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Discrimination at work due to pregnancy!!

Just wondered if anybody else has been discriminated against at work, due to them being pregnant??

I work for a company where we have been given a 'discretionary bonus'. We were told that we were not to discuss the bonus with anyone else with regards to amounts etc as this is the 'discretion' of the company and will not be questioned. Any discussions would result in the bonus being withdrawn and no further bonuses given to anyone again in the future!

When we got our pay slips it would appear that I have been given 50% less bonus than all of my other colleagues. I am not the only one though! There is another pregnant lady at work who again has been given possibly less than 50%. It is a difficult situation due to the secrecy that has been placed around it, but I can see the reason why it was not to be discussed!!

I am really upset and frustrated about it as I honestly did not think that this sort of discrimination takes place with a large company. I think perhaps one of the main reasons that my bonus has been reduced by 50% is because it is one of the qualifying pay period for my SMP where the company have to pay 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks of maternity.

I have looked on the internet and apparently as it is a discretionary bonus, it can still be classed under the Sex Discrimination Act. Has anyone had any similar experiences and any positive outcomes?

Thanks xx


  • Hi 2ndtimeLucky,

    Hmm I've been in a slightly similar position whichwhen you're in the position we are in just adds to the worry and confusion.

    I suggest that if you are part of a Union you discuss it discretely with your union Rep in the first instance before deciding what to do. likewise you could always chat to someone at the Citizen's Advice Bureau and get support and guidance from them.

    I know how hard it is deciding whether to casue a fuss or not particularly if you plan to return to work at some point and want your leaving and return to be as smooth as possible.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.

  • my boss was fine when i had my 1st son but as i returned from mat leave i fell preg again and she was horrible to me. she took things off me because of it and when i miscarried she told me off for only informing her i was on sick leave via our secretary, that I had breeched policy and would not paid if it happened again.
    I think it is wrong to impose a ban and although you have been told not to discuss it they must know that people will ? How much are we talking ??50 or ??500?
  • Hi,

    I would give ACAS a call, they give free confidential advice and are excellent. You can check out their website but I recommend you speak to one of their advisors (tel. 08457 474747) and they will let you know your rights.

    In terms of not disclosing what bonuses you are getting I am fairly sure that any bonus system they use has to be transparent so that this kind of unfairness cannot occur, so telling you not to discuss it is total rubbish. They certainly can't take it off you once they have given it to you simply because you discussed it with your colleagues! I think a tribunal would rip a chunk out of them!

    Good luck, hope you get it sorted!

    Liz x
  • yeh mcdonalds make me carry heavy stuff .. and not let me eat wen i wer hungry..

    and .. gave me a displeny wen i walked off shift cos i had sharp pain after them making me life stuff.

    I miscaried in jan n am so hurt n lost cos of them .. i kno ppl can m/c n that but i blame thhem
  • Hi 2nd time lucky - did you make any progress on your bonus issue?

    It's not unusual for companies to discourage you discussing your bonus with collegues, just because it is such an emotive issue and its very difficult to be objective about why someone you work with might be awarded more.

    Having said that, your manager should be transparent about how the bonus has been worked out and you have been given the award you have.

    Are you clear on how your bonus is calculated? Is it based on personal performance or is it based on company performance or is it based on a combination of both? Is it based on appraisal rating? Does your manager have a set bonus pot that s/he has to distribute as s/he sees fit across all his/her team? These should be stipulated in your bonus policy. There are also rules about when a bonus may or may not be paid which again should be written within the policy rules. i.e. you may have to be working at the time the bonus is paid so if on maternity leave may lose out - or have done a full year's employment in the bonus year to qualify.

    Most companies will have a grievance procedure so if you feel you have been unfairly treated, that should be your first port of call for redress. This is usually an informal meeting with your manager asking for an explanation of how your bonus has been calculated. Be prepared and take with you evidence of your contribution and where you feel the bonus is insufficient.

    Hope that helps if you haven't already resolved it.

    Good luck
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