Woman wins £12,500 payout after being ‘demoted while on maternity leave’ – Mirror Online
A City manager has won a £12,500 payout after she was ‘demoted’ while on maternity leave.
Diana Ledkova returned from childbirth to discover that her performance appraisal rating had been downgraded.
Having been told she was ‘exceeding expectations’ before going on leave, she got back to find her appraisal was only that she ‘met all or most expectations’ due to her absence.
Mrs Ledkova also discovered that she had been demoted after some of her duties had been handed to a male colleague without discussion.
Now she has been awarded £12,597 after a tribunal ruled she had been the victim of ‘unfavourable treatment’.
The tribunal heard that Mrs Ledkova had joined the financial tech company Traiana as a project manager in 2014.
She was promoted after four years to lead a team of three employees in projects managing key clients.
In November 2018 she went on maternity leave.
Instead of recruiting cover, it was agreed her line-management responsibilities would be taken on by a colleague, and Mrs Ledkova provided ‘comprehensive handout documents’ to assist them.
However, the same day Mrs Ledkova went on leave, Traiana was bought by US company The CME Group.
She was informed by an HR adviser that she would be employed going forward in the Global Operations Division, reporting to Errol McKenzie – the colleague who had taken on her responsibilities.
The tribunal heard plans were discussed concerning her team while she was still away, without her consultation or input.
“Specifically, the plan did not record that [Mrs Ledkova] would return to managing her team. There was no discussion about any changes to [her] role when she would return during this time,” the tribunal heard.
Mrs Ledkova returned to work in November 2019 when she discovered she was now reporting to Mr McKenzie.
The tribunal was told: “Mrs Ledkova was upset by this and complained… By this point [she] believed she had been overlooked whilst on maternity leave.
“Whilst [her] grade and salary had not changed, Mrs Ledkova reasonably perceived what had happened to be a demotion in operational status.”
Mrs Ledkova filed a formal grievance against her employer but was ‘not content’ with the outcome, having sought Mr McKenzie’s dismissal.
The tribunal ruled Traiana Limited had discriminated against Mrs Ledkova ‘by reason of her taking maternity leave’.
In its judgment, it said: “Mrs Ledkova’s maternity absence undermined her appraisal rating.”
It said that, as she was not given a performance evaluation rating for the period she was on leave, “she was not able to maintain her record of ‘exceeds expectation’ appraisals”.
It added: “This is therefore of unfavourable treatment because she was on maternity leave.
“The decision to remove her team (or not return them to her) [also] amounted to unfavourable treatment because she was on maternity leave.”
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