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.

Moving on

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.