I returned to my job as a team head at a financial company having had 4 months maternity leave after the birth of my son. On my first day back, my boss told me I’d come back too early, and that I would be unable to concentrate due to the fact I was still breastfeeding. He demoted me, removing all my management responsibilities.
I saw lawyers the following week and lodged a grievance which was dismissed, and then a second grievance was also dismissed. By this point my son was 6 months old.
During the period of 5 months I was back at work until my employment was terminated, I had to sit alongside my boss who was visibly angry and frustrated by my presence. During this period I was prescribed antidepressants and CBT.
Finally when my boss was on holiday, we had mediation which lasted a full day. It was agreed that I would be paid a severance payment in exchange for signing an agreement which included non-disclosure wording.
The net effect was that I was unemployed and, whilst I was financially compensated, I was unable to explain to future employers why I had left that employment and why it wasn’t my choice to do so. I felt I was the party in the right and yet I was the one who had the uncertainty and stress of being unemployed and having to job hunt with a 9 month old baby.
NDAs are a way or companies and people avoiding being held accountable.