Q And A
Promotion role changed on maternity leave: ask the expert
Before I went on maternity leave my employers advertised some promotion opportunities internally. It took them about 8 weeks to arrange interview dates and I went for the interview 2 weeks before my due date, but did manage to pass the interview. I was not appointed to the role until after I came back from maternity leave and then was given an equivalent role, rather than one of the roles I had applied for. I had thought that legally they should have appointed me to one of the roles I had applied for and then arranged maternity cover for that role. Is the law clear on this point?
Answer by Vanessa Wheeler
If but for your maternity leave you would have been appointed into the role then potentially your employer has discriminated unlawfully by treating you less favourably because of your maternity leave. If the discrimination had not occurred, arguably you would have been appointed into the new job and then at the end of your maternity leave you would have had the right to return to this job i.e. your new role.
If you want to pursue this get advice now as strict time limits apply to employment tribunal cases. Ordinarily claims must be brought within three months less a day of the discrimination. There are exceptions, but you should get advice promptly And get pragmatic advice on the pros and cons of taking this further.
Vanessa Wheeler is a solicitor at Setfords Solicitors. Please contact her for legal advice on business and commercial law, including franchise and contractual matters. She can also assist with employment matters.