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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. install

    install Star commenter

    I have taught all over - and it is not unusual and very common. To be fair the schools have strong Union membership and teachers who would not put up with moving rooms sooooo many times.Makes planning, progress and teaching even more difficult than it already is - don't you think?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
    elvin163 likes this.
  2. install

    install Star commenter

    No - it isn't normal at all and not good for planning, progress and teaching.

    12 rooms Wow ! I wonder what the highest is? So at what number do you make a fuss at? Or don't you?
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Yes, along with a thousand other things that make planning, progress and teaching harder than it need be
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  4. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Not all HODs have an easy ride - my current one for example gave up his room so another teacher could use it.

    I have also known one who manipulated the timetable so he would teach all the nice groups.
  5. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Practical subjects in up to 5 rooms has been normal in my experience. Often they're all in the same block or corridor though.

    Being a full time core subject I have my own room but not everyone in my department has that. Last year I was in my room most of the time but taught in 2 other rooms so a part time member of staff could have some consistency and use mine rather than move each lesson.
    I've known HODs in both those categories too. Some ease the burden on their team, others seek an easy ride.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  6. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I think each 'complaint' on their own might be construed as minor or petty, but combined ? Sorry @dunnocks, I disagree....

    It almost sounds like no care nor consideration was given to the OP in her return. Having to teach across five classrooms is tricky (I once had five classrooms across one day at one school) but the deleting of resources is very mean-spirited - check with IT if they can be recovered.

    I'd start looking for another job, tbh!
    elvin163 and install like this.
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I would have thought that, to claim discrimination, you would need to show that others are not in the same position. So, if teaching in several rooms is common at your school, and you have been lucky to have taught in a single room in the past, then perhaps there is nothing to be done. However, if you have been singled out for this, then you may have a case. All just an opinion, of course - by all means consult your union. I don't believe that HoDs should get special treatment.

    As for the resources, that may just be incompetence rather than a direct attack on you. Are they your resources in that you paid for them, or are they ones belonging to the school? Have you asked your ICT people if there is a backup to get the ones deleted from the system. By the way, I kept all the resources I created on my home computer, in case something happened to them on the shared area.
  8. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Some good questions to ask in the posts above, but is it discrimination or returning to find things have changed significantly during your absence?

    The lost resources could simply be the department reorganising whilst you were on maternity leave. With all resources, but particularly computer based ones, if they are really important then you should keep a back up copy. Hopefully IT has a backup, if not it is a harsh lesson in the need for making your own backups.

    Multiple rooms do you have a solution to the problem that does not simply move the bad timetable to someone else? Was someone teaching your current timetable during your maternity leave? Arguing it is discrimination and must be changed is an option, but if the only solution is to give a colleague a rubbish timetable instead of the Head of Department then it will not be a popular change
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    My record is also 12 rooms over a fortnight. I was teaching 2 subjects at that time but for bizarre reasons I also had the lightest time table ever with only 17 periods out of 25 per week.
  10. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    I wasn't going to post but because I thought I might not have anything to add about discrimination re:maternity leave, however, after reading I cannot help feeling something is amiss here, in this poster's situation.
    I have been given a timetable in July where I teach in several different rooms... and not practical rooms, so I was prepared for it and amended my teaching accordingly. This is not the situation here.
    I have returned to teaching after maternity leave and found that one of my rooms had been designated to another subject... I was expected to teach needlework in a food room. I was expected to pack up and move all the textile resources on my return - with no extra time or help. I refused.
    Major changes should surely be informed, with reasons and a timescale given. Change such as this should surely have waited until the poster was back in her role. The situation of the role has changed, whilst she has been on maternity leave. How many other teachers, in the school has this happened to?
    It is not good enough for someone to say they do not know anything about missing resources, another example of why this school should have waited until the poster is back in school. Someone moved/ threw them away...on whose orders? Someone gave the go-ahead.
    I would feel aggrieved, after 14 years service and I would put up a fight, stressful or not!
    install likes this.
  11. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    This might help - although I do not know the details of returning to work after maternity leave. My school was under major re-structure and organisation, there were two members of staff on maternity leave. What was happening in school affected the details of the maternity posts but management would not change or alter anything to do with the roles/ situation of the colleagues on maternity leave. Management made it clear they 'were not going there' - it had to wait until those colleagues were back in school.
    I'm sorry I cannot be of more help, this poster needs to research her conditions re her role and return to work, as lots has changed since I was in this situation. I would think she has more leveridge than I did, my school accepted my refusal and left all my resources alone and gave me assistance at the end of the school year to properly move out of the room.
  12. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    For elvin163 - is this any help?


    Employers can reorganise the workplace from time to time. If a reorganisation has resulted in minor changes to your work it may still be considered the same job. If your job has changed significantly or is less favourable in terms of salary, status, job security, location or hours you may have a claim for detrimental treatment, unfair dismissal and/or sex discrimination. You should tell your employer that you are unhappy with the job you have been given and if you return to work while you are still negotiating with your employer you should make it clear that you are working under protest.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    It depends whether the changes have been made 'because of' the fact that the poster is on maternity leave and the school's perception of her has changed in consequence.

    The questions are those that would be asked in discovery, if investigating a prospective discrimination claim. The idea is to tease out whether the thought processes behind the decision was discriminatory.
    elvin163 likes this.
  14. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    Sounds complicated, GLsghost and needs union advice and guidance.
    elvin163 likes this.
  15. elvin163

    elvin163 New commenter

    Thank you this has been really helpful. I have now spoken to my union & I am meeting with the head tomorrow.
  16. elvin163

    elvin163 New commenter

    Thank you for your help. I have spoken to my union & meeting with the head tomorrow.
    install and GLsghost like this.
  17. elvin163

    elvin163 New commenter

    Thank you so much everyone for your comments and advice. I spoke to my union who have said that I have a very strong case for grievance but in the first instance I need to discuss my complaints with the Head. I am going to see how it goes tomorrow when I have a meeting. After a great deal of deliberation I think I am going to resign & work my notice with the hope I will be able to get another job. I want to leave with dignity and my reputation intact... a grievance route isn't the way I want to go.
    GLsghost likes this.
  18. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I do hope you will reconsider resigning - at least until you have had a lengthy consultation with your union, after you ahve spoken with the Head.

    Pregnancy / maternity / sex discrimination is incredibly common and rife in teaching. The difficulty is that for every woman who thinks they are taking the easy option, resigning and moving on, there are employers whose position is bolstered by a lack of challenge and who will then move onto the next woman and treat her the same way.

    If you resign, you will lose your statutory rights to claim e.g. unfair dismissal or redundancy pay for two years. Why should you suffer detriment just because your employer thinks they are above the law?

    Please do not do anything in haste. Talk over all the ramifications carefully with your union first.
    bevdex, DYNAMO67 and chelsea2 like this.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    1 I think it wise if you bring your Union rep in with you.
    2 I would also be careful about your reason for resigning if that is your intention, as well as ensuring that things are smooth with the Head.
    3 The Head will hopefully want to resolve any issues without the word 'resigning' being used
    4 It seems rather quick that you have made such a decision to resign sooo soon on your return- be certain that you are not just doing this to prove a point...and that you do not end up jobless ..
    5 Maybe it is worth looking elsewhere first and giving your Head and yourself a chance?
    6 Of course - as always - do check everything with your Union first especially with such a major decision
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  20. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I have no legal knowledge. I don't think anyone at all can suggest discrimination anyway without knowing both sides of this argument.

    I see no operational point though in making a teachers' job harder than it has to be. My view on issues are these.

    1) do others have their own room? I doubt they are leaving a room empty to move you around though? Is it that big a deal anyway? especially for an experienced teacher.

    2) resources- I think you deserve an explanation. Electronic resources should be backed up though.

    3) quitting. Don't do something silly (and sorry, at the moment I think this response is) in the spur of the moment

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