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returned to work after maternity discrimination?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by elvin163, Oct 23, 2016.


What should I do?

Poll closed Nov 6, 2016.
  1. Seek union advice

    16 vote(s)
  2. Speak to the head

    6 vote(s)
  3. Leave and find another job

    1 vote(s)
  1. elvin163

    elvin163 New commenter

    I don't know if you can help me. I am head of department with14 years of experience.

    I have just returned off maternity leave to find that my line manager has taken my classroom off me & I am now teaching in 5 different rooms. All my resources have been thrown away and my digital resources deleted off the shared area.

    When I spoke to my line manager she said didn't know anything about my resources going but said I wouldn't be getting my room back. I have not yet spoken to the head. I feel sick and I am already dreading going back to work after 1/2 term.

    My main issue is teaching a practical subject in 5 different rooms is totally unreasonable. The head and my line manager are friends so I don't think that I will get any where. I always get graded as outstanding and my results are the best n the school so I am totally flabbergasted as to why they would do this? I am not sure what to do. Do I go to my union? I want to go and hand my notice in but need job security with two small children.
  2. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Pregnancy / maternity is a protected characteristic under EqA2010. A woman may not be subjected to less-favourable or unfavourable treatment 'because of' her pregnancy or because she is on maternity leave. The entitlement is to return to the same terms and conditions you enjoyed before you left. If any of those have changed for essential business reasons, the school had better have a very good explanation why the decision to impose these conditions on you, specifically and not someone else is not a discriminatory one.

    You need to involve your union and to be asking questions:
    - when was the decision taken to rotate me around five different rooms?
    - what was the rationale for the decision?
    - what alternatives were considered and when?
    - who took the decision?
    - which other members of staff were considered to have to become peripetetic?
    - when were my resources deleted?
    - who else's resources were deleted?
    - whose decision was it to delete my resources?

    I would be asking for evidence of the above too.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    I am so sorry that you are going through this.But you will need to be strong..

    1 Speak to your Union
    2 Were you given a timetable or sent one when they were designed?
    3 Does any other teacher in your Dept have so many rooms to teach in?
    4 Do the classes have different rooms to go to as well - or is it the same room for each class?
    5 Get copies of Equality Policy, Discrimination Policy and Grievance Policy
    6 This is awful and is bullish - they clearly think that you will just accept the situation and your HOD is being anything but supportive
    7 It will clearly have a massive negative impact on the progress of your classes and on you as a teacher and as someone returning from maternity
    8 Returning from maternity is hard enough but to find that your work place and resources have effectively gone is means that this may be serious discrimination and possibly ongoing
    9Whatever the reasons given you should consult your Union urgently - and let others know how you are being treated
    10 If asked to have any meetings to discuss this with HOD and or Headteacher make sure someone is with you as a witness ie Union Rep
    11 See a doctor if this situation makes you sick (check with Union your rights on sick pay just in case)
    elvin163, Dragonlady30 and cazzmusic1 like this.
  4. s10327

    s10327 Occasional commenter

    Just noticed "Head of department" - first time I read I missed that sentence. Union and GLsGhost's advice - no messing. There'll doubtless be people on later telling you to resign - union first!

    I imagine you do feel terribly stressed, as returning after maternity leave is stressful anyway. If you are able to compartmentalise work and home for the next few weeks and just coldly do your job and follow union advice and leave it behind when you get home, you may be able to grit your teeth and get the idiots you work with sorted.
    What a short-sighted, callous, infantile and idiotic way to treat a returning HoD.
    I hope your baby is well and you have a supportive partner. All this will pass - the bits at home with them are the important memories to make right now.
    bevdex, palmtree100 and install like this.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes - just noticed you are a returning HOD too @elvin163. This is certainly Union and Grievance - Your LM is being out of order. Are there experienced people in your team? Did no one say anything or were they potentially coerced?

    As HOD you should have say so about the roomings- as you will know best. You can certainly change it back - otherwise why have they got a HOD? Explain to your team it has been done wrongly in your absence . You will no doubt need to right along of wrongs..

    Do you have a trustworthy 2ic who can support you or not? Get your team onside if you csn..
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    were your resources in a shared area or your own area?
  7. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    Are you returning on the same hours?

    I returned part time, and teach a practical subject in 4 different classrooms. My classroom was given to someone who works more hours, which is fair enough.

    Who is now in your classroom? Would changing back now mean an upheaval for their classes?

    Could you just go with the flow for now and ask for your classroom back in September? if they refuse, this gives you plenty of time to look for a job elsewhere...
    midnight_angel and palmtree100 like this.
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I agree you seem to have been very hard done by but maternity leaves can often be a period of great upheaval and stress for the others teachers in a department.

    We have found it very hard to recruit staff in recent years and have had to work really hard to keep the department going. Finally we found another teacher and for the first time in about two years we were fully staffed.

    But now we have found out that the teacher who joined us was actually pregnant before she started with us in September so will be back in the same boat in a few months time.
    DYNAMO67 and palmtree100 like this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    But that is not this situation - and Employment Law is in place for a reason.

    Any recruitment crisis is not the fault of teachers..
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I am sorry you are stressed, and have lost your resources, but teaching a practical subject in 5 different classrooms seems completely normal to me? Is this the case for others in your department? Often the HOD has a pretty privileged position on the time table, but this is not particularly fair, not is there any reason it would be upheld if they are not there to uphold it themselves.

    If you have lost personal possessions, charge the school for their replacement, if you have lost the schools material, in other words, resources you made whilst employed by the school, they are entitled to do anything they want with them.... enraging I know, but have seen other people go through this, and have been through this myself, so I know!

    If files have been deleted from the intranet, then these are probably retrievable, ask the ICT help desk. If they were in the shared area, they are always open to deletion and editing by other staff, did you back up your originals anywhere?

    Yes, speak to your union, and see if they can help, but to be honest, there is nothing here that isn't par for the course, in my experience, and you may in the end just have to take it in your stride.

    Don't get stressed, or take it personally, these things happen all the time, in any new timetable there are winners and losers
    midnight_angel likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    I have never known this happen in all my experience - and only in one rare year during a rebuild. It seems completely weird to me..
    Laphroig likes this.
  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    really? That's strange! Where do you work? I would call it completely normal! I've only known one school where people had one allocated room for all their lessons. Everywhere else I've ever been ( around 20 schools in total) there have been more teachers than rooms, so there is always swapping and sharing, plus there is more practical lessons than timetable slots in practical rooms, leading to everyone teaching some practical lessons in normal classrooms, so overall, being timetabled in three rooms would be a very unusually good year, 4 /5/6 being normal, and more than that not being particularly remarkable, although annoying, especially if they are all on different floors in different buildings.

    Current school, most teachers 4/5 rooms, in 2 buildings, about 20% of lessons in normal classrooms, (practical subject)although they have a room they are responsible for, normally tutor base, and teach some lessons in.

    One teacher has 10 rooms, she doesn't like it much

    I've spent years spread out over three buildings, 7 minutes apart
  13. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    It must depend on the school. One third of our department do not get their own classroom, so teach in whichever room is available. This means upto 9 different classrooms.

    Very similar in other local schools - more pupils due to houses being built, but no budget for a new building yet...!

    You get used to it.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  14. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    but it is often the case that the HODs, who write the timetable, get a very easy ride, in this respect!
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    I don't agree that HODs get an 'easy ride' in this respect. And HODs do not always write the timetable -it is usually a Senior Manager? When it comes to teaching I don't think there is an 'easy ride'...?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
    elvin163 likes this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Oh - sounds like you have major issues if teachers are teaching in 9 different rooms. It is not normal in my experience ...
    elvin163 and sabrinakat like this.
  17. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Ok, but your experience is different to mine then, in my experience they often do get preferential treatment in many respects, including cherry picking the classes, getting the best timetabled rooms, and getting preferential treatment in all manner of respects. i remember waiting over a year to get a smart board repaired in the room I taught most often in, for example, whereas the HOD ( who was also DH) INSISTED that when hers broke it was repaired immediately, before her next lesson ( she didn't have many), the premises staff had to leave everyone else in the queue and run to fix hers ( and yes, she only taught in one room, and it was the best room,)

    Thats one pretty extreme example that sticks in my mind, but in general, I would say yes, HODs have got the best timetables, in my experience
  18. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Where do you teach Install? It sounds lovely! ( and unusual)
  19. Fizzbobble

    Fizzbobble Occasional commenter

    Moving rooms is totally normal....my record is 12......I have no idea who I upset or why to end up with that combo and some of them weren't science labs, which makes experiments quite difficult.....
    midnight_angel likes this.
  20. WJClarkson

    WJClarkson Occasional commenter

    Same here. We all have our own rooms unless you're a job share so you share with them.
    install likes this.

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