A Glasgow employment tribunal yesterday heard how Pauline Mitchell, an administration manager at First National Bank in the city returned from maternity leave to find someone else sitting at her desk and her job changed beyond recognition. First National Bank is owned by the Abbey National Group
32-year-old Mrs Mitchell, is claiming sex discrimination, constructive dismissal, breach of contract and unlawful deduction.
Mrs Mitchell told the hearing, “I went to sit at my desk and after I put my bags on it I was told by a clerk that she was sitting there now. I asked where I was meant to be sitting and she said that I should sit at the spare desk next to the part-timers. I felt quite humiliated about the situation.”
Mrs Mitchell went on to explain that she could not find her personal belongings from her desk. These included cards she had received from well-wishers when she announced her pregnancy.
“No one else seemed to know where my belongings were,” said Mr Mitchell, “the following week I looked for them and found them in a cupboard. When I went to get my photo taken for my pass the security guard said he did not think I was coming back.”
After returning to work Mrs Mitchell’s manager, Simon Burnell, told her that the company had undergone restructuring while she had been away. Mrs Mitchell told the tribunal that she did not appear to have a clearly defined role within the company any longer, and that she had not been informed about the changes despite her managerial position.