This is a complicated one, so please bear with me.

I have worked for a small family run business for nine years. Last year, they were bought out by a big global organisation. The Director and other senior management stayed on as part of the agreement. The have never used best practice with regards to employment law etc.. as none of them are qualified

My Director has always tried to stop us from leaving, he has even banned access to the internal careers website.

Last year I fell pregnant and went on maternity leave, while on maternity leave, I found out about a job within the organisation that has bought us out. I applied and got it, i am due to start in November.

Before I got the job, I told my division that I would be returning on 06/10/08 and requested shorter hours. I requested this on 29/07/08 and never got an aknowledgement.

Since then, I have handed in my notice. I expressed that it was important to me to work my notice and return from maternity leave. I have been with the company for nine years and wanted to end on a positive note, rather than just get pregnant and leave.

I gave notice of my transfer on Thursday last week, said that I would still be returning after my mat leave. Yesterday I had a call from my manager on her mobile, telling me that the Director (of our internal division) has put me on garden leave, so I am unable to return after my maternity.

Furthermore, they have not put it in writing, so I am very worried about not turning up on Monday morning. My manager is working from home and says she has connection problems, but will try to put it in writing but as yet she hasn’t.

I am very upset by this and believe that he is doing this to spite me because he is annoyed I have been promoted. Is it normal to put someone that has been promoted on garden leave?

Any advise or insight would be gratefully received, I was a very valued member of staff and I am so sad that I cannot return from my mat leave – I feel like I am being punished. Based on the fact that they didn’t ever aknowledge my request for flexi hours, I wonder if they ever intended to let me return

sarah james

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