Pregnant dealing with abusive boss

(31 Posts)
Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 12:49:39

Hello, I'm new. Hoping to get some advice about my sad situation

My boss is a psychopathic tyrant. Always has been.
I'm now in my early 2nd trimester, and have a fairly heavy work load that I manage all aspects of on my own, with boss' input on rare occasions, b/c he can't be bothered to do more. I was just about dealing with it and had every intention of seeing these multiple projects through before I took maternity leave...

I am quite competent and have taken a lot of responsibility dealing with unreasonable client demands but my boss is a coward and rather than back me up and support me, he had one of his wonderful tantrums. He belittled my capabilities and performance in front of the entire office. I.was.LIVID!!!! I finished up what I was doing and left the office early.

What I'd like to know are my rights:

- I intend to get signed off of work by my GP tomorrow
- Should I be signed off due to work stress or pregnancy related reasons??
(I have had 2 high blood pressure readings recently)

- if I get signed off for more than a week, these projects I've been working on will suffer and my relationship to the office will be very, very hostile on my return.
- I do not plan to go back to this hell at the end of maternity leave.
- I've work there for over a decade and they owe me £8,000 in unpaid wages due to recession period.
- they are a small firm with no HR department
- they are nasty and unprofessional people who cannot be reasoned with.
- I barely get enough sleep, I'm extremely upset and feel very unmotivated to go back to work.
- I do not want to lose money on account of this bully. Originally the plan was to start maternity leave in mid- July.
- as I understand, legally they cannot force me to start maternity leave before my 36th week of pregnancy which would be early August.

What are my options?

Thanks for reading.

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 13:30:55

If your GP feels you are not fit for work he/she will decide what to sign you off with. Although you do realise you can self-certify for the first week?

Have to say though, you sound angry with your boss rather than too unwell to go to work.

In terms of your options, well it depends what you are hoping to achieve really? If your aim is to start maternity leave (and therefore effectively leave work) as soon as possible, then you can bring it forward to 29 weeks if you want to. If at the 36 week point you are off sick for pg-related reasons then your employer can forcibly start your maternity leave. Otherwise it will start on whatever date you choose.

Do your employers agree that they owe you £8,000 and is there a plan in place to pay that to you?

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 14:15:06

Thanks for your response. But my intention was NOT to be forced into starting maternity leave earlier than say my 32nd week.

This is not about just being pissed off. This is about dealing with extreme stress caused by emotional and verbal abuse in the work place. His attack on me was completely unwarranted and unprofessional, rendering my work environment toxic, absolutely intolerable and because I'm pregnant I feel the stress much much more acutely. This has effected my sleep and emotional well being.

As I understand it, I have 3 months from the time I leave their employment to agree on a payment schedule in writing for the money owed or We will go through an employment tribunal. I would hope it's clear cut. I'm on salary. I should get paid monthly wages. They did not pay me 4 mos of wages between the years 20-- and 20--. I did not agree to forfeit this money. All 10 ex-employees who have smartly left this office have managed to eventually get their money back.

CinnasStarTribute Sun 10-Apr-16 14:20:07

If you are confident you will eventually get what you are owed and have proof etc for tribunal then the owed wages is kind of moot, as long as you can afford to be without it until you get it?

WRT stress etc I was signed off from about 30 weeks I believe with DS2 my docs at the time were not really invasive about it and just did the sicknote repeatedly saying stress. As this was not strictly a pregnancy complication company couldnt force me onto mat leave earlier than my ontention but it did fuck up financially what I recieved for the first 6 weeks at 90% as it was on sick pay not earnings.

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 14:27:14

I realise that I can be off the first week without a doctors note, but I guess my query has more to do with the implications of being signed off for more than a week. At the moment, I do not want to go back...ever

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 14:35:02

That's interesting. So if your signed off due to work stress, not strictly pregnancy related reasons then you are on sick pay and it will effect your first 6 weeks of maternity pay?

Penfold007 Sun 10-Apr-16 14:44:50

It might be worth having a chat with ACAS on Monday morning. If you GP thinks you are not well enough to work they may sign you off but as you walked out of work your employer might think you've resigned on the spot. It would be worth getting advice on constructive dismissal.

CountryLovingGirl Sun 10-Apr-16 14:50:46

Gosh, your boss sounds like a right one! You have my total sympathy.

I would go for work related stress as that is what it is. You are being bullied. I would go sick for the entire time under conditions like that (a GP would be supportive). Take maternity pay and resign at the end. You could even take him to a tribunal for bullying (constructive dismissal) as well as the money owed.

He will lose a good worker!

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 14:54:17

I should speak to Ada's, but I only left 30mins earlier than I normally do, after sending off a report. I told an associate I was feeling unwell. So it's unlikely they think I've resigned.

CountryLovingGirl Sun 10-Apr-16 14:54:53

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_dismissal

You have plenty of witnesses to his behaviour too. Would they back you?

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 15:06:38

Thanks Countrylovinggirl for your support! I really appreciate it.
I've actually looked into constructive dismissal before due to the unpaid wages issue. I just didn't want it to get nasty at the time.

By no means am I the only one whose been targeted by his vitriol. He is infamous for it and leaves everyone deflated and demoralised.

CinnasStarTribute Sun 10-Apr-16 15:12:44

Seems to me that going signed off with stress then going for constructive is your best bet. Good luck no one should be treated that way.

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 16:11:16

"So if your signed off due to work stress, not strictly pregnancy related reasons then you are on sick pay and it will effect your first 6 weeks of maternity pay?"

The reason for your sickness absence makes no difference to your pay. If you are signed off sick, you'll be on whatever sick pay you'd be entitled to normally. So yes, assuming that isn't full pay, your SMP will be affected.

I disagree completely that constructive dismissal is your best bet tbh. Constructive dismissal is incredibly difficult to prove and stressful a claim to bring. It will take months, and you will be expected to have exhausted internal routes to resolving the problem first. A "last straw" incident can help, but being yelled at by you boss in front of everyone, while of course unacceptable, doesn't = a solid constructive dismissal claim. If it happens regularly and you have raised grievances about it before, and it keeps happening, that would probably make a stronger claim. But really, a constructive dismissal claim is the last thing I'd want to be doing during pregnancy and with a new baby in tow. It will cost money to put in the claim, it is going to result in mud-slinging and unpleasantness and as I say, is extremely difficult to prove therefore chances of success are not high. Is that really worth it if you're not going back anyway? Is it not better to leave it all behind entirely in a few weeks when you're going off on maternity leave?

You say you have no intention of being forced on maternity leave earlier than 32 weeks - well as I say, they can't force you on maternity leave until 36 weeks. But if you aren't going back anyway and don't want to be there, bringing it forward as early as possible seems like an option.

Your GP may agree that you are too stressed to work at the moment, but it's a bit leap to assume at 14 weeks pregnant or so, that you'll be unfit to work for the entire duration of the rest of your pregnancy, so I think coming up with a strategy to help you deal with work and make it bearable for the rest of your time there might be a sensible thing to do. And unless you have incredibly generous sick pay entitlement, why sacrifice the money rather than find strategies to manage through the next 3 months and continue to get paid as normal?

2ManySweets Sun 10-Apr-16 16:17:35

Please contact ACAS and do it ASAP (pardon the pun). I had a boss like this and you have no option but to dig very deep and take the advice ACAS give. You may end up f--King up your mat pay otherwise.

Are you in a position to get legal advice from an employment lawyer as I think you have a strong case for constructive dismissal.

Couple that with you being pregnant and your boss being directly responsible for your stress (please say you've recorded these incidents; if not start NOW) your case is even stronger.

If you can afford legal advice and potentially representation go for it. X

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 16:39:55

"I think you have a strong case for constructive dismissal."

And I think that's an irresponsible thing to say, assuming you are basing it on the same information I'm seeing on this thread. Loads of people get shouted at by their boss, and most of them wouldn't have a "strong case" for constructive dismissal.

The OP might have a case, but there is no way at all anyone can say it's "strong" based on what she's said. A "strong case" for constructive dismissal based on bullying is pretty unusual in itself, the strongest constructive dismissal cases are based around clear indisputable, easily-proved breaches of the employment contract by the employer.

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 16:51:36

Thanks flowery, that's informative. I'm with you on the constructive dismissal as I've looked into it before due to the wages issue and would like to avoid it. There have been vague remarks about paying us back, but I've been too afraid to push for it while still working there as my boss will become very aggressive and hostile, even though I have a right to that money and he should be thanking me for being so patient. That is the type of personality I have to deal with.

I have no idea if my pay is affected by sickness. Assumed it didn't.

I want to be on full pay To maximise my income that is why I do not want to take early maternity. I'm 18 weeks pregnant and I feel cannot deal with this twisted, deranged man any longer. I've put up with this chronic abuse for a long time due to my visa being tied to them ( it's not any longer). I cannot reason with him to make work okay for me. He honestly has a psychological disorder. It's either go back and wait for the next abusive tirade or I don't know what. I reached my breaking point.

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 17:01:29

Thanks CinnasStar and 2ManySweets. Sometimes it's just nice to get some sympathy. I'm actually crying right now.

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 17:01:47

Your contract would normally contain information about sick pay, or a staff handbook/policy if you have one. If there is nothing in your contract or a policy stating that you have enhanced contractual sick pay, then you should assume that going off sick (regardless of the reason) will mean statutory sick pay only, which is nothing for the first three days, then £88ish a week thereafter. Obviously this would have an impact on your entitlement to statutory maternity pay so do check that before getting signed off for longer than a week or two.

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 17:01:53

Your contract would normally contain information about sick pay, or a staff handbook/policy if you have one. If there is nothing in your contract or a policy stating that you have enhanced contractual sick pay, then you should assume that going off sick (regardless of the reason) will mean statutory sick pay only, which is nothing for the first three days, then £88ish a week thereafter. Obviously this would have an impact on your entitlement to statutory maternity pay so do check that before getting signed off for longer than a week or two.

2ManySweets Sun 10-Apr-16 17:03:10

It's not irresponsible to say "seek advice".

It's irresponsible to say "sue".

Jesus, flowery I've been there myself, I've looked into it, as stated in my post.

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 17:43:53

April is the start of the financial year, correct?
My entitled holidays are 20 days, so this can be tacked onto my last remaining days at work before maternity leave thus shortening my time there.
What else can I do?

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 18:38:21

I did not say it was irresponsible to tell someone to seek advice, so please don't make yourself look ridiculous by claiming I did 2manysweets.

I very specifically quoted the bit of your post that I felt was irresponsible, which was the bit where, based on very little information, you decided you were in a position to advise the OP that she has a "strong case for constructive dismissal".

Giving that kind of advice is irresponsible, and the fact that you may have been in a similar situation and, I'm sure, were trying to be helpful, doesn't change that I'm afraid.

flowery Sun 10-Apr-16 18:56:04

OP if you want to stay on full pay you need to either be at work or on annual leave I'm afraid.

PrimalLass Sun 10-Apr-16 19:07:46

That's interesting. So if your signed off due to work stress, not strictly pregnancy related reasons then you are on sick pay and it will effect your first 6 weeks of maternity pay?

Your 6 weeks at 90% is worked out by averaging your salary the months either side of the qualifying week (week 28). So, with DS that worked out hugely in my favour as one of those months was annual bonus time.

Niceynice2014 Sun 10-Apr-16 20:20:50

Okay, the terminology may not be correct but when I say "entitled holiday", I mean annual leave. So I have 20 days "annual leave" and this will count toward leaving earlier. Great.

I'm think ''pregnancy related stress' is actually a viable option, of course at the discretion of the GP. I will go to my midwife if necessary.

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