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Pregnancy & Racial discrimination - what should I ask for?


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Hello,

 

I have recently filed a grievance against my employer for pregnancy and racial discrimination. In short, whilst I was off sick for a pregnancy-related illness (miscarriage) my boss left his position. An external search for his replacement ensued. At some point that turned to an internal search, I think? I was off ill dealing with a threatened miscarriage, which became an actual miscarriage for a period of a month or so. I was not in the office during this time but was in regular contact with HR and my boss. So I do not know exactly what went on in the office whilst I was out. I had my work laptop and blackberry with me and checked my email every day. On occasion I responded to queries sent by my boss or other colleagues.

 

Anyhow, there were 3 of us that reported into our boss. Me, a black woman who has been with the company 2 years, an Asian woman who has been with the company 3 years, and a white woman who has been with the company for 8 months. We all have the same job title and do more or less the same job. The Asian woman and I both have 15 years industry experience. The white woman has less than 8 years experience.

 

Well, you probably know where this is going. The white woman got the job. My complaint isn't so much that she got the job-- but rather management never told me or the Asian woman that this was a position we could apply for. This wasn't on the company website- where the other jobs are regularly posted. Management kept telling the Asian woman that candidates were being recruiting externally. I was told nothing in regards to recruitment. Despite that I wrote a glowing unsolicited recommendation for the Asian woman to get the role. She was definitely the most qualified and most deserving of the position. Somehow the white woman got the role? I really don't know what happened, and there are obviously some transparancy issues. If I knew this was open to internal candidates I would have put myself forward.

 

Anyhow, over the past 6 months there have been a number of other incidents that have happened to me-- being left out of meetings and company trips for no apparant reason. Having to pay for my own business cards whilst others got theirs for free; being given "behind the scenes work" that leaves me working alone and doesn't give me a chance to shine. So I've got 12 page grievance full of incidents, dates, emails, etc.

 

I feel quite confident in putting my grievance forward. I am happy to go forward to a tribunal if I don't get satisfaction.

 

My question is: what should I ask for? If HR ask me 'what would remedy this situation?' what should I say? Yes, I would love my boss' old position, but I don't think realistically they would reverse the decision they already made. So what's the next best thing to ask for? I'm not interested in money, I just want to be treated fairly at work.

 

Any advice? How do these things usually pan out?

 

My grievance meeting is next week.

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Hi Gen

 

Clearly all employees should be treated fairly regardless of their ethnic background. If you feel that the company have acted 'unfairly' and as you say

'I really don't know what happened, and there are obviously some transparancy issues' you could actually get answers by sending them a Questionnaire rr65:- http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/rr65_questionnaire.pdf . Again just as an example, you could use the Questionnaire to find out how each and every individual became aware of the job as it was not advertised. There are lots of questions you could ask, this would benefit the individuals as well as the company, I suspect they won't be too thrilled to receive it, but again you should all have been treated equally and the company have created the situation regarding 'unfair' treatment. If they find in your favour you'll have to decide what you want, remember you've mentioned going to a Tribunal.

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Hi,

 

This sounds really poor treatment of an individual, and could amount to both sex discrimination and racial discrimination.

 

The issue I have here is that you have 3 months less one day from the last act of discrimination in order to bring a claim to an employment tribunal, this is irrespective of any ongoing internal procedures as you can issue the claim protectively (i.e to halt the clock so to speak, to allow internal procedures to take place but to protect your legal position). When did the act of discrimination that you are complaining about take place? You make reference to something over the last 6 months.

 

Has your grievance been heard?

 

You may want to take legal advice, either from your trade union (if you are a member) or from your legal expenses insurer if you have cover on your home insurance.

George Loveless - “We raise the watchword, liberty. We will, we will, we will be free!"

 

My advice is only my opinion, I am not a legal expert.

 

IF YOU LIKE THE ADVICE I'M GIVING AND ARE HAPPY WITH IT, CLICK THE SCALES ON THE BOTTOM LEFT OF THIS POST AND TELL ME.

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What should you ask for? Well as the white woman has only 8 months service, I believe they could readvertise the post citing that there was a flaw in the process. Then there could be a rethink and fairer application.

 

problem is that they would then merely employ her again. Leaving you in the same position..

 

So better would be go the ET route and and ask for compensation. However for this to work I think you may also lose because you excluded yourself from the process in favour of the asian woman. You should highlight that you feel you are qualified for the mposition and the only reason you did not apply was because the process was supposed to be external. You may have to think of a reason why you recommended the other woman.

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My grievance will be heard next week.

 

I was under the impression that I had to exhaust the grievance process before I could apply to a tribunal? Is this not the case? I was under the impression that I have to give my company an opportunity to reply and / or fix the things I have raised my grievance about?

 

Should I simply go directly to the ET1 and fill that in and ask for compensation? How much compensation do I ask for?

 

I have attached my grievance here. It's heavily redacted - but I would appreciate if any of you would please, please, please have a look and give me some tips on proceeding forward.

 

I have felt quite stressed and aggrieved by the situation, but I hope in the end that there is some justice.

 

Thanks,

Genevieve

safe3.pdf

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Hi Genevieve,

 

I have had a quick scan of the most recent information on your Grievance that you have lodged (which looks very thorough).

 

By my looking I believe the act of discrimination occurred on 28th March 2012, this is just to be safe, the later date when the comparator white colleague was offered the job could also be discriminatory. Therefore the last date you have to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal would be 27th June 2012, this is 3 months less one day of the act complained of. It doesn't matter about the internal procedures I'm afraid, however, the tribunal will want both parties to have attempted to resolve the matter before taking the matter to a full hearing, bearing that in mind you need to protect your position in terms of your employment rights.

 

You need to take urgent legal advice, either from your trade union or from perhaps your legal expenses insurer, often when you buy contents insurance on your home you can get legal expenses cover which covers you for events like this when you need a solicitor to take a case for you.

 

Although, saying that, taking your own claim to an Employment Tribunal isn't hard work. The process is designed for people themselves to go to a tribunal, I would begin preparing this process now. By the way you can leave the compensation bit blank on the ET1 if you don't have anything in mind.

 

Hope that helps.

George Loveless - “We raise the watchword, liberty. We will, we will, we will be free!"

 

My advice is only my opinion, I am not a legal expert.

 

IF YOU LIKE THE ADVICE I'M GIVING AND ARE HAPPY WITH IT, CLICK THE SCALES ON THE BOTTOM LEFT OF THIS POST AND TELL ME.

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Thanks, Orfoster.

 

I have checked with my home insurance and I do have legal cover. So I will be pursuing that with them.

 

In the meanwhile I am preparing for my grievance meeting.

 

Assuming I go down the tribunal route, what should I specify on the ET1? My grievance is many pages long. I'm wondering how to shorten it without omitting the pertinent parts?

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The ET1 is what your're claiming and why, it doesn't need any proof attached to it as that comes in the hearing. So literally it is a brief run down of what happened with dates and times put in the worst parts of the discrimination and parts of the Equality Act. If you have legal insurance then a solicitor will do all this for you.

I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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I'd just like to add that you have to go through the internal grievance procedures, any Tribunal will want to see that you have tried to resolve matters with the company before lodging a Complaint with the Tribunal. The company will need an opportunity to make good any failings on there part. Don't give them any ammunition.

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OK, so I called my home insurance and I do have legal cover that will cover this. The claim on my insurance will take about a week to sort out.

 

I'm very worried about the timings. Orfster said that that she/(he?) believed the original date of the discrimination happened on March 28. Rebel11 said that I need to exhaust the grievance process in order to bring my claim to the tribunal. What happens if the grievance process extends past that last possible day for me to go to a tribunal?

 

I had been off work from March 12 - May 20 with a pregnancy-related illness. The discriminatory act happened whilst I was out of the office. I have only just returned to work on May 23rd.

 

On my first day back at work I spoke with the other non-white colleague who did not get the promotion. I assumed she turned down the role. It wasn't until the day that I got back to work that she told me that she had not been told about the role at all. It was from that point I wondered if there was any racial discrimination that took place.

 

Later that day I had a meeting with HR. It was a standard 'back to work' meeting since I had been off sick for so long. Without making allegations at anyone specific I told HR that I was wondering if there may have been some racial discrimination regarding the promotion that me and the other non-white person were over looked for.

 

HR told me that in order for them to investigate that I HAD TO put forth a formal grievance. Otherwise they said they could not / would not investigate. I had not considered putting forth a grievance until that point. I always thought it would be best to sort things out informally. Maybe that is naive? I am not one of those sorts of people that cries racsim or sexism at the drop of a hat.

 

So that's how the ball got rolling. I spent the entire week putting together my grievance and handed it in the following Monday.

 

So in terms of dates, where do I stand? I could not have put forth a grievance whilst I was out of the office. Does that push my dates back any.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

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There is a 3 month limit for discrimination claims from the act of discrimination. You can put the claim in before the grievance is heard, that is no problem. The tribunal will not hear a case that is out of time just because you were in the middle of the grievance process.

 

Basically it looks like you need to get the ET1 form to the tribunal by June 28.

I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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Good luck. Try and not be phased by their actions. Present you case with confidence. They will be very aware that you are alleging discrimination and that their decisions if made unfairly may further discriminate and victimise you. Consequently they will be just as nervous. Not many staff take employers on, it says a lot about you that you want to and feel the need for justice.

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I had my grievance meeting this morning. It went OK. HR is taking it seriously. I feel appreciative of that. The meeting was with the HR lady, my manager and my companion. My manager is new to managing me and not involved in the grievance. It didn't so much feel like me v them, but rather HR & my manager trying to get an idea of what has happened.

 

The grievance meeting really seemed to function as a way to establish facts. What happened when? Who said what? Who did what? My impression of the situation, etc.

 

It lasted 2 hours. At the end of the meeting HR said it would take longer than 2 weeks for them to investigate due to the length of my grievance and because one of my old managers is on holiday. Does all that sound normal for a grievance meeting?

 

Should I go ahead and file the ET1? In two weeks my deadline to do so will have passed.

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File it. You can always withdraw. However you should also liaise with your legal insurer and ask their advice as to what to do, as they may not cover you if you do so without their permission.

 

Forgive my cynicism, but if HR know you have 2 weeks to a legal deadline and they say they will take more than 2 weeks..... well they are playing you.

 

They may give an impression of being helpful and with you on it but see the attitude change when you cause them a legal headache. Filing will give them motivation to sort it out or turn on you. Wait for the backblast after you file!!!

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I don't think HR 'know that I have a deadline or that I'm going the tribunal route. By the legal jargon in my grievance letter they would be wise to assume so.

 

The 'last straw' event in my grievance was being passed over for the promotion. On 11/5 (or around) I found out that someone else was awarded the position. The position itself became available (my old boss had announced he was leaving) on 28/03 - So which date should I work with?

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They could have worked it out like orfoster did above. Err on the side of caution do not trust HR they are trained in the dark arts.

 

OK, thanks. If HR have worked it out from 28/03 then they are really messing me about by taking over 2 weeks to get back to me. Given the length of my complaint I don't doubt it will take them at least 1 week.... maybe even 2 but more than that? Anyhow the clock is ticking, better get on to my insurance company to sort out my solicitor.

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Hi

 

Sorry to butt in late.,

You must issue the `discrimination questionnaire RR65`dont even think of submitting a discrimination claim to tribunal or going to tribunal without issuing this powerful document.

 

Forget the grievance hearing for now as that issue is being deal with and as long as you remain on their payroll you are their problem not the otherway round.

 

HR is there to proctect the interests of the employer not the employee so be very cautious about their sweet talking.

 

Good luck

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madari is right. The discrimination questionnaire is helpful. In my experience they merely deny the questions that hurt or ignore the entire document. But at least the document poses the questions that you , and the ET judge, will want answering and if the fail to answer them the judge can ask why.

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No you dont have to wait for HR as there are very STRICT time limits for submitting the ET1.[if you are out of time then your claim will be rejected by the ET so be on guard and act quickly...you can always withdraw your claim once you are satisfied with the outcome of the grievance hearing]

 

What the RR65 questionnaire will do is alert your employer to the fact that you mean business!!!

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OK, I have that form. Do I need to wait for HR to respond to all the questions on that form before I go to the tribunal?

 

They may not even answer all your questions outlined on the RR65.

 

Google:`Chagger V Santander the importance of discrimination questionnaire RR65`

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