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To be furious for being called out for menstruating at work?

(560 Posts)
Snuffalo Tue 11-Jul-17 15:04:58

Having horrible menstrual cramps, naproxen isn’t touching it, and I remember I have a hot water bottle in my desk drawer - I used it all winter in my freezing office, and a few other people, male and female, have one as well - we have a rule against personal space heaters so it can be nice to have under your desk next to your feet.

Anyway. I fill the hot water bottle, nestle it in my lap, and I’m back to work. My sort-of-supervisor* we’ll call Guy comes over to talk to me about something, notices the hot water bottle, says “there’s no way you’re cold today, are you?” I say “um, no, just for the pain relief”. He looks confused and then literally horrified and then he walks away.

Less than ten minutes later, I get a Slack message from one of the HR admins (HR is based in another office a few hours away) to say “Guy says you’re not well and should go home, everything OK?”

I say “I’m fine, this is sort of weird, he just looked a bit shocked that I had a hot water bottle, I’ve got cramps, you know how it is.”

She goes silent and then offline completely, ten more minutes later, the HR Director calls me and asks me if I can find a meeting room, which I do. She then tells me that I shouldn’t disclose my medical problems to anyone who isn’t part of HR as it can make them uncomfortable. I’m literally shocked, I explain exactly what happened, she says “yes I understand, if you’re so unwell you need a hot water bottle you should be home, Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it’s unprofessional”. I say “this is weird, ok, anything else”? She’s quite breezy and professional - “No, that’s all, if you’re feeling better that’s great but if you need to, please do go home, OK bye!"

I’m just completely flabbergasted. Especially considering that Guy has been known to take meetings with clients whilst laying flat on the floor on his back because of back problems - which seems to me both unprofessional and likely to make people uncomfortable, not that I really cared personally. I wouldn’t have had my hot water bottle in a client meeting or even if clients were in the office.

Other people have standing desks, weird foot rests, all kinds of chairs and special backrests for their back pain and wrist braces for their wrist pain and a hundred other things and I’m not allowed to have a hot water bottle for my menstrual cramps? Am I right to be completely fucking furious?

*I normally have no problem with Guy, we don’t work closely, no one else does what I do at work but he comes closest and he does my nominal (and always positive) performance reviews and signs off on my holiday.

coffeecoffee14 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:23:19

Periods are not a medical problem. In fact, not having periods is often a medical problem😂. on a serious not though, if you said you were feeling sick, would he get uncomfortable at that as well😂 after all periods are just as normal as that is.

ExplodedCloud Tue 11-Jul-17 15:24:24

Good grief. What do they do if someone gets pregnant? Sign them off for conspicuous uterus?

Bunlicker Tue 11-Jul-17 15:24:49

I'd email him this.

And I'd buy him this.

RatherBeRiding Tue 11-Jul-17 15:24:59

I'd put in a complaint too. It's not exactly a medical problem - what if someone had seen you knocking back a couple of paracetamol and you mentioned they were for pain relief? Is that disclosing a medical problem??

Your HR need a bloody good talking to. As does Guy. But it's appalling to make such a fuss about someone having a hot water bottle. I regularly used to have one for back pain. It does seem like discrimination if other people are allowed aids to manage their various conditions, but you are told you should go home as you are making someone "uncomfortable"??

Bunlicker Tue 11-Jul-17 15:25:26

conspicuous uterus?

I had that once. It was awful

KoalaDownUnder Tue 11-Jul-17 15:25:27

Guy when he encounters the 'sanitary products' aisle of the supermarket.

FrToddUnctious Tue 11-Jul-17 15:25:37

Guy comes over to talk to me about something, notices the hot water bottle, says “there’s no way you’re cold today, are you?” I say “um, no, just for the pain relief”

So they are offended by you uttering the words "um, no, just for the pain relief” ?

Utterly bonkers. Maybe put something in writing about what was actually said as the guy may have been misleading in how he reported the conversation.

Valentine2 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:25:38

I think Guy was trying to be nice. Ended up messing it a bit.
I would ignore the lot of them and carry on. I would use this for a rainy day but I can be mean like that.

WinchestersInATardis Tue 11-Jul-17 15:25:59

Wow. Just wow. I would be fuming.

stumblymonkeyagain Tue 11-Jul-17 15:26:02

I think I would be tempted to explain, as though to a five year old, that you don't have medical issues, you have a period.

cjt110 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:26:05

How unprofessional of all involved.

Neutrogena Tue 11-Jul-17 15:27:51

Leave it. Let it go.
Guy is probably someone who still refers to it as the 'curse'...

frasersmummy Tue 11-Jul-17 15:29:14

Take one week in every 4 off..when they complain say you would be at work but you don't want to make guy uncomfortable...😂😂

Shadow666 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:29:20

Gary was trying to be nice? By reporting her to HR for having a period?

Snuffalo Tue 11-Jul-17 15:30:01

Oh my god, you are all making me laugh so hard. Things are definitely documented, and I'm definitely considering taking this over the head of HR. Either that, or calling in sick 3-4 days every month - as it's Guy, as my supervisor, who takes those calls. "Oh hey Guy, sorry, not feeling well, would you like to know why? No? OK, see you in a few days!"

scottishdiem Tue 11-Jul-17 15:30:19

Perhaps he read the stories on places like the Guardian where period pain is indeed mentioned as an equivalent of a medical condition and that menstrual leave is a good thing.

If you are in pain then is it not a good thing that your work is concerned about it and offering to let you go home sick.

Is it a good thing that period pain is recognised by the employer or a bad thing? Responses here suggest not which is odd.

Should the things that cause you pain be part of general office chit chat? Apparently periods yes - so what about other things?

upperlimit Tue 11-Jul-17 15:30:54

Oh no Op, you aren't being all female in the workplace are you?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 11-Jul-17 15:31:09

I'd put in a complaint, I've never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life!

KoalaDownUnder Tue 11-Jul-17 15:31:19

I actually would not let this go.

It's 2017, and your workday has to be interrupted so you can be scolded because 'Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it's unprofessional'??

Fuck no. Why do women still have to put up with that?

KoalaDownUnder Tue 11-Jul-17 15:32:25

Missing the point specularly there, scottish.

RhodaBorrocks Tue 11-Jul-17 15:32:31

The fuck am I reading?! That's appalling! Do they want to build an employee menstrual Hut while they're at it?

Dibbles1967 Tue 11-Jul-17 15:32:36

So Guy is questioning your inner thermostat, which then results in your having to tell him you simply require pain relief, then HR call a meeting?!

If you were sitting with it against your back, it wouldn't have been a problem.

If it was under your knee, not a problem.

If you had an ice pack on your ankle, not a problem.

Nothing you mentioned saying, disclosed any medical issues, which he clearly complained about. Surely the resulting comments from HR is some kind of gender discrimination?

WTF he takes meetings whilst lying down?! do you work in marketing per chance?

A strong letter to HR & a visit to the docs for pain management required (I had totally debilitating pain until I tried lots of pills but micronor finally did the trick for me)

SapphireStrange Tue 11-Jul-17 15:33:10

He's ridiculous but it's HR who are enabling it. What tits they sound.

I'd definitely complain. It's discriminatory, surely?

DoomGloomAndKaboom Tue 11-Jul-17 15:34:57

Well this is wonderful news. A few days a month they are sanctioning you to go home sick, in case your disgusting unclean womanly ugh-fest upsets your snowflake coworkers.

You must spread this news about the office, and make sure those who don't have periods also get a few days off a month, because it's not their fault they don't get to surf the crimson wave.

Tell HR you are uncomfortable with Guy's discomfort and you demand a cuddle. Or free beer. Or something.

How totally ridiculous. You might also complain that in asking if you were cold, with such surprise, Guy was forcing you to reveal the horror of your period, thus totally making you humiliate and embarrass him, a position you find wholly upsetting. So you'd like HR not to allow Guy to remark on hot water bottle use to you or anyone else, because now you're upset he's upset by the thing he did that made you upset him to the point where he is upset, which has upset you further.

Questioningeverything Tue 11-Jul-17 15:35:11

He feels uncomfortable?? How the fuck does he think you feel?

Period pain is a bitch

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