My story: Katie
I was happy in my accountancy job and doing well when I went off on maternity leave. I have always been ambitious and had good appraisals and feedback. My team, especially my manager, were quite 'laddy' but I just got on with things and ignored it when they made the odd sexist joke. I didn't think it was anything I couldn't handle. I did a handover to my maternity cover and trained her in what she'd need to do while I was away. When I came back to the office after maternity leave I was shocked to find that my maternity cover had been promoted and kept on permanently. I hadn't been told anything about the promotion opportunity even though it was definitely something I would have been keen to apply for.
Returning to work
In fact, my maternity cover had become my new line manager. I was really upset and my confidence was dented, particularly since I had been a bit nervous about coming back from maternity leave. It was difficult working with the people who had discriminated against me. I put in a grievance but it wasn't upheld. In the end I went to get some legal advice and then put in a claim to the employment tribunal for pregnancy discrimination.
Going through an employment tribunal
I was still working with the same manager at the time, so it was very stressful. My lawyers tried to reach a settlement. I didn't want a big pay-out, I just wanted to be able to do my job and get promoted for my abilities. In the end we reached agreement and I did not have to go through the trial. The company agreed to move me to work with another team, away from the people who had discriminated against me.
Since then I have gone from strength to strength at work. I am enjoying my job again and I love my new team. I was so glad to be able to move on. Although it wasn't a nice experience to go through, I don't regret it as it was important to me to stick up for myself. That kind of experience can make you question your own abilities, so I think it's important to stand up to discriminatory behaviour.