

I had initially experienced a fairly understanding working relationship with my employer being able to work flexy time. I expressed interest to work my way up the hierarchy to which my boss explained that there wasn’t one. A male colleague, who kept undermining me in front of everyone, had stated that in his opinion senior jobs should go to men rather than women with kids. I should have acknowledged alarm bells then.

As my employer basically told me that there wouldn’t be any chances of career progression I decided to try for a second baby and they seemed happy for me when I announced my pregnancy. So I left for maternity leave with the intention of returning to my old job on a part-time basis. Four months into leave I heard rumours from my work friends that this male colleague who had made that sexist comment mentioned above had started taking over the office and had asked for a promotion. When I asked my boss about future plans for my role they completely dismissed me. I had again expressed interest to further my career within the company and asked if there were any opportunities for a promotion. My employer had denied any promotion opportunities. A month later an email was sent to all the employees that the male colleague got promoted to director and was given some of my responsibilities. He would have been my superior upon my return. I was absolutely furious that this male colleague took complete advantage of my absence in my vulnerability. Not only was I denied a promotion with a prospect of having to accept a lesser role, I would have had to report to someone in my department which wasn’t the case before pregnancy.

Maternity discrimination ruined my maternity leave as I felt so low I didn’t leave the house for two months. Having to read up on legal terms and writing my own letters of prejudice all day and night for two months, I couldn’t sleep or enjoy my beautiful baby. After obtaining legal aid from my solicitor and going through a very humiliating grievance process I managed to walk away with an NDA and never looked back. Overall I’ll never get the four months of hell back. I know some people go through years of lengthy court battles but this like the other 53,999 cases this year alone shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

It’s disgusting how vulnerable pregnant women and new mothers are treated in the workplace. Laws are made to protect us from discrimination but not everyone is able to do anything about it, emotionally or financially and employers just get away with it.

In hindsight I am glad I stood up for myself and stopped them partially to get away with it. It’s important to do what’s right in your circumstances and what’s right for your family. Luckily I didn’t need to pay for legal aid as my solicitor didn’t get involved until the final stages (employers have to provide legal aid for you when signing an NDA) and it didn’t turn into a messy legal battle. It’s a situation I wouldn’t wish upon anyone but it will make you stronger because you will overcome this and you will move on to a better job. Working mums deserve a career as well as a family life. There are plenty of understanding employers out there who appreciate your talent and I’m glad I found one after my maternity discrimination experience.


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