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to feel discriminated at work for not having children

(199 Posts)
rosieposie2 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:38:18

Don't get me wrong I have a lot of respect for working mothers/fathers but recently in work have been feeling discriminated against.

There are 6 people in my department, 3 mothers, 1 father (John) and myself and another(Sue) without a child. Three of us at work take it in turns to work till 6 (the 3 mothers can't as they have children to pick up from nursery).

Last Thursday I asked to leave at 5.30pm as I had an appointment, Sue was rota'd to work till 6 but phoned in sick and John couldn't because he had to look after his children. Our manager told us that one of us would have to stay till 6pm and all the parents said that it would have to be me.

I understand that they all had children to pick up but then one of them turns round and says hubby is picking daughter up and she's going shopping!

AIBU to feel that because I'm childless I should be made to feel worthless.

LindyHemming Mon 14-Mar-16 20:40:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RockUnit Mon 14-Mar-16 20:41:11

YANBU. If you're making allowances for others they should be prepared to do the same for you.

SohowdoIdothis Mon 14-Mar-16 20:41:18

Why are you expected to do all the late cover?

IsItMeOr Mon 14-Mar-16 20:42:58

What actually happened? Did you get to your appointment?

DontCareHowIWantItNow Mon 14-Mar-16 20:43:57

YANBU. It is completely unfair

theycallmemellojello Mon 14-Mar-16 20:44:36

I don't think that giving parents leeway (provided they make up their hours) is discrimination (quite the reverse).

Your company needs a clear policy on taking time off. It might be that you need to take advantage of that policy less being childless, but it should still be there for you (and should cover stuff like doctor's appointments).

Also am I missing something - but did your coworker go shopping in office time - that's nothing to do with having kids.

rosieposie2 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:46:15

no one in the department worked till 6, manager was not happy. Yes i went to my appointment was to important to miss

Paramiribella Mon 14-Mar-16 20:47:02

Shopping lady is out of order. And I'm a working mum

ScOffasDyke Mon 14-Mar-16 20:47:17

All 6 of you should take it in turns to stay until 6pm, if that is a requirement of the job

rosieposie2 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:47:33

theycallme - no she finished at 5.30pm and was not willing to work till 6pm because she was going shopping. One mother has even said that having a child gives her an excuse to not do extra hours/work late!

Janeymoo50 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:47:39

Where i worked the parents could leave early for pick ups, etc, nativity, parents evening, Brownies, but when I asked to leave early to take my cat to the vet (she had mouth cancer and was being pts), I was told no I would have to take annual leave/half day. There is sometimes clear discrimination against non parents in the workplace.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Mon 14-Mar-16 20:48:13

There should be a reciprocal situation that benefits you if you are doing all that late cover, a half day in a Wednesday. However I think work places need to be more parent friendly so I would see that as s good thing in your workplace.

ghostyslovesheep Mon 14-Mar-16 20:49:52

All 6 of you should take it in turns to stay until 6pm, if that is a requirement of the job this!

I am a single parent but if I have to work late I get cover from my CM, PIL or Ex - I have to go away over night Weds for a meeting Thursday - not in my contract it's just geography - Having kids and working is hard but not impossible

Parker231 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:51:20

In my office everyone is treated the same - if early or late working is required I expect everyone to take their turn regardless of their childcare arrangements. The early and lates are known well in advance so plenty of time to sort out family arrangements. It's the same over holidays - no one gets preferential treatment for taking time off during school holidays.

scarlets Mon 14-Mar-16 20:52:42

This reminds me of a thread that was posted before Christmas by a woman whose unofficial workplace policy was that parents had Christmas Day off, and as a result she was unable to see her mum because she was obliged to work.

There has to be a fair compromise, surely.

MrsDeVere Mon 14-Mar-16 20:54:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RudeElf Mon 14-Mar-16 20:54:47

Not acceptable! The policy needs changed. All staff should be rota'd on to work to 6 on rotation. Having children is no more of a reason not to do it than having a cat or a roast in the oven. Its a reason but doesnt get to trump all others. Your employer needs to address this.

IsItMeOr Mon 14-Mar-16 20:54:59

Well the shopping lady was being unreasonable, as special consideration doesn't cover that. What was the consequence for you of the office not being covered?

JolseBaby Mon 14-Mar-16 20:56:48

Been there, done that, left and went to work somewhere else. I had 4 years on the trot of never having any time off during any school holiday, or around bank holidays, or during the entire Christmas fortnight. 4 years of always being the one that stayed behind, held the fort and volunteered to let the parents go early because of school play/judo/ballet/whatever.

For 3 years and 9 months it was fine. Until my DM was taken extremely ill and I needed some holiday time at short notice. It clashed with half-term and I was accused of being selfish for asking to book it, despite explaining the circumstances. I put my foot down and I took the time - had to threaten a grievance before my manager would authorise it. I spent the remaining 3 months looking for another job and then working my notice.

lunar1 Mon 14-Mar-16 20:59:40

If it's part of the job you are all paid to do then having children is no reason not to take their turn.

If they can't fulfil the job requirements then they should find something that suits them better.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Mon 14-Mar-16 21:00:32

I have to say while I think the office policy should be fair I am a bit hmm about parents not supporting the notion of flexible work practices for parents. The reality is half of the top talent in the world is female unless we can support parents in the workplace then a default situation occurs where one parent cannot work and very often that ends up being a woman. While the OP is getting a raw deal which should be more blanched I would commend the workplace for trying to accommodate parents.

rosieposie2 Mon 14-Mar-16 21:00:49

mrsdevere - not sure who I could talk to about it in the past 2 years we have had 3 different managers who all seem to be ok about it.

I was rota'd till 5.30pm tonight but asked my manager if i could finish at 4.30pm as I had an appointment, he said fine as long as someone was in till 6 (which there was). Ive just been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires close monitoring, I will need blood tests every month and if I'm feeling unwell will need an emergency blood test that day. Im more than willing to work till 6pm but my health comes first, just like their children come first.

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Mon 14-Mar-16 21:01:14

Balanced not blanched.

StealthPolarBear Mon 14-Mar-16 21:04:56

I assume it is part of all your contracts?
Was there any come back when the office was left unmanned and who got the blame?

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