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This is discrimination right?

(12 Posts)
yellowflowers Sun 18-Sep-11 22:07:19

I've been back at work for a few months but it's an academic job so so far it's just been the planning and admin that takes place during the holidays. Teaching is now about to start. I got something wrong - nothing major, and my boss sent me a shirty email telling me it was wrong. fine - I can deal with that, it was my fault. But in the email she said:

"I am not sure what childcare arrangements you have in place but you do need to be available over this period as there is a great deal to do...I know its hard getting back into work when your head is still into babies but term starts in just over two weeks so you really need to get some time now to spend just getting back into thinking again. Can someone look after the baby so that you can really concentrate on this job? If you don't leave her for a whole day until term starts you will find it really hard. You need to get some practice at being without her and thinking about something else. "

Is this discriminatory? Okay I cocked up but it was nothing to do with the baby and baby brain and just one of those things. I wasn't trying to work while looking after the baby and I have never said to her that I am struggling (I'm not, I just cocked up). She wouldn't ever say this kind of thing to a man right so to say it to me isn;t on is it? Plus my brain is working fine. And the childcare arrangements we have are absolutely none of her business. And she had no idea whether I have ever left the baby for a day or not because we've never discussed it.

Or am I overreacting?

Grevling Mon 19-Sep-11 01:20:30

Its a very stupid thing to say but not in itself discriminatory so I think you're overacting a bit. I'd be a bit hmm with the lady that sent it for interfering with my private life but no I wouldn't start ringing the "discrimination" bell over this.

annh Mon 19-Sep-11 10:37:33

Are you actually back at work at the moment? I mean, although working from home, have you actually finished your maternity leave and are being paid your regular salary during this planning period and will presumably be returning to college in a few weeks? Although the error may have been nothing to do with the presence or absence of childcare per se, do you have childcare in place for your baby while working from home? If not, your boss is right to point out that you can't be paid for work and look after your child at the same time although she could have phrased it in a less inflammatory manner.

flowery Mon 19-Sep-11 12:31:28

It's not great, but on the other hand although exactly what your childcare arrangements are aren't really her business, it is her business to check you do have childcare while you are working.

I think if you were to put in a formal grievance claiming discrimination about this one thing without trying to resolve it informally by having a word with your boss, then yes you would be overreacting.

SarkySpanner Mon 19-Sep-11 22:30:06

I would send her a polite email confirming that you already have appropriate childcare in place and have done so since you returned from ml.

You can't stop her from being a cow. But you can make sure that she has her facts straight.

hairylights Tue 20-Sep-11 08:29:34

I'd say this could have been handled differently. If she has issues to raise about your performance and concentration, they would have been better dealt with face to face, so that issues could be raised and resolved.

If you are working at home and don't have childcare in place then she would be right to raise that as an issue.

I wouldn't say it was discrimination though.

annh Tue 20-Sep-11 19:43:18

I wonder if the fact that OP hasn't come back means that she didn't in face have childcare in place?

yellowflowers Tue 20-Sep-11 22:35:32

Hello sorry no chance to be on MN for a bit. Yes had childcare in place. You're probably all right but I bet she'd never say the same to a man. Sigh.

StealthPolarBear Tue 20-Sep-11 22:46:34

i would say it was highly inappropriate of her to send it.
Does she have children? If I were being ultra charitable I wonder if she might have been empathising? (in that slightly bossy way people have)

yellowflowers Thu 22-Sep-11 13:44:29

yes she has grown up children. I think she was empathising but she was also doing it in a mean way. Bit damned if I do and damned if I don;t really - as saying it's not the child care thing is basically saying sorry i did a crap job - which i did.

BerylStreep Tue 27-Sep-11 16:21:11

he didn't handle it very well, but I would suggest you breezily let her know that you are on top of the childcare situation and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.

It's very annoying, but I wouldn't make a big issue over this one. If it continues, that's a different story ...

BerylStreep Tue 27-Sep-11 16:21:29


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