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to feel discriminated against at work for not having children???

(627 Posts)
chicdiana1980 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:21:44

I was accidentally copied into an email at work yesterday and I am really thinking about going to some kind of tribunal about this. I was feeling p*ssed off already but this is the tip of the iceburg!

to give you a background, I work for a fairly small company, office based. Pretty much everyone else in the office has children, and they are mostly young children. I don't have any children, and I am happy with this, but I feel like I get the brunt of it at work.

It seems like noone ever questions people when they take extra time off if they just say it's because of their children. Mostly it's leaving early pretty much every day to pick up children from school. Others who don't do this have 'parents evenings' or school plays or things, or get in late after the 'school run,' always laughing about how it's so stressful and that's I'm lucky. Sick days when the children are sick - how is this fair? Sick days are for the employee, not for employee and any family.

There has to be cover for the whole day, so it is usually me who ends up having to stay until the end, or get in early, so that someone is there. I regularly have to stay late as the colleagues who fly off at 3:30 to school leaves work that needs to be done. They say that they make it up in the mornings or at other times, but it's really no help.

Anyway, this has been going on for years now and I got to the stage where I thought I would just have to accept it as one of those things. But I was copied into an email (accidentally) which was obviously a round robin which had been going around my colleagues and the last person sent it to the entire office, not just their 'select group' (the select group being pretty much everyone but me). They were talking about who was going to be leaving early - and essentially they all were, leaving someone to say 'so who's gonna cover until the end ;),' and the last person said 'guess who. it's not like she has anything else to do anyway!'

I am seriously furious about this. I don't work Wednesdays but I am seriously considering going straight to ACAS or someone (our office is so small there is no real HR department) to make a complaint about this. I have been in tears for most of the morning - but before I do anything, would it be unreasonable to do this?

Sciurus83 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:26:53

I'm sorry, this is really shitty for you flowers those monsters! I also have no kids, I offer to cover to help out colleagues when they need but they would NEVER treat me in this way. I think you are completely justified in making a fuss about this, it's disgraceful. Was a manager on this thread?

lougle Wed 02-Nov-16 14:29:46

That's deeply unpleasant. As a working parent, I don't consider time when I'm going the school run as 'time off' - it's just something I have to do, but I never use my status as a mother to engineer my work pattern.

HelenaDove Wed 02-Nov-16 14:30:08

As a childfree by choice person myself i appreciate how hard it is for working parents especially when a child is ill. (i dont currently work as im a full time carer) However the attitude in that e mail reeks!

rollonthesummer Wed 02-Nov-16 14:30:34

Sounds like a crap place for you to work-I would leave.

Timeforabiscuit Wed 02-Nov-16 14:30:34

No, its not unreasonable, that comment would have anyones blood boiling - especially with all the good will youve shown over the years.

Can you sit down with your line manager witha copy of the email and state really clearly that you're being treated unequally in the workplace?

Certainly get advice from acas on appropriate language to use, but try to play with the end in mind - you want a more equitable relationship? Your contribution to be respected/reciprocated? Or that last comment colleague to be dropped in a very deep pit.

Calmly laying it down in a meeting will make your message far stronger, though its gutting that your colleagues are so snakey.

Bluntness100 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:32:59

Yes, it's unreasonable and heavy handed, you're only doing it because you are hurt or upset

Call a sickie instead and say you have to take the rest of the day off, or call a family emergency, whatever, but just fuck off and leave them to sort it out.

Little victories, 😃

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 02-Nov-16 14:32:59

It was a shitty email. And they shouldn't expect other people to pick up the slack.

However, this website is mainly for and by parents, who know exactly how hard it is when you have young children and they are sick or need you. It is stressful (we have no family support) and if it is obvious that you think they are skivvers for prioritising their families, they may feel less than sympathetic towards you.

My workplace let's us use sick days up to a certain number for family sickness, otherwise I have no clue what I would do.

HelenaDove Wed 02-Nov-16 14:33:06

And im expecting the usual threads that always appear at this time of year..........from childless/childfree ppl who are always expected to work the Christmases and can have New Year off instead.

Cos if you dont have kids you must want to get pissed up at New Year and dont mind missing Christmas every year.

gandalf456 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:33:30

The comment and their attitude is not very nice, no. I would also be cross if they were on the same salary. If they are leaving at 3 then they are part time, aren't they?

However, if they are getting a part time wage, I think it's fair enough and more of a management problem for not getting more full timers in so that it is not just you in the office until 5.

44PumpLane Wed 02-Nov-16 14:36:54

I think you need to approach your manager and basically tell them what you've said here, then show them the email.

I would make it known to your manager you feel taken advantage of by your colleagues and that you will no longer stand for this.

Your colleagues sound like massive bellends and you should never do them any favours ever again!

chicdiana1980 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:39:06

I appreciate that having children must make it difficult to manage time, but no-one has forced them to have children. It is a choice, and the way I see it, if they cannot then manage their time that's their problem, it shouldn't impact on me.

The office runs a flexitime policy, so full timers can still leave at 3:30 (but not before). The time is supposed to be made up, but I know that the time sheets are never checked and my colleagues just adjust them to show a full day.

I would bring this up with my manager but she is just the same - and yes, she was copied into and contributing to the email thread!

TaterTots Wed 02-Nov-16 14:40:09

Forward to the message to your personal email address to prevent any 'system errors' - then take a hard copy to your boss and calmly state that you'd like this to be looked into.

TaterTots Wed 02-Nov-16 14:42:33

Cross-post - I hadn't seen your manager was in on it shock Can you go over her head?

If not, I'd do what Bluntness suggested and call in sick at the most inconvenient time possible for the rest of them.

rollonthesummer Wed 02-Nov-16 14:44:14

Is there a boss above your manager that you could talk to?

YelloDraw Wed 02-Nov-16 14:46:21

I would develop a caring responsibility of your own.

"oh sorry, I've got to leave at 3 to get home for Bella"

"Bella isn't very well, can't stay late today!"

They don't need to know that Bella is your new pot plant.

Allthewaves Wed 02-Nov-16 14:48:10

Make sure you save email and make hard copies.

I'd get some advice from acas or union and approach manager.

Do you have set hours? Who tells u to come in early or stay late to cover for colleges?

What you fellow staff do or don't do with their hours is up to them so wouldn't mention their time keeping or using sick. You can't be used to fill the gap.

Rollonbedtime7pm Wed 02-Nov-16 14:48:46

That is a really bad attitude for them to have towards you, there should surely be some give and take across the team. So for that YANBU.

However it drives me batshit when people think that parents just have freebie days off when kids are ill - it is far more likely they are using leave or taking an unpaid day (that's what we have to do) so YABU for making assumptions about what they are up to.

Allthewaves Wed 02-Nov-16 14:52:53

You don't need up bring up their time keeping. You can highlight that you are doing an unacceptable number of early or late finishes. Keep it in that context. You don't want to come across bitching about colleges. You just need to concern your working.

If work hasnt been finished and they all disappeared at 3pm then send an email explaining this.

chickychickyparmparm Wed 02-Nov-16 14:52:59

That's really shitty. It IS hard to be a working parent, and juggle the balls of childcare/sickness/unexpected events, but it shouldn't impact you.

I would also be fuming at the smug "she doesn't have anything else to do" comment, as if being child free means you're sitting round idly.

Spadequeen Wed 02-Nov-16 14:53:23

I start work late and have left early today for childcare reason, however I don't have a lunch hour and work part time. And I would never treat anyone else like they do you.

How your colleagues discussed you is dreadful.

I agree you need to discuss this with your manager. I would be wary of leaving early today so they don't think you are doing to upset colleagues plans.

Spadequeen Wed 02-Nov-16 14:53:58

Hit press too soon

... and it might go against you.

Good luck

Sonders Wed 02-Nov-16 14:54:03

Can you not reply all and say "I know you guys can't be talking about me, because that would be horridly unprofessional. Oh manager, could we a chat when you're free about the workload distribution in the office, I feel it's time for change"

lasttimeround Wed 02-Nov-16 14:54:47

Raise it with your manager and ask if you can get occasional time of on lieu for covering for others when they take time off. Then enjoy long weekends once a month.

BolivarAtasco Wed 02-Nov-16 14:57:54

I'd raise it with my manager, but I'd also refuse to cover for them any more. let them sort out their own cover. Next time they ask, just refuse and don't be swayed by any pleading.

Everyone in my team has DCs except me, but no-one has ever expected me to pick up the slack because of it.

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