32 weeks pregnant and treated like crap at work(83 Posts)
Posted this on a couple other boards but decided to go here for more traffic...
This will be a long one to avoid drip feeding, so I apologise in advance.
I work in admin in a school and I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant. I started having issues when I was around 13/14 weeks. I was off sick for 2 days (before anyone was aware I was pregnant) and during this time, a colleague went onto my computer (shared log in at the time), accessed my emails and read through my sent messages. None of which were bad but there were a number to my husband. She then told the head teacher what she'd seen and I had to go through a formal investigatory process for emailing my husband and "wasting work time". Because of this, I was forced to tell work of my pregnancy (because they'd read about it in my sent emails) before I was ready; before I'd even told family. My colleagues were also aware that I had previously had a miscarriage (about a month before) and should probably have realised that I might need the support of my husband during this time, but they clearly didn't.
This has all since been sorted after resulting in me having 4 weeks off work due to stress, and I made sure to let them know that reading my emails is actually illegal and the formal investigation was unnecessary, and the log ins have become individual. However, since then, the atmosphere and relationship between me and the colleague who "told on me" has been frosty and awkward. She unintentionally made it very clear that it was her.
Fast forward to 32 weeks pregnant and the attitudes of my colleagues towards me have gradually become worse and have really begun to grind me down. There are 4 other women in the office and they have started excluding me from everything and made me feel really isolated. No one says good morning to me when I arrive, no one offers to make me a drink even when asking the rest of the office by name, if they have general chit chat I'm never included and they always end sentences with each other's names to let me know nothing is directed to me. If they want to find out some information that is to do with my role, they'll go above me to the head teacher to ask her instead of turning to me on the desk next to them. The receptionist has become increasingly rude to me; demanding that I do work for her and when I say I am a little busy but will try, she gets incredibly nasty. These are isolated incidents that have resulted in a big thing. They also plan trips out together and events like candle parties, and openly discuss them in front of me without ever inviting me.
It's just made me feel shit, to be honest. I sit doing my work with tears in my eyes and come home and break down to my husband. I'm obviously very hormonal, which isn't helping. None of them ever ask how I'm feeling re: pregnancy or even get excited with me about it. It's putting me under a lot of stress and anxiety.
I leave for maternity in 2 weeks but I'm struggling to feel confident enough to make it that long. When I'm there I feel nauseous and dizzy, I don't eat and I just feel so alone. I've contemplated getting signed off sick until then and going to speak to the head teacher in the meantime to let her know how I'm feeling. But I'm conflicted because that just makes me feel guilty for going off sick and leaving my work load. So I guess what I'm asking is wibu to do this or should I just suck it up and get on with it?
I'm so sorry for the length of this post, if you've made it this far, then thank you!!
There are a lot of issues here.
Really though, you need to put your health first so do what you need to do for you and your baby.
I am not sure about the legalities of them reading emails you have sent from work, on work time and all the other stuff.
I am sorry you are having a difficult time.
You can't go off sick because you're not sick, you're fed up and that's not the same thing. At this stage if you go off sick they can make you start your maternity leave early anyway.
You need to make a decision. You can raise a grievance about bullying in the workplace or you can leave it. What do you want to do?
You need to do what's best for you. Personally I'd put in a complaint about these women, they sound like bullies and what happened with the emails was very very wrong.
Sorry, meant to add that they can't force me to start maternity because when I'm actually starting, I'll be 34 weeks so any time before then will be classed as sick.
At my last midwife appointment, she said it sounds like pregnancy related stress and anxiety, and something the doctor could sign me off for.
Not sure raising a grievance would be any use since I'm going off soon anyway. It's just the interim weeks that I'm finding hard to deal with.
Is your line manager one of the 4 other women in the office?
Yy go to your doctor and ask for a meeting with ht. Don't put up with their bullying, because that's what it is, it's not good for you or your baby. Hope everything works out.
That sounds shit it really does. When they ask the others about getting the brews In do u ever say anything? I think I would say something like. hellooo! Elephant in the room! Have I not chipped in to the tea fund then or are you all ignoring me? Then watch them squirm a bit.
If you go off two weeks early that's two weeks less you will have with your baby at the end, I wouldn't want to think the fuckers had robbed me of that.
I think I would speak to the head, it sounds very much like bullying to me. Best luck x
I work in a school too and found my department very unsupportive during my pregnancy (severe HG). Since I had DD they haven't bothered messaging me or anything to say hello etc. I've worked there many years. Grown women working in a school can be just as bitchy as the teenagers in the playground.
I think you should be signed off and enjoy the remaining weeks of your pregnancy with your friends, family and DH. Maybe plan to go back part time at the end of your maternity and then find a new job if you choose to go back at all.
I would without a doubt get signed off as sick. It can't trigger ml until 36 ? weeks in any event. Make up your mind you are not going back and get the gp to sign you off .
Write down as many incidents as you can think of with times, dates, who was there, what was said. Keep a diary tomorrow.
Are you planning on returning to work after ML? If not, get signed off and forget about them. If so, then I think you need to raise a grievance because otherwise it will probably continue on your return.
If you go off sick it will just trigger your mat leave so maybe that's the way to go.
Really horrible crappy situation. My guess is you won't want to go back after you mat leave because of this so they would in effect have bullied you out of your job. I think you need to speak to the head and get it sorted before you go off. Ring ACAS first for some advice or speak to your union rep. X
It's not illegal for them to read work emails, and they can absolutely state that you shouldn't be sending personal emails during work time. So I would drop that.
The rest of it does sound difficult but I would probably stick out another 2 weeks of it rather than lose out on the last 2 weeks at home with your baby.
Workplace bullying with playground tactics . horrific. Is there a vaguely competent manager anywhere?
mulberrybush my line manager is one of the 4, albeit not as bad as the others. I don't feel comfortable talking to her about it because of how chummy she is with the others.
statetrooper I used to say things, like try and have a joke and get myself back in the fold with them but I've sort of lost the confidence to talk back to them now.
tissue it definitely does feel bitchy! It makes me realise when the TAs and teachers are always excited and asking me questions about the pregnancy but not any of my close colleagues has.
fastday in our school's code of conduct it does state that no one is permitted to access personal email accounts and personal emails are acceptable as long as they don't interfere with work, which they didn't etc. However, that has since been removed so clearly shouldn't have been in there. That's all in the past now so definitely dropped but thought I'd mention as a back story. The colleague who looked at it had no right to go on my email account but I think it's what started it all off.
redexpat I wrote down all the incidents yesterday and from one day I filled two and a half pages of a notebook. Thought I'd better do that because I know how teary I can get in difficult meetings and situations so would prefer to have it written down.
I have to go back after mat leave because of the twelve weeks half pay (we'll definitely need it) but 6 of the weeks will be the 6 week holidays so I'd only have to stick it out for 6 after that. I plan on going PT and looking elsewhere as soon as I can.
What a horrid situation. In really sorry about this. What would happen if you did just allow yourself to cry in front of them? I did this once and the two people being horrid rlfinally stopped (but I left soon after because it still felt horrid).
If you decide to stick it out just take a very deep breath and make yourself a list of all the lovely things you have to look forward to. Put it by your desk and read it regularly.
Have you directly asked them what their problem is? I would.
If you used the office system to send personal emails, then other staff did have a right to access it and read them. The fact that personal emails were acceptable doesn't change that. They have to be able to access your email system if you are away, and no messages can be off limits.
I would complain. Is this your first pregnancy? First time around I took endless shit in case people thought I'd let them down. I ended up in hospital with stress-related bleeding.
Second time around, I have done it all so differently, and wish to god I'd done it this way before. One breath of that shit near me, I'm complaining. I don't come into work for that crap.
Talk to HR. Talk to the Safety person, if you have one. Talk to your manager. Invoke every protection you can, get every adjustment, and most importantly, tell your boss what those ridiculous women are doing, and the impact it's having on your mental health at work. I know it's hard to think of doing this, but what's the worst that can happen? Please don't take this spiteful behaviour lying down.
Good luck, and all the best with your pregnancy.
Hugs it sounds like you are really being put through a tough time at the moment. The most important thing is the health of you and your baby. If you really feel you cannot manage than you should get yourself signed of, but make it clear why so that the issues can be addressed when you return (assuming you decide to return from mat leave). Alternatively, 2 weeks will fly by. If you feel you can hang on in there than do so and if I were you I'd talk to your manger or HR person at work for advice about next steps. You don't want this issue looming over you while you are away
Your priority should be your health and your pg.
Your MW is saying it looks like stress in pregnancy, She is talking aboiiiut taking the time off. DO IT!
And don't feel guilty. Why would you feel guilty?
For leaving more work to them when they have created the problem in the first place?
For being unable to cope with daily bullying and exclusion?
I would have a word with your HT though and I'm surprised you haven't done so before. Not because of what is happening now. But because in 6 months, a years time, you will back at work with the same women and you need that issue sorted out.
Op I wouldn't make any decisions about starting maternity leave early or going off sick until you have Appleby to the HT. from what you have put they are bullying you and that isn't right or fair.
I would perhaps phrase it along the lines of concerned about it getting worse and being awkward when you return after baby if not resolved before your maternity leave.
I had a similar situation when I was pregnant. I was forced into a job at the company I worked for, the role was created and at no time was it advertised or open for applications. Understandably the team were pretty pissed off. The fact that my role meant that I was effectively their boss when our actual boss wasn't around and subsequently left didn't help. They went out of their way to make my life hell til I broke and was signed off with depression and anxiety. It really tainted my pregnancy and because I was the "boss" at the time I had no where to go as those above me made it clear they weren't planning to deal with it. I never returned and got a new job
Have you double checked your outgoing emails. It sounds like they suspect you to have maybe been bitching about them in these personal emails they found?
Do you think there is any jealousy about your pregnancy? it is a shame you put yourself so totally in the wrong emailing your husband at work. Have you shown any resentment to the person who (quite rightly) reported you? If this is at the heart of it, maybe a chat with her would clear the air?
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