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Constructive Dismissal During Maternity

While you are on maternity leave, you have the right to return to your job with the same seniority and hours as you had before you took maternity leave. If your employer is unable to offer you these conditions you can consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. However, this is only recommended if you have tried to resolve the situation informally with your employer and are sure that you cannot work in a negative workplace environment anymore. You will need to prove that the employer breached your contract and you feel that you had no choice but to resign. Before resigning you should seek legal advice as this is a complicated case to bring and can be expensive.

During maternity leave you can take reasonable time off from work if your child is unwell or you need to collect them from nursery or childcare. However, once you are back at work you should not treat an employee unfavourably because they are pregnant or because they are returning from maternity leave. It is also illegal to stop an employee from applying for a promotion or taking another role because they are returning from maternity leave.

After a year of maternity leave, Amber returns to work and finds that her boss, Rosie, has given James the role she held before her maternity leave and demoted her to a lower-level position. Amber felt sidelined and was not happy with this treatment. She raised a grievance arguing that this was maternity discrimination.

Constructive Dismissal During Maternity Leave

When you are on maternity leave you should keep a diary of any incidents in the workplace that make you uncomfortable. This way you can document your experience and use it as evidence should you need to take legal action or raise a complaint. You must also speak to your manager or HR representative about any issues that you are unhappy with before resigning as they may be aware of the problem and have the power to rectify it.

It is important that you do not resign until you have considered all other options, particularly seeking legal advice as this is a difficult and time-consuming process. If you decide to resign, then you have 3 months minus one day from your date of termination to start an employment tribunal claim. You may wish to explore other job opportunities as this could help your financial stability whilst you are bringing forward a constructive dismissal claim.

If you have a good relationship with your employer and it is not practical to resign then it might be worth exploring mediation or settlement options with them as they might be willing to offer you the job that you want in exchange for a resignation. If you are in a contract job then it will be important to understand the terms of your contract as these can be very complex, especially if there is a clause that states that you must give three months notice. However, if you are not in a contract job you can still claim for constructive dismissal but it is more complicated.

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