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Are managers allowed to ask about family planning?

(30 Posts)
OrangeLily Mon 19-Aug-13 19:29:28

In the last week I have had two managers asking if I was 'going to make an announcement' or if I was 'going to be here next year'? Is this legal? Should I be objecting?

For what its worth, I am not planning on telling them anything about my plans until I actually am having a kid but its made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

Any advice?

TwoStepsBeyond Mon 19-Aug-13 19:51:43

I haven't worked anywhere other than for myself for many years so I'm not up to speed with general HR protocol at all, but that sounds bang out of order to me!

I would think that any question that they are unlikely to have asked a male colleague is out of bounds.

OrangeLily Mon 19-Aug-13 19:56:36

They asked it in a unofficial kind of way, it wasn't going down in writing or anything but I was just quite surprised. In one situation if I said there was a possibility that I wouldn't be there then I'd be denied the chance of working abroad because it is a charity trip and the cost of changing air fares would be big. Given that we are trying for a family but haven't met with any success makes me think that I don't have to tell anyone until I'm pregnant.

breatheslowly Mon 19-Aug-13 20:09:47

No - that must be some form of sex discrimination. Obviously if you want to tell them stuff you can, but it doesn't sound like you want to.

CreatureRetorts Mon 19-Aug-13 20:14:03

How big an organisation is this? Do you have a union?

TheDoctrineOfJetlag Mon 19-Aug-13 20:15:32

No you don't have to tell anyone.

I'd mention to HR in a "ooh, is everyone being asked this?" way, once they've recovered from their faint I expect they will Have A Word.

sorryitsanotherpilone Mon 19-Aug-13 20:18:47

It's sounds like very strange questions to ask out of the blue
The way they worded their questions makes them sound like they already think you're pregnant.

Stupid question but have you got married in the last 18months or so I was questioned for a year by everyone when I got married about whether i was pregnant yet.
Then as soon as I had ds everyone started asking when we were having dc2! Lol

Also I once had a joke with my friend because she was sick at work saying she was pregnant and before i knew it the entire company thought she was eeeek. Luckily she's still my best friend.

It's sexual harassment / discrimination to ask you but if you are mates with the people who asked could it just be nosy buggers and nothing untoward?

sorryitsanotherpilone Mon 19-Aug-13 20:21:03

Meant to say when I spoke about my friend being ill have you recently been sick or anything at work and started the rumour mill turning

OrangeLily Mon 19-Aug-13 20:23:30

Its fairly big and I do have a union. I'm going to have to say something. The feminist part of my is just like WTF!

CreatureRetorts Mon 19-Aug-13 20:25:17

WTF is just the start! Fuckers.

OrangeLily Mon 19-Aug-13 20:28:25

Both male if that helps any!

The first one was because I've recently had a few hospital appointments. One for investigation in to fertility issues but the rest for an ongoing medical issue that they are well aware of. I didn't say what the last one was for so as far as they are aware it could be due to the ongoing medical issue.

OrangeLily Mon 19-Aug-13 20:32:49

sorryitsanotherpilone Yes in a similar time frame! But no we are not mates!

sorryitsanotherpilone Mon 19-Aug-13 20:40:36

It's annoying and it doesn't make it right but it's prob more to do with that than anything else. Everyone assumes you will have a baby within a year or two if getting married.

Everyone pestered me from parents to manager. I didn't get the feeling from my manager she was asking for any other reason than being nosy but it depends what impression you got from your managers when they asked that you need to think about before deciding what you want to do next.

TwoStepsBeyond Tue 20-Aug-13 00:23:21

I suppose in fairness if they're trying to plan trips abroad and could stand to lose a few grand if you're not there, it could explain why they have asked, doesn't make it right, but I imagine it must be frustrating if a company invests in training etc and then the employee isn't around for them to benefit from it.

TheDoctrineOfJetlag Tue 20-Aug-13 06:34:10

That could happen for a number of reasons, though TwoSteps, eg employee gets another job in the meantime.

OrangeLily Tue 20-Aug-13 06:50:14

It's not quite that amount but I do see the logistics. However, I unfortunately cannot plan 'family planning' am at the moment just need to see what happens. Feel a bit stuck sad

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 20-Aug-13 07:53:52

The way I understand it (I maybe wrong). It is not illegal to ask it is illegal to basis any decisions on the information.

gertrudestein Tue 20-Aug-13 08:39:23

It's totally private - how can they expect you to answer that truthfully anyway? If you are trying to have kids or have ever tried, then you'll know that it's impossible to plan when it will happen. And in the meantime, you don't have to share your intimate health issues with anyone, or put your life on hold.

I would just say 'I hope you know that I always act conscientiously in the interests of the company. I can't imagine what you mean [disingenuous smile] but if I ever had to be absent for a while I'd work hard to make sure my colleagues weren't affected negatively.'

Good luck

sleepyhead Tue 20-Aug-13 10:43:25

It's bloody rude. At a staff night out, my boss's boss told me she had a list of people that were "just going to go off and get pregnant" and that I was at the top of it since my ds was 4 so we were obviously trying for another hmm .

We'll yes, yes we were. And had been for well over a year with no success and I didn't need some drunk woman speculating on my fertility thanks.

Took us another 2 years to have ds2. Presumably I was a write off all that time.

OrangeLily Tue 20-Aug-13 11:38:43

I do think its not on but again this morning I said I was starving and one raised his eyebrow and said 'oh yes' in a really pointed way. I'm on a diet FFS. I just don't think I should have to put my life on hold either. If I am not pregnant then I do intend on doing a lot with my career and until I'm actually pregnant I do not intend on changing anything. As you pointed out, I can take years for some people. Congrats on DS2 though!

GrendelsMum Tue 20-Aug-13 15:15:52

I may not have followed you quite right - are you saying that they're booking flights, hotels and so on?

If so, what we've just done in a similar situation (staff member who for medical reasons might not have been able to travel) was to check what the cancellation fees were for everything we booked, and to take that into account, so that we had minimal cancellation fees if she wasn't able to join the team.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Wed 21-Aug-13 06:28:56

Sounds like they've put 2 and 2 together and come up with 24.

No you don't have to tell them anything. I didn't even tell my last employer till I was 19 weeks pg.

If they are going to start making comments like that maybe you should speak to your manager and get them to have a word.

OrangeLily Wed 21-Aug-13 06:54:59

My manager was one of them making the comments but that are other people I can speak to. I think next time I'll just have to women up and tell them they are out of line.

MysteriousHamster Wed 21-Aug-13 18:39:25

I'd be annoyed too. Looking back my boss used to always casually ask me 'are you trying for another' as a friend sort of thing, but now I wonder if she was asking more for the business. Sigh.

Don't tell anyone because you never know what the timeframe of these things will be.

It's a bit like asking people 'did you have sex without contraception lately' and I don't think they'd be very impressed if you asked them that.

Refoca Wed 21-Aug-13 18:50:44

I always answer 'maybe one of these years' or 'yes, at least another 3 or 4...', and I try to keep it as non-taboo as pp says, it's illegal to act on the info, so does it really matter? Guess it depends if you think they will act on the info, and if they do whether you would want the hassle of calling them on it, or whether 'I didn't think you were allowed to ask questions like that?' is a safer warning that you suspect they are too close to crossing a line.

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