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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

Quartz2208 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:04:06

I am sorry your pregnancy is going this way but with respect you have failed to go into work for a week and not signed off properly - what did you think would ahppen?

You cant slate him - he apologised and asked you to call and after that you did not call him again merely sent 2 emails - he has a boss he has to go to

WhoWants2Know Wed 24-Apr-19 21:04:40

Pregnancy related illness doesn't count towards sick leave, but it's still necessary to follow policy.

Given what has happened, OP would probably have been best to go right to the GP and being signed off sick until things were more settled.

But since that didn't happen, is it worth going to the GP to discuss your stress levels? Then, if possible, speak to your union and HR.

(Is a policy like that absolute? What if someone is in an accident or hospital and unable to phone?)

Newyearbollocks Wed 24-Apr-19 21:05:05

Actually if you have text, emailed and phoned. That is adequate contact. It's also just as much works responsibility to contact you if they know the situation. I doubt he will get very far with the disciplinary. Get a few weeks sick note, and hand that it.
That's poor management.
But yes don't slate him at the meeting, simply state facts.
If someone is off work with awful anxiety and stress and can prove it. Which you can! His intentions will backfire.

Littlebelina Wed 24-Apr-19 21:05:09

To famalas point you can't be forced to go on maternity leave until 4 weeks before your estimated week of childbirth so don't worry about that.

As for the time off you can't turn back time now. If you need to take more time off make sure you do it by the book. Maybe ring acas (or union if you have one ) for advice. Be prepared for the meeting and explain the situation. They might be more sympathetic if they fully realise what has happened. Your time off sick can't be used against you if it's pregnancy related but suspect the not following the calling in procedure might. I've been in your shoes op and it is shit

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:05:13

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.

some of the worse advice on mumsnet ive seen she says the policy is to phone and she made 1 phone call and has been of a few days some of them she made no contact at all.

ConfCall Wed 24-Apr-19 21:06:26

I’m so sorry about your health OP, but I’d strongly suggest that you keep calm, cooperate and apologise for not communicating properly.

saraclara Wed 24-Apr-19 21:06:40

What I did when I couldn't face actually talking when I was in crisis with a tragic event, was to call work before anyone was in, and leave a message on the answering machine. In my place of work that was okay. In your case it would at least have been better than no message at all.

Wishing you well with the test results.

IsoscelesSandwich Wed 24-Apr-19 21:08:12

Honestly sometimes people are such sticklers for protocol. I’d never treat a member of staff like that, he knew what was going on, if your manager had any emotional intelligence he’d have coped.
I hope everything works out ok for you.

TheMaddHugger Wed 24-Apr-19 21:10:20

(((((((Huge soft Hugs, Madd Hugs))))))) Madd ((((((((Hugs)))))) 🔆🌻🔆💐

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Wed 24-Apr-19 21:11:04

I echo what others have said - I really hope you get good news about the results of the scan.

But I'm not quite sure I follow the timeline here as it's a Wednesday yet a "few days ago" you say you emailed to say you were having an amnio and apologised for leaving the team short-handed for the remainder of the week. So have you been off for over a week now with no further phone call after that first conversation? Your "once I knew more I'd be in touch properly" is a really vague way to leave things. You can see why they might be escalating this - if the policy is to ring in, you need to ring in. I can understand that you're upset and stressed, but you can still function - you typed a very coherent post here - so can surely manage a two minute phone call each day to say you're not coming in. And this would have saved you lots of additional stress and anxiety.

It seems dreadful because of what you are going through but their comment about "lack of adequate contact" is absolutely fair, I'm afraid.

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:11:37

The disciplinary hearing is booked for next week. If I am signed off do I still need to attend? I know how pathetic it sounds but I'm feeling very fragile at the moment and can just about hold it together but the second baby is mentioned, or it comes into my head I just burst into tears. As pathetic as it may be I won't be able to make it through a disciplinary without getting embarrassingly upset. I'm not in the right frame of mind.

Tunnocks34 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:13:08

I think they have been unkind. I have found myself in a similar situation. We found an abnormality at my 20 week scan, and I had an MRI yesterday at 23 weeks to decide if my baby would be ok and just require extra monitoring, or if he would die. Thankfully he is ok. However, I haven’t been in work for a week. I rang into work, and text my assistant head, emailed my head teacher. All supportive, caring and understanding.

I have been signed off until the 7th May. I offered to go to my GP to have my sicknote basically cancelled but they insisted I take the time to rest, and get myself back together.

There are policies in place of course, but human compassion and understanding shouldn’t be void and missing either. Employees aren’t robots and there are absolutely times when management should show some flexibility, and kindness.

I really hope you’re ok OP, and that you get the results you’re hoping for.

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:13:12

Actually if you have text, emailed and phoned. That is adequate contact she didnt she only made contact on 2 days then presumably he next 3 she did nothing 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'

QforCucumber Wed 24-Apr-19 21:13:24

I'm also on the fence a bit here, we've had some bad news this week regarding my pregnancy in that we are having to tfmr and the first thing I did was contact work - yes I was a sobbing mess for a good few minutes but managed to explain the situation, that my OP is tomorrow and would it be ok to take the rest of the week off and contact them Monday morning with an update? This was fine. I also kept them informed after having a mmc 5 years ago, advised procedures, results, dates and potential return to work dates -speaking to management each working week to keep them up to date too.
Pregnancy sickness isn't counted against you, and I'm so sorry for your news. But you need to keep them in the loop or they're none the wiser. Do they know when your results are due? Do they know the potential outcome and requirements?

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:13:25

Actually if you have text, emailed and phoned. That is adequate contact

Seriously you don't get to decide their absence policy and decide what's right, confused

As hard as it is, the op needed to follow policy and be signed off appropriately. She can't decide what's adequate either. That's really not how it works.

I'm sure the disciplinary will come to nothing, but all they have to go on is she was off last week, hasn't come in this week, and there has been no further contact.

Some terrible advice on here, but deciding their policy is irrelevant and what you personally deem adequate is what's relevant, is got to be the worst.

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:14:21

Onlyliving Yes I can type coherently which is why I was sending emails. The second I tried to speak to him i was inconsolable. I'm not saying it's right but I've never cried as much as I have this last week and had to end the call due to how hard I was sobbing. I have never text or emailed in before, I thought given he'd heard how upset I was trying to make one call that maybe he understood why I wasn't making them

Tunnocks34 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:14:35

And Habbs I understand, I couldn’t talk about the baby without crying, I couldn’t go into what will be his nursery, I cried writing the email and text to my boss, and hysterically wailed through each consultant appointment.

BabyBadger2 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:16:48

Yes there are policies but the OP and her manager are humans not robots and it seems as though there was no empathy at all in this interaction.

We have a strict policy too but as a manager I wouldn't dream of instigating formal proceedings without trying to initiate some contact (let alone ignoring your texts). Just something along the lines of 'how are you doing today' or 'Please could you send me an update when you are up to it - I'm really sorry to ask, but it's policy to check in every day.' Everywhere I've worked, managers usually have much more discretion than they let on, and could accept a text update in the circumstances.

Is there a back story? Do you get on with your manager usually? Have you taken a lot of sick leave in the past?

Definitely don't slate him, because technically you are in the wrong and wont have a leg to stand on if it does go further. Just explain the contact you did have - just the facts will make him look like an utter dick.

Dippypippy1980 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:16:56

While yes you should have given them more information and kept in better contact, surely they realise there is something seriously wrong?

If one of my team rang in after a medical appointment too distressed to speak and then emailed, I would have replied, offered support and gently established the timeline. Line manger discretion is key in very sensitive situations.

I would advise you to go to the hearing if you possibly can - with medical evidence. It’s okay if you cry. Take a union rep if you have one.

Apologies for not following protocol - but explain you were in a highly distressed state.

Tunnocks34 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:17:54

I agree babybadger

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:19:45

BabyBadger yes I think that's what I'm struggling with, when he replied to my initial message saying he needed a phone call I immediately obliged even though admittedly it didn't go well with me crying so hard he couldn't even make sense of me. I had no reply since even acknowledging the amnio or anything that was happening. I was ok with this at first as in my upset state misread it as them not pushing me to talk about it and just giving me space, but for him to then send this letter without checking if I'm ok or if my baby is ok just seems so insensitive. I've had some issues with my manager this pregnancy but that was a separate thread and had been sorted with HR.

Judystilldreamsofhorses Wed 24-Apr-19 21:20:10

OP, I hope you get good news about your scan.

In my work we are supposed to make contact each day of illness, but email is fine - I’m a lecturer, so would email in with instructions for my students if someone was covering classes. If signed off then it’s presumably different (never have been), and I have emailed my manager late afternoon to say I wouldn’t be in the next day due to an ongoing illness, like tonsillitis. I suspect your company is just following a procedure, because from their side it looks like you have gone AWOL, but I also suspect you will be treated sympathetically.

Newyearbollocks Wed 24-Apr-19 21:21:15

I'm not deciding what is right Policy wise. What I'm saying is. She HAS contacted work through all Avenues. Her boss hasn't replied to any bar one. Your management has an obligation to acknowledge your attempts to get in touch. If he had done this, she probably would have done something sooner. A disciplinary in less than a week after three lots of contact?
Seriously get of your high horse!

LetsDialDownTheIanPaisley Wed 24-Apr-19 21:22:00

It probably would have been fine if you had booked annual leave rather than doing sick days.

bebeboeuf Wed 24-Apr-19 21:22:59

I didn’t realise some work places were so strict about these things.
In situations like this I would expect an employer to be more sympathetic

Mine were in the same situation.
Sometimes I’ve been having breakdowns and just been unable to come in, unable to call.
It’s times like these where I really do feel lucky to have such caring understanding bosses

No one should feel like forcing themselves to explain when something is so recently sensitive. And not everyone has a DP or DH to do it for them

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:23:59

She HAS contacted work through all Avenues. she has to do it every day she didnt she didnt turn up to work on at least 3 days

bebeboeuf Wed 24-Apr-19 21:24:34

Annual leave for sick leave would have not been the right thing to do at all in this situation.

It’s important that leave is counted under maternity related time off correctly as it by law needs to be separate from standard sick leave

category12 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:24:46

I really think you should go in to the meeting. Take a trusted colleague for support. It doesn't matter if you cry. If you don't turn up, it'll look awful.

Treaclepie19 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:25:07

I'm so sorry they've been so insensitive. Sending huge hugs and well wishes for your results.
I hope the doctors can help and HR can help with a way forward. You don't need this worry right now.
Unfortunately we had to have an amnio and a TFMR with our baby boy in December so I really feel for you flowers

(Not to scare you of course, our little boy had an extremely rare condition and it was detected by 22 weeks so a different scenario)

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:25:20

Your management has an obligation to acknowledge your attempts to get in touch

Do you know rhe op and the company she works for? Because your posts are confusing. They are raising a disciplinary for inadequate contact, which based on what the op has said is policy is correct. But You stated it was wrong and it was adequate. You've now followed it up with her management obligations. Do you know her? Or are you just posting how it would be if you ruled the world?

Op, I also think this is harsh treatment. What were your previous issues. As they have jumped hard and fast here.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Wed 24-Apr-19 21:25:22

You said in the op that you told them via email that you’d be in touch when you knew more, but had no reply.
Was that seriously the last communication you had with them?? A full 7 days ago?
Sorry, but you must know how unprofessional and unacceptable that was?
What’s the state of play at the moment, wrt your planned return?

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Wed 24-Apr-19 21:25:45

Sorry, that was all questions...

ButtonMoonLoon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:25:48

In your shoes I would be
Getting yourself signed off with stress
Calling my union
Contacting HR and raising a grievance against your manager

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

Is it a large company ? Do they have an hr dept ?

bebeboeuf Wed 24-Apr-19 21:27:28

Good practical advice from button. That should make them realise they can’t be messing you about like this

oneforthepain Wed 24-Apr-19 21:27:35

You can only deal with the situation you're actually in now, not the one you wish you were in. I am sorry for what you're going through. You need to take charge of the parts within your control - dealing with work - so you don't have to keep worrying about them. It won't fix the bigger picture, but it will reduce the stress you're under and prevent things getting out of hand.

Failing to attend the disciplinary hearing is not going to help - either in practical terms, or with your anxiety. It will just snowball and so will your anxiety (look at how you felt for having not made it into the office, you'll only feel an even more extreme version of that if you miss the meeting).

Get proper advice - call ACAS, it's free - and then attend the meeting. Ordinarily you would be allowed to take someone with you, but precisely who will depend on the policy normally.

There are things you can do here to salvage this. Please don't bury your head in the sand.

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:28:22

Contacting HR and raising a grievance against your manager

What grievance, she's in the wrong. As horrid as it is. The manager may lack empathy but it's his job to follow policy. You can't raise a grievance because he followed poilicy.

youarenotkiddingme Wed 24-Apr-19 21:28:22

Blimey I think in OP situation they'd have a little sympathy and have tried to make contact rather than a disciplinary hearing because they didn't like her mode of communication.

Perhaps an email reminding OP of need to get certificate. Suggesting she rings before office hours and leaves a voicemail.

I hate all this policy over humanity crap.

morefoolyou Wed 24-Apr-19 21:28:31

I'm a people manager for a large global corporation.
We have a policy for literally everything, and the policy has to be adhered to at all times.
BUT.... I'm a good manager and I understand life isn't always black and white. I can't imagine what world I would have issued you with disciplinary notice in these circumstances. Managers always have discretion.
Speak directly to HR yourself then contact a union rep, or a friend with any HR experience.
Which company do you work for? If it's a large one, I'd be inclined to Twitter the fuck out of this one and publicly shame them.
Your post has made me so mad!!!!! If I lived near you I'd come and help you. Your manager is an absolute wanker

Chesneyhawkes1 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:28:35

That seems harsh. We have to call in sick, then we call again when we are coming back. I don't see the need to call every day.

After a day or two we get a welfare call, but if we don't call back they don't do anything about it.

We are just booked sick until further notice.

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:30:15

Good practical advice from button. That should make them realise they can’t be messing you about like this its very bad advie she didnt turn up to work for at least 3 days thats bad.

bebeboeuf Wed 24-Apr-19 21:30:32

You only went to the appointment yesterday, they’ve decided already on a disciplinary- it’s only been 2nd day!

Doidontimmm Wed 24-Apr-19 21:30:33

You do need to attend the disciplinary I’m afraid unless you are genuinely unable to even though signed off sick. It won’t be nice but they will at least be able to see how upset you are. Just be totally honest with them and agree what you should do going forward.

My advice to your manager from an HR point of view after witnessing your distress would be to allow email/text updates as long as they were within the time policy. Of course that would be ok where I worked but your employer may not be flexible (ie HR may have no leeway).

mushroomsandtoadstools Wed 24-Apr-19 21:30:47

As upsetting as your situation is, YABVU. Phoning your manager to let them know what’s going on is very basic, and as harsh as it may seem they are doing no wrong by inviting you to a formal hearing as you didn’t give them adequate contact.

Texts and emails are unprofessional and distant and unacceptable.

bebeboeuf Wed 24-Apr-19 21:31:10

She can raise a grievance actually

Bluntness100 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:31:20

I'd be inclined to Twitter the fuck out of this one and publicly shame them

Is there a full moon tonight? The advice just keeps getting worse. That's also likely to get her fired.

People manager my arse.

Tearsofgravy Wed 24-Apr-19 21:31:40

Are you a member of a union? Usually a union rep can attend a meeting with you so you could fill them in before hand and they could help if you get upset.

Also you may want to think about contacting HR beforehand, maybe by email, and explaining your situation to them. Request a postponement until the doctor has declared you fit to return to work.

It Sounds to me like your manager is out of their comfort zone and has resorted to a very literal interpretation of company policy to cover themselves. This is obviously not what is best in your circumstances but they may feel they have no choice, particularly if HR have been involved in the past and it did not go well for them.

Crazycrazylady Wed 24-Apr-19 21:34:58

Honestly you probably will have your knuckles rapped and that's it. I would attend though. It would look very bad not to.

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:35:04

it’s only been 2nd day! no its not from the op for a week unauthorised absence she also says first day text then call next day email then she says It's been a few days since, I've been home with DH just in bits 2 days plus a few days

Dyrne Wed 24-Apr-19 21:35:50

flowers Sorry you’re having a rough time OP.

I would get hold of the sickness and disciplinary policies immediately, OP. I’m surprised they jumped straight to formal letter without any prior contact - every workplace I’ve been in have had a gradual steps process at least requiring the manager to try and ring the person before any other action is taken.

Ensure they have followed their absence management policy to the letter; and make sure that it states in black and white in the policy that you must phone every day you self certify - agree with the advice of calling ACAS/your union as well.

JaneEyre07 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:35:54

I feel very sorry for you going through all this with your pregnancy OP, it's not easy.

But you've not acted well towards your employer. You are absent from a job you are paid to do - leaving them to cover and with no end date in sight. Your DH could easily have phoned in for you and explained, instead you've emailed which is against company policy. And you've not been in contact since.

I think you need to talk to ACAS about this, because at the moment, it's not looking good for you.

I hope all is well with your pregnancy.

PotolBabu Wed 24-Apr-19 21:36:17

I have been there. I had a MMC at a 20 week scan, a sudden haemorrhage at 19 weeks followed by prolonged hospitalisation and a v premature baby.
I also couldn’t really speak to anyone so I emailed regularly. If you emailed 7 days ago saying ‘I will be back when I know more’ and then vanished, that’s not entirely professional, even if it is understandable.
Btw DH called my GP and took in my hospital notes and they were happy to sign a form and give it to him.

Babayaggatheboneylegged Wed 24-Apr-19 21:36:37

shock at the responses on here!

I get that people are supposed to follow policy, but the poor OP has phoned, when she wasn’t in a fit state to talk, then followed up with an email. But everything has got on top of her because of a shitty life situation!

As her manager, I’d have realised from the phone call that there was some pretty bad shit going on, have had that confirmed in the follow up email, then replied to say how sorry I was that she was going through a hard time, asked how things were looking, and gently reminded her that she’d need to update me on a daily basis, by text/email/call from husband if necessary, to keep me informed about what was happening.

flowers for you, OP. I hope things turn out ok. Something similar happened to one of my best friends recently and her work couldn’t have been more supportive, which made a horrendous situation slightly more bearable.

AnyFucker Wed 24-Apr-19 21:36:57

I am sorry for your troubles but you should have followed policy. If you work for a similar organisation to myself you left them no choice. Your non working days would also count as ones where you made no contact.

UCOforAC12 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:37:55

I think your manager has been very unfair and has not used his discretion in this instance. Get a pregnancy sickness note because you are not fit to work due to your pregnancy. Email it to him and ask him if he wants you to call to confirm anything.

If he fails to reply that's inadequate contact.

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:38:48

*I'd be inclined to Twitter the fuck out of this one and publicly shame them

Is there a full moon tonight? The advice just keeps getting worse. That's also likely to get her fired.

People manager my arse.* yep its very common policy that employees of a company can not criticize that company on social media

Auramigraine Wed 24-Apr-19 21:39:09

Hugs OP, I have been where you are now. Waiting for amnio results are the worst and hardest days I have ever had to go through, every minute was utter torture and I was in no fit state to talk or leave my house. I wasn’t working at the time (thank god) so didn’t have the problems you have currently but really glad you are seeing GP tomorrow. It’s a massive shock to the system and without a doubt the worst experience I have had. I hope the results all come back ok flowers

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:41:32

Was trying to be a bit vague in OP but it's already identifying. My working days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Monday - scan at 3.30, didn't return to work as appointment over ran

Tuesday (non working day) - text to explain what had happened, said I wouldn't be in (meaning that week) he said he needed a phone call so I rang him, albeit the conversation didn't get far

Wednesday - Amnio, emailed him and explained I'd had an amnio, sorry for leaving the team understaffed for the rest of the week, would be in touch

Thursday - No contact (thought was ok as had clarified not back in this week in prev email)

Friday - No contact office was shut as bank hols

Monday - No contact office shut bank hols

Tuesday - (non working day) no contact

Wednesday - Received letter about disciplinary hearing

Tomorrow had docs appointment to get signed off. It's not like I vanished for 14 days. It just seems so unfair.

Sallycinnamum Wed 24-Apr-19 21:41:42

OP I had an absolute bastard of a manager during my first pregnancy 10 years ago. This is the sort of shit he wouldve pulled and he once berated me for being 5 minutes late for work knowing full well I had morning sickness and sometimes had to get off the tube to vomit.

This was supposedly in a creative and relaxed media environment too!

I know posters are saying you should've called in and updated but he's behaving like an absolute arsehole.

Ihatehashtags Wed 24-Apr-19 21:41:54

They are being arseholes. There is lee way and discretion in every circumstance. They’re just choosing not to use it. You text, then rang, were understandably very upset and then you text again, then emailed to say you weren’t coming in for a week. And now you are getting signed off by the Dr anyway. What more do they want???

greenlloon Wed 24-Apr-19 21:47:25

well op you have a problem then as the 7 days you can self certify for includes non working days and bank holidays

Sickoffamilydrama Wed 24-Apr-19 21:48:35

I'm so sorry OP flowers
It could be as simple as they need to be seen to be following procedure with you.

I've instigated something for sickness in my company recently and whilst we are using discretion regarding any disciplinary action everyone who hits certain triggers point gets the same treatment.

If companies are inconsistent this opens them up to all sorts of issues.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 24-Apr-19 21:48:53

Your manager is a dickhead. At the very least he needs some further training.

If I were you I would get myself signed off and email HR with a full account of what you have said here. If they are still insistent that you need a disciplinary hearing then go when you feel up to it, preferably with a union rep or at least with some support. Stick to facts.

Frankly only an utter dickhead would penalise you for this, so if they find against you I would appeal it higher up the organisation. I used to work in HR at head office for a big company. We frequently had people appealing disciplinary decisions made over petty procedural nonsense. Higher level staff tended to see the bigger picture and reverse these things.

For instance we once had an employee sacked by his line manager for failing to keep in touch during sick leave. The following day he died of cancer. Our director reversed the decision so that the guy’s family could receive the substantial death in service benefits.

HBStowe Wed 24-Apr-19 21:49:27

It doesn’t seem at all fair given that you’ve actually only missed one day of work and as far as I am concerned you did call to tell your manager you wouldn’t be in. I can’t see any reason for a bloody disciplinary.

I think it’s good you’re getting signed off for a while, you need a break and to take care of yourself. I hope everything works out with your pregnancy flowers

KnifeAngel Wed 24-Apr-19 21:51:30

They were obviously expecting you to return to work today. You didn't return nor did you contact them. You should have made contact yesterday if you weren't planning on going back.

Ontheboardwalk Wed 24-Apr-19 21:52:02

Sorry If I’ve missed it but what does your contract say about adequate contact? Does it say HOW you have to contact them? Mine says before the working day starts I have to contact them and give an initial view on how long you will be off, stomach bug, broken leg etc but doesn’t say how I need to inform them, call, mail, text

Appreciate all contracts are different

Habbs Wed 24-Apr-19 21:55:39

Greenlloon When my manager wasn't even in the office on the bank hols (and I don't have personal numbers, only work ones) I wouldn't have got far anyway. In previous absences when I have phoned in daily, I have never phoned in on my non working day and have never been asked to, it has never been an issue. What I've said I'm struggling with her is the lack of empathy in receiving and all you have commented is "well op you have a problem" "she didn't turn up to work for 3 days, that's bad" please read the facts before berating me. If I'm being unreasonable fine but you could be a tad more sensitive.

category12 Wed 24-Apr-19 21:58:31

I always like to phone in out of hours, that way I can just leave a message and job done. Or not done. grin

OhTheRoses Wed 24-Apr-19 21:59:09

You should have called yesterday but if your attendance record is otherwise good, actually they could have called you before sending such a letter. IMO and as an HR director I think their response is disproportionate. They are aware you are having a difficult pg and should be mindful of the Equality Act.

CheekyFuckersDontGetPastMe Wed 24-Apr-19 22:00:10

Your manager lacks compassion OP.

they are correct, you didn’t follow the absence reporting policy to the letter and they have then followed through with the policy outcome, an investigation meeting.

You can take someone with you, make notes, explain it all.

I’d ask to see the updated policy and handbooks, we recently changed ours to accept text/email as a form of communication - must be daily for the first 5 days/until signed off (5 calander days, not working days where we are)

MetalMidget Wed 24-Apr-19 22:00:25

My contract says that we're supposed to phone in each day we're off sick. In reality though, we tend to email, because we're all socially maladjusted weirdos that don't like using the phone at the best of times. If the office phone goes and a director isn't in, everyone looks at it slightly panicked, like a cat with a cucumber.

If I'd had a similar situation with my pregnancy, my bosses would have been more concerned with my welfare than ticking boxes.

Dippypippy1980 Wed 24-Apr-19 22:01:00

Write everything down - document the contact you made - times content.

Anyone will see you made reasonable attempts in very difficult circumstances.

You might be too upset to speak so having it in writing will help.

I did this with the doctor once many years ago - really helped me get my message across while weeping.

Good luck with everything - I am sorry sorry a difficult time is being made worse

DeaflySilence Wed 24-Apr-19 22:03:35

"Tomorrow had docs appointment to get signed off. It's not like I vanished for 14 days. It just seems so unfair."

What you have described is not 7 days, or less. You don't omit weekends/non-working days when counting.

Excluding the Monday that you didn't return to work (after your scan), you have now been off/self-certificating for 9 days.

You have not made arrangements to see the doctor for a fit-note until tomorrow, the 10th day of your absence.

You have not adhered to absence policy, in that (instead of phoning in every day) you have only phoned in once, and that was at your managers request. Far from phoning in every day, you have only actually made any kind of contact on two of the 9 days.

No one could even (again) tell you that you weren't following policy, because you haven't been making any contact with anyone, during which they might have possibly told you.

I am so sorry you are facing such frightening concerns about your pregnancy, but I don't actually think that it's surprising that the disciplinary hearing has been arranged. I don't think you can really argue with the facts, but hopefully (if you have an otherwise exemplary record) they will allow these extenuating circumstances and accept that (on this occasion) you became totally overwhelmed and confused in trying to follow policy.

Littlebelina Wed 24-Apr-19 22:04:25

I don't think many folks are denying your manager is being harsh here (esp given your update with respect to working days), unfortunately it doesn't mean he is wrong wrt breaking policy. The best thing you can do is get some advice (maybe ACAS) and try your best to a) phone in sick from now on so they can't use further examples against you b) attend the meeting and explain (admittedly not easy if you are still in limbo with your amnio). I suspect they will tread carefully to avoid any suggestion of pregnancy related discrimination (fingers crossed for you in all counts)

HaventGotAllDay Wed 24-Apr-19 22:04:57

Many companies/schools etc won't accept email contact unless it's by PEC.
I've rarely seen such bad advice given on an employment thread. OP, get yourself signed off with stress (don't know what you can do about the awol days, that will have to be discussed with HR at the disciplinary.) Contact the union if you are in one.
Your boss has done nothing wrong. A line manager can't just not follow procedure because a member of their team hasn't!
An employee has been literally awol for 8 days now. The line manager will have reported it. Procedures kick in.

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