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Being punished at work during a really difficult time

(314 Posts)
Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 20:40:16

28 weeks pregnant and having a difficult couple of weeks. Some issues were flagged up at a growth scan, I opted for an amniocentesis, no results yet but been told to prepare myself. I'm obviously devastated and have been a mess since it all happened.

I left work to go to the scan, with it being taken as an ante-natal appointment and to go back afterwards, obviously after getting bad news and spending a long time talking to the consultant I over ran until my office had shut.

I didn't sleep at all that night, I suffer from anxiety anyway and this just made me a complete wreck. I text my manager in the morning saying I wouldn't be in, just explaining I had some concerns with my pregnancy and that I was very upset. He replied saying "You know policy Habbs, sorry but I need a phone call" I didn't feel up to it but I know it's procedure so I rang, within 30 seconds I was hysterical which I know is embarrassing as a grown woman/supposed professional but I'm just a wreck with it all. I ended up having to end the call because I couldn't speak I was so upset. I text and said I'm so sorry, I'm really struggling to hold myself together enough to speak about it. No reply.

I had the amnio the next day, I didn't want to text again so I emailed his work address just to explain I was having an amnio, that I'm sorry for not being more professional and that once I knew more I'd be in touch properly. Thanked him for understanding and apologised for leaving the team short for the remainder of the week. No reply.

It's been a few days since, I've been home with DH just in bits. Every now and then it just hits me and I panic and cry. I'm barely sleeping and having a lot of panic attacks. Manager hadn't been in touch since and I thought it was understood that I was just having a few days to deal with everything.

I've had an email now with a letter attached about a disciplinary hearing for a week unauthorised absence due to 'lack of adequate contact' and it's really hurt me. I've never done anything like this before but I'm really struggling, I tried to speak to him and couldn't pull myself together enough. It just seems such insensitive timing to do this when I've got a lot on my plate waiting for results. I'm not sure what to do? I know companies have policies but surely for something like this you would give people a little bit of slack? I'm already so worried about my baby and now I'm worried about my job too.

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:44:32

I'm really sorry you're going through this with your pregnancy. I hope it works out well for you.

As for your employer, as harsh as it may be, they are simply following policy. You know you need to phone in daily and can't just email and take the rest of the week off. As harsh as it is, this is the policy. I'm sorry.

Could they ha e cut you some slack. Sure. But they didn't. And as harsh as it is, this is their right.

t1mum3 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:44:52

You poor thing. What a horrible situation. How long have you been off for without contact? I would try to make a GP appointment tomorrow morning to ask to be signed off with stress.

RChick Wed 24-Apr-19 20:47:05

Do you have an HR team at work? If so, I'd suggest speaking with them. I'm sorry your boss is being an arse and I hope your results are good.

Stompythedinosaur Wed 24-Apr-19 20:48:23

Are you in a union? If you are then contact them for advice.

I'm a bit torn over this, as I can see you are under a lot of stress (and I hope your baby is ok) but I have also been the manager on the receiving end of texts and emails to my personal number/email telling me colleague can't come in for shifts and it makes things very difficult. I don't think it is unreasonable of your manager to want to have a conversation if you are not coming in to work.

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:48:39

How long have you been off op, has it been more than a week? Did you get signed off by your gp? If not can you go and see your gp ASAP?

PinkiOcelot Wed 24-Apr-19 20:48:48

Could your husband not have phoned in and explained the situation to your boss?

Hope things work out fine for you xx

Famalamaringwrong Wed 24-Apr-19 20:50:00

Omg that's so so bad!! Go to the disciplinary and absolutely slate him. Show whoever you need to proof of the texts and call you did try to make. Be careful getting signed off as it could start your mat leave. Good luck to you.

Russell19 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:50:08

That is awful! I would ring HR. Or can your husband ring HR? That's an awful way to treat staff. He knew the situation, its not like you didn't call at all.

Doidontimmm Wed 24-Apr-19 20:50:17

Sorry I have to agree with Bluntness. I totally appreciate how awful this is but it did not seem as if you properly explained to them how long you would be off. I understand about anxiety and calling but you needed to follow procedure or even ask dh to call, explain and ask them what you needed to do re contact.

I’m sure the disciplinary won’t come to much so please don’t worry too much.

Sorry for what you are going through.

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:51:37

Go to the disciplinary and absolutely slate him

Please don't do this, you will likely lose your job if, as I suspect, you've been off for longer than you can self certify for.

Doidontimmm Wed 24-Apr-19 20:52:28

Ps I did work in HR for 10 years and it’s the lack of contact that’s the issue here, no matter the reason (unless incapacitated obviously).

Cherrysoup Wed 24-Apr-19 20:52:51

Is it just in education where time off for pregnancy related stuff doesn’t count?

HaventGotAllDay Wed 24-Apr-19 20:57:21

In the kindest possible way, you can't just not contact your workplace.
From what you've said, you've not been in touch since you emailed about the amnio?
They might think you've done a runner. They might think all sorts. Are you not even signed off?
Just put yourself in your HR's position. Employee emails to say she is having an amnio. Then they hear nothing else.
That's pretty outrageous behaviour and I think you need a) union advice on how to claw back your reputation b) get signed off properly

TheInvestigator Wed 24-Apr-19 20:58:15

Unfortunately your tragedy is not your employers.

You went to your appointment and then just didn't go back in and didn't get in touch with them. Then you email text instead of calling. Then you email instead of calling. You didn't confirm how many days you'd be off or sort out a return date. It's not OK to do that.

Of course your upset and struggling, but you can't expect them to just ignore they'd policy and their expectation when they have a business to run. They would have given you the time off; they wouldn't havnt forced you to come in. The problem is, you didn't actually speak to them.

TheInvestigator Wed 24-Apr-19 20:59:48


You can have the time off but you need to actually speak to your employer. You can't just email that you've got an amnio and then just take a week off.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 24-Apr-19 20:59:55

I hope all is well with you results op.

But your manager is only doing his job properly. You know you have to ring in and you didn’t. We have to as well, and it has to be us personally, not someone on our behalf such as a dh.

Good luck with everything.

DonkeyHohtay Wed 24-Apr-19 21:00:49

It's not that she's off sick.

The issue is that, from the employer's perspective, she is AWOL. She hasn't called and hasn't followed the procedure for letting work know she won't be in. They haven't a clue what is going on and are understandably asking questions.

OP - get someone you trust to call work for you. Explain that you are having a very difficult pregnancy and are not fit for work. They will have to keep calling in evert couple of days. And if you are off for more than a week, you'll need a doctor's note.

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:01:37

It's more than the lack of communication though, it reads like the op has maybe been off for nearly two weeks, and you can't self certify for that, you need a gp to sign you off.

Ali1cedowntherabbithole Wed 24-Apr-19 21:01:51

flowers I'm so sorry to hear about your stressful pregnancy. and really sorry about your arse of a boss. There is following policy and there is being a complete dick.

Ask your GP or midwife for a sick certificate ASAP. If possible from the date of your growth scan until you are fit to return to work.

Contact HR or ACAS depending upon the size of your company. You can't be disciplined (or sacked) for pregnancy-related illness, but it is possible I suppose that your boss may try the "not following procedure" tack to discipline you.

Keep copies of texts and emails that you did send, so that you can show you made reasonable attempts to advise your manager what was happening.

It might be worth asking MNHQ to move this thread over to employment rights (or starting a new thread over there) to help you get the right advice.

Good luck.

luckylavender Wed 24-Apr-19 21:02:21

It's very hard but those are the rules. Please don't get your husband to ring for you, that's just as bad.

CherryPavlova Wed 24-Apr-19 21:03:05

Totally unacceptable management. Unkind and cruel. Also potentially/probably breaching equality legislation. Your pregnancy protects you from this sort of twaddle.
I’m really sorry your manager lacks emotional intelligence and empathy. You need to go on offensive and protect yourself from their bullying.
Contact HR and your union. Make it clear you had phoned as demanded and followed up with an email. Check your policy - does it say daily calls? I suspect not. Tell them you believe this is harassment due to pregnancy.
Do not go to disciplinary hearing when you feel so vulnerable. Get your GP or midwife to say you aren’t fit to attend. Take a couple of weeks off to strengthen your resolve and know what the amnio says.
So unfair to place you in such an unpleasant situation unnecessarily. I can’t imagine saying anything other than phone me or email me to let me know how you’re doing and then I’d send some flowers.
I can’t abide this sort of bullying hidden as managing to policy.

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:03:27

Doctors appointment tomorrow to get signed off, today is the 7th day so believed I was ok in self certing. I didn't think I was not getting in touch as in the email I'd said sorry for leaving the office short for a week but that I'd be in touch when I know more, I only work part time so some days haven't been my working days so it's not been a week straight of me missing shifts as such. When he didn't reply I stupidly misunderstood it as them just giving me space to deal with everything so the email today has totally thrown me off. I haven't tried to mess them around my head has just been a complete mess with everything and I thought it was sorted and have just been trying to get through this agonising wait. I was going to contact after the doctors tomorrow (and after the week mentioned in my email) but got beat to it by this email.

KnifeAngel Wed 24-Apr-19 21:03:35

You should have got your husband to ring if you couldn't do it yourself. They have to follow company policy and you didn't notify them sufficiently.

ballsdeep Wed 24-Apr-19 21:04:02

You should have phoned in or at least got your partner to do it. I know you're going through a shit time and I really hope everything works out but you can't just leave your workplace without any information

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