NSW Transferred to Another Department during Maternity Leave?

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3 February 2015
My partner returned to work yesterday after one year maternity leave. During this time there has been no communication with her employer with regard to her return to work although she has tried on several occasions. Upon her return she was informed that she had been moved to entirely new department without her knowledge or consultation. When she questioned this she was asked to "take a walk" (ie leave the building, they wouldn't even let her wait in reception) and they would give her a call. After walking around the city alone for several hours she was asked to re-attend the office (it should be noted that when she informed the head of HR that she had been sitting a shop for 4 hours he found this terribly amusing). Upon her return she was provided with a hastily written Position Description outlining the new role. Whilst the PD is very similar in content and title to the role she was previously performing the reality of the job is entirely different.

She has been moved from a 2IC to a digital department head which included a variety of tasks one would expect of such a role into a finance position of which she has little experience or qualifications.
They have given her 1 week to respond to the new placement. Is it legal under employment law to change an employees position during maternity leave without any form of communication or consultation for an entire 12 months and then expect them to accept the change without complaint? What about employee rights?

It seems to me that they are trying have her forcibly resign without having to pay redundancy.

Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi Tony,

I suggest contacting Fair Work Ombudsman and taking a look at their information page: "returning to work: maternity and parental leave". Generally, the employee has a right to return to the same position as they had before they left unless that role has been made redundant or drastically changed by the employer.

However, it would also depend on the employment contract, so take a look at that and see if there is a term about changing positions within the firm.