How to Fight Back in Your Career After an Extended Leave

By on November 4, 2019

Many people feel vulnerable after having to take an extended leave from their career. Whether it’s chronic illness, an accident or pregnancy, many women worry about their workplace discriminating against them. It is actually against the law to ask a woman if she’s pregnant or if she has any illnesses, and yet many experience discrimination at the hands of their employer. If you’re worried about losing rank in your career, here are some steps you can take.

Take a proactive stance

It is important for your own conscience, and for those who may fall into the same position by example, to not let injustice happen to you. If you feel that your employer is offering you less important gigs as a result of your absence, have a polite and informed meeting with them. This shows them that, despite your injury or time off, you do take your career seriously. Be careful not to be too accusatory, however. Don’t risk putting your job on the line immediately. Be patient, measured, and ask to be given more responsibility. 

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Another way to be proactive is to look for new employment. If your employer truly is treating you abysmally, could you hack this forever? It might be a great opportunity to look for new job positions in the same area you are qualified in. This could help you feel a bit more optimistic about the future, too.

The final and most important phase of being pro-active in seeking legal justice. If your extended leave is the result of an injury that was by no means your fault, then absolutely take ownership of this situation. You can find personal injury lawyers in your local area, such as this firm:

Re-join the workforce gradually

Remember that, if your company truly values you, they will want you to return to the workplace fighting fit and well enough to succeed. They should not expect you to barrel in and start working at the pace you once did, right from the start. It is completely fair to ask for a phased-in return. You are giving yourself the best possible start by taking it one step at a time. This allows you to start regaining where you once were in your career, without exhausting yourself right from the beginning. 

Be honest, but know your rights

If you decide to start job hunting, perhaps as a result of your employer not being too supportive, then be honest about your period out of work. Just provide dates, and explain that you were getting expert medical care for and illness. It’s important to know, however, that you do not have to divulge personal details. Under the Disabilities Act, you are protected from having to expose this kind of information. If any new job interviewers ask, keep it short. Know that if they start to pry or seem apprehensive, this a discriminatory stance to take and you are protected against it. 

Re-investigate your sector

Perhaps now is a good time to take a side-step in your career, or maybe even progress? Re-investigating what your particular line of work has to offer you could be a great way of moving up through your career after a tough time. You may even want to get extra training or do some industry networking. Opening your eyes to a whole new range of possibilities that naturally lend themselves to your expertise could also be a great confidence booster. There’s nothing wrong with deciding that the employer you’re returning to may have passed its sell-by date.

When it comes to fighting for your career back, it’s important to know your rights. You absolutely do not have to give away personal details of your illness, and a doctor’s note should suffice to provide you with statutory sick pay. If your illness was the result of your company, then you may wish to pursue legal action.


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How to Fight Back in Your Career After an Extended Leave