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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.

Celledora Fri 03-May-19 21:06:16

Hand hold OP flowers I hope you and baby are ok x

Teddybear45 Thu 02-May-19 10:07:41

In my company the notification rules are flexible especially if you are pregnant. This company should be named and shamed OP. You absolutely need to whistleblow.

TheMaddHugger Thu 02-May-19 10:00:41

still thinking of you @Habbs 🌺🌼🌺

MRex Tue 30-Apr-19 08:55:03

Did you get the results yet @Habbs? How are you?

TheMaddHugger Tue 30-Apr-19 07:08:33

Habbs 🌻Thinking of you (((((Mad Hugs)))

placemats Sat 27-Apr-19 08:45:32

I would have thought that the manager would have followed the guidelines regarding Mental Health First Aid in your case OP. To ignore the anxiety and stress you are currently experiencing is foolhardy to say the least (and I'm being kind to the manager).

My nephew went AWOL from work and they took it incredibly seriously. No recriminations, just a keen desire to see if everything was fine with him. It did get resolved.

Recognising that employers will have stressful times is crucial for good management and in the long term saves millions of working hours lost annually to mental health issues.

The manager needs retraining on Mental Health First Aid.

flowers and I do hope all is okay with your baby.

slashlover Sat 27-Apr-19 08:32:16

Just read other thread. OP complained to HR about manager and is now complaining that manager is following policy to the letter, you can't have it both ways. I can also guarantee with the history that manager is in contact with HR every step of the way.

You never said she should have contacted, you said she should list the hours to HR and say when she would be calling next. She did in a way when she said she's be off the rest of the week.

flowergrrl77 Sat 27-Apr-19 08:24:20

Like I said, she ought to have contacted, but I fully understand that her brain isn’t up to it and quite frankly, I feel she deserves a fair bit of compassion.

I wasn’t saying she did the right thing at all if you read it carefully, I was saying that she really ought to have contacted but don’t worry as right now that’s only going to cause you and the baby more stress which right now she doesn’t need. It is possible to say you boobooed in a compassionate way ya know! shock

Past story is important when referring to manager as a wanker. I wouldn’t t have done so had I not been up to date with an earlier thread. Manager has been a prize wanker with HR having to intervene in his behaviour!

slashlover Sat 27-Apr-19 08:16:50

Forget wanker manager. Listing yours hours missed as you did earlier would show in a hearing as he is just being a ridiculous twat.

The only thing you could have done differently was go to the doctor to be signed off sooner and/or saying when it is you will next call regardless of if you have the results or not. (Following week I assume?)

She could have contacted them on the Wednesday to say she wouldn't be in. OP broke policy by not keeping in contact but 'wanker' manager gave leniency for the first week when OP said she wouldn't be in.

Monday - Bank holiday
Tuesday - OPs day off
Wednesday - OP due back but she obviously didn't contact them as they emailed her.

@flowergrrl77 I've asked this before but how long was the manager supposed to ignore OP going AWOL? To the end of last week? To the end of next week?

Also, what was manager supposed to do the next time someone was off with no contact and then said "Habbs did it." To do nothing would allow other people to take advantage and say they were being bullied/discriminated against if they were treated differently.

flowergrrl77 Sat 27-Apr-19 07:46:37

OP I really do hope that the baby results will be ok.

Forget wanker manager. Listing yours hours missed as you did earlier would show in a hearing as he is just being a ridiculous twat.

The only thing you could have done differently was go to the doctor to be signed off sooner and/or saying when it is you will next call regardless of if you have the results or not. (Following week I assume?)

My thoughts and love are with you. I followed your HR thread and I am glad to hear it was resolved, update us over there would you?

I expect a good deal of this is him being pissed off about HR stepping in regards that...

Rest up, look after your self xx

MoviesT Sat 27-Apr-19 05:41:45

As a manager I would add that this may not be personal, employers sometimes have to go out of their way to show consistency with applying policy - there may be a colleague offending that OP is not aware of who can then pick up that OP wasn’t dealt with in the same way. It would be extremely harsh for the disciplinary to go against OP in the circumstances. The best thing OP can do is follow the employers procedure even if that means that someone else calls in on her behalf. It is a courtesy to keep work as updated as you can, although I agree they do seem quite harsh in the circumstances.

OP, I do hope everything is okay with the baby x

BabyDueDecember2019 Sat 27-Apr-19 05:19:50

If you are still reading this I hope your baby is okaythanks

MidniteScribbler Fri 26-Apr-19 08:13:15

The thing is, it's not even about obsessive rule following. The OP has basically abandoned her job. You don't get to send an email saying 'I'm taking the rest of the week off' and then not show up the next week and not have any discussion with your boss about it. Taking time off is fine, but you need to work with your employer so they know what is going on, and when you will generally be expected to return.

JenniferJareau Fri 26-Apr-19 06:22:05

For all those berating the manager, he may have had no choice. I worked somewhere with a daily management huddle where each department reported on results, issues and staff absence. If he said op was off and he had no idea of return, his own boss may have insisted on him following the AWOL process.

Going AWOL from work is also not that uncommon.

Sunshineandalltherainbows Fri 26-Apr-19 06:20:32

Sorry posted too soon. Some people Just have to follow the rules by the letter no matter the situation, I hope it is able to be sorted without any disciplinary action.

Sunshineandalltherainbows Fri 26-Apr-19 06:19:11

I was very suddenly taken to hospital in an ambulance just over 2 years ago and ended up in intensive care with sepsis. My husband called about 11am on Monday morning explaining just how ill I was and I remember getting several missed phone calls and voicemails saying I needed to contact work urgently as I hadn’t gone through sickness protocol. I was astonished I don’t even remember those days let alone be able to call anyone up. It actually made me so upset that I ended up looking for another job. Tbf when hr got involved my manager was told that what they had done was unacceptable and I was never held to account for not calling in due to being intensive care.

MidniteScribbler Fri 26-Apr-19 04:50:49

FFS, I'm not even in the UK, but even I can figure out that she is not being disciplined for her pregnancy, but the fact she hasn't shown up to work for a week.

NorthEndGal Fri 26-Apr-19 02:35:05

How did it go?

amandacarnet Fri 26-Apr-19 02:22:19

Any larger organisation has people phoning in distressed unable to come to work for lots of reasons such as bereavement,they have attempted suicide, been diagnosed with cancer, had a miscarriage, etc etc.
These are not unusual circumstances as is being suggested.

MidsomerBurgers Thu 25-Apr-19 19:28:55


I work for the NHS and 2 long term colleagues got sacked recently for not engaging with the sickness disciplinary process.

AnyFucker Thu 25-Apr-19 19:26:43

op how did the meeting go ?

RedDogsBeg Thu 25-Apr-19 19:20:01

There is no need to get so overly invested. Perhaps you should take your own advice BarbadosBrenda?

I appreciate it's no skin off your nose if the OP takes your opinions and advice and ends up in an even worse situation, others would rather the OP avoided that outcome.

havingtochangeusernameagain Thu 25-Apr-19 19:16:20

OP the disciplinary meeting is unlikely to be particularly formal, it will just be "this is the process, we understand you were distressed but you still needed to follow protocol". I can't see you getting more than a warning. Presumably there needs to be an investigation meeting first anyway so it might not even get as far as an actual disciplinary, depending on their process.

I do wonder what they would have done if you had been in hospital though. Trying to contact you and find out what is going on would seem to be a more useful approach than jumping straight to the disciplinary process unless there is a backstory here of previous absence. Despite what others have said on this thread, I think that they would be hard pushed to defend their actions at employment tribunal if it got that far. Employers have to display a range of reasonable responses and I think a reasonable response is to call an employee's home if they have not turned up for work. Especially if you know they've had a pregnancy scare. Not rush straight to disciplinary hearings.

BarbadosBrenda Thu 25-Apr-19 19:07:26

'Op if you are still reading please look at bluntness posts (who probably needs strong painkillers from banging her head against the brick wall so many times)'

You do realise this is just a chat forum? There is no need to get so overly invested. Give your opinion like we all have that's fine but all the FFS and the sweet baby jesus comments are a bit silly. Bluntness isn't in charge grin.

Littlebelina Thu 25-Apr-19 18:57:32

Ffs, it doesn't matter if her manager is being harsh, if he should show some discretion given the circumstances or if he being a jobsworth following policy. The fact is the process has been triggered and given the info from the op the manager may have legal grounds to do so. Folks might think it is harsh (and I agree it is) but feeling the op to ignore the meeting or charge in all guns blazing will just make matters worse. I have much sympathy for the op having gone through an amnio and eventually losing my dd1 neonatally due to her condition but all the best will and indignation won't save her job.

Op if you are still reading please look at bluntness posts (who probably needs strong painkillers from banging her head against the brick wall so many times)

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