SIGN UP

Do I Have A Case?

Avatar Image
meglet | 16:21 Wed 16th Mar 2016 | Law
15 Answers
I'm currently on maternity leave but due back to work on the 4th April. My role is as a salesperson that sells and renews IT equipment and software on a basic + commission basis.

On Monday I spoke to my boss to sort out what I'll be doing my first week and mentioned that I want to get cracking on an account of mine due to renew in the summer. My boss then says "bad news, its been renewed already" by the salesperson that has been managing my accounts in my absence. This guy is supposed to be caretaking my business, not stealing it! However its coming up year end so I'm sure my boss has pushed him to do it.

I spoke to the customer off the record who told me that this early renewal had not been instigated by them and they had no issue in waiting for my return. Equally my customer was gutted when he realised how this has disadvantaged me and said they had not signed on the line yet and he could wait for me. I said I would leave it to him to decide what to do, so that no-one can ever accuse me of working against the business.

The commission on this is probably worth over £10k in commission to me so obviously I'm extremely upset about this too. The more I have mulled it over though I'm thinking that I should have been told about this whilst on maternity leave. He (quite rightly) stated that business had to continue whilst I was away. I would agree had I been absent due to either sickness or holiday and therefore unavailable, but I wasn't, I was on maternity leave. As such I have always made myself available so I could have been made aware of this. Additionally, on maternity leave I am entitled to work for ten paid "Keeping in Touch" days without affecting my maternity leave which, had I been made aware that an renewal prior to year end was required, I would have used to work on this renewal.

This renewal has resulted in a significant financial loss on my part which means that I have been severely disadvantaged, which I believe I am protected against whilst on maternity leave. My company was surely legally obliged to inform me of any change to my circumstances / role / working conditions, and I think this renewal can be classed as such as an account has been taken from me. To prove discrimination *all* I need to show is that 'but for' my maternity leave I would not have been disadvantaged.

I have laid out this position in an email to my boss that I will lodge a grievance with HR, but I would rather not do so and will talk to him first. That was yesterday morning and he's not come back to me yet.

I am not one to shout about rights and discrimination, but does it sound as if I have a valid case?

Answers

1 to 15 of 15rss feed

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by meglet. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
Give him a chance to get advice from HR. Just because you're sitting at home building this up doesn't mean this is the only thing he is doing.

When you go on maternity you have a legal right to return to a job equal to the one you left you do not have the right to return to your previous job.

As you are on maternity leave the company can proceed with your job as they see fit as long as there is a similar job for you to return to.
Question Author
Isley, from the gov website...

hi meglet - how are the babies now?
Anyway, i agree with Islay - perhaps the business decided for business reasons that they would rather have this renewal in before the end of the tax year. Just because you are on mat leave, doesn't mean they have to wait for you to return. I'm also not quite sure how it has disadvantaged you - your mat leave person did the work, and now you want the money (or so it seems to an outsider on the surface). I don't think you can expect to benefit from work that has gone on in your absence.
From your businesses point of view, they wanted the renewal and they got it - the bonus should go to the person who has done the legwork.
Question Author
When returning to work after Ordinary Maternity Leave (the first 26 weeks of your Statutory Maternity Leave), you have a right to the same job and the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

Not sure why that cut and paste disappeared.
"My company was surely legally obliged to inform me of any change to my circumstances / role / working conditions, and I think this renewal can be classed as such as an account has been taken from me."
i can't see how how this is a change to your circumstances or role or working conditions either - all of those will still be there when you get back. The account will revert to you, so no change there it hasn't been taken from you - it's been managed in your absence, and will be given back on your return
I think you may have put yourself in a bad position by speaking yo the customer, even off the record, it sends out all the wrong sorts of messages and could give them second thoughts about using your company.
> My boss then says "bad news, its been renewed already"
> Equally my customer ... said they had not signed on the line yet

Taken together, the above two mean that your boss has lied/misled/not been entirely truthful with you.

If there is evidence that this has been done specifically to disadvantage you then you could have a case.

If there is evidence that this has been done specifically to advantage the company then you could have a case.

If it's general company practice to renew as early as possible, and your cover has gained at your expense but not to the advantage of the company, then it's still possible that you have a case, but less likely. You would need to check your contract to see what it said about maternity pay, especially whether it was based on basic pay or total compensation.

> I said I would leave it to him to decide what to do, so that no-one can ever accuse me of working against the business.

They already could, as the conversation you have had with your company's customer [not strictly YOUR customer] could prejudice that customer against the company. That said, if you are that close to the customer, I would encourage them to wait for your return so that it is clear to your company that much of its relationship with their customer is based on their customer's relationship with you personally.
Question Author
Hi Bednobs. They're getting huge and eating me out of house and home! Twin 1 is healthy after his heart surgery and we don't have to see the cardiologist for another year which is great news.

My point is that this was a change to my job effectively and I had the right to be made aware. I could then have use these 10 days you are allowed to take to do the deal.

Anyway he's called me this afternoon and we argued robustly on every point. Then at the end of the call he told he's been to HR and they agree I have a case. So he's going to come back to me and make an offer. I didn't suggest the other guy gives up his commission, I think they need to pay both of us. And maybe brush up on maternity rights!
blimey!
In that case the best thing you could do financially for your company (as well as yourself) - but at the expense of your cover - is to have that chat with the customer ...
Also taken from .gov.uk

However, if your employer shows it is not reasonably practical to return to your original job (for example, because the job no longer exists) you do not have the same right. In that case, you must be offered alternative work with the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

So they do not have to put you in the same job if they can come up with a reasonable reason.
Question Author
Islay, I'm in the same job, that isn't the issue here. The issue is that 'but for' my maternity leave I would not have been disadvantaged.
An interesting question and one to which I suspect no case law exists (you put it in law).

Because the bonus payment isn't contractual, I suspect that legally you are on thin grounds, but morally I would expect any decent HR department to come to the same conclusion that it appears you are being told about. You should get some or all of it.

The attached link may be helpful to draw the parallels to your situation - examples of when an employer has to pay bonus type payments to a lady on maternity leave, and when it doesn't.

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/your-rights/employment/equality-work/pay-and-benefits/decisions-about-pay-and-benefits-women-and-men-equal-pay/pay-benefits-and-bonuses-during-maternity-leave
Legally the Company are correct IMO, but rather unethical (in not advising you of pending renewal so you could use your KIT time. I hope they see their way to give you at least a partial bonus.

1 to 15 of 15rss feed

Do you know the answer?

Do I Have A Case?

Answer Question >>