My partner is due to go on maternity leave in May. Since she informed her company she was pregnant they have been excellent in the way they have treated her and made allowances due to illness etc, but around 4-6 weeks ago a manager from a different region left unexpectedly and this has now left my partner’s line manager travelling to this region each week to help cover. Today she had a meeting with her manager who has informed her that the role being advertised for her cover is a ‘facilities manager’ – my wife is a facilities coordinator. As you can imagine this has left her feeling a bit uneasy as she feels she has been overlooked for this role due to being pregnant and is now worried that when she returns she will effectively be working under the person who was initially there as her cover.
From the information you have given I would not suggest your partner has been discriminated against – the company obviously have a role they require discharging, one that can’t be discharged by your partner whilst she is on maternity leave. However, it is poor practice that the company have not given your partner the opportunity to apply for the new role.
Your partner has the right to return to the same job and the same conditions she did before she took any leave if she takes Ordinary Maternity Leave of 26 weeks or less. If she takes longer than that (classed at Additional Maternity Leave), then she has the right to return to the same job. However, if her employer can prove is it not reasonably practicable for her to return to the same job then they have more flexibility but must still offer her an appropriate and suitable alternative on terms and conditions that are no less favourable than her previous job.