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Feeling Undermined on Maternity Leave? You Are Not Powerless!

A finance professional who resigned on the basis that her position in the office hierarchy had been critically undermined while she was on maternity leave has had her compensation hopes boosted by an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling.

The woman performed a managerial role as a dealer and portfolio administrator for an asset management company. During her absence, the department in which she worked was restructured and a new manager was appointed who would be senior to her on her return. She took the view that she was being eased out of her role and resigned shortly after she was due to return from leave.

Her claims of sex discrimination, unfair constructive dismissal and automatically unfair dismissal were, however, rejected by an Employment Tribunal (ET), which found that there had been no attempt to reduce her seniority and that her job had properly been kept open for her.

However, in upholding her appeal against that decision, the EAT found that the ET had failed to deal with a central issue in the case, which emerged during the hearing. That was whether the job to which she was required to return was the same as the job she had previously had. The woman’s appeal was allowed and the matter was sent back to the ET for consideration of that issue.