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Panicking - advice needed please

(6 Posts)
dizzydollie Mon 05-Jan-15 09:28:44

Hi everyone, I'm worried sick, I've been on mat leave since last January but was on sick leave for a few weeks before that as my pelvis was misaligned. My boss had constantly made comments as she was not best pleased I was pregnant in the first place. I had told another manager about this but was told to concentrate on myself that I should just relax as I was going on mat leave etc. I should add that my boss has been a nightmare since I started, I have notes and emails about it all. I don't go sick and am generally good at what I do so she would use little things to try and chip away at me and get me to quit as I was told at the start it should have been someone already in the office that got the job. When I became pregnant it was open season on me.

I have tried to speak to my boss about how the ignoring/then conments/sniping makes me feel but nothing changes.

On Xmas eve before my mat leave started HR used the standard sickness procedure and sent me an invite to a meeting to explore why I was ill and discuss possible disciplinary action. I was obviously upset as I was heavily pregnant and hadn't had any sick leave prior to that. Anyway this was recinded after I called occupational health who told me it was daft as I had a pregnancy related illness. My boss completely ignored me after this and I received no telephone calls or emails, no contact at all.

Fast forward after my baby was born and my boss still ignored me, I sent pics of the baby but no reply. So my anxiety increased, I sent another email to a boss above (who I spoke to when I was pregnant and told about how I was being treated) and was told everything was fine and to concentrate on my kids.... so I was getting more stressed, worrying myself sick as its a very small office and my mat leave was running out. So I contacted my union, told them all about it showed them emails I had that showed me asking for help and the weak response along with the HR thing. They said I had been treated really badly and suggested a meeting with HR.

So I had the meeting, my union said I should do the talking. So I told HR and the other boss (who knew everything) about how I had been treated while I was pregnant, how I had been treated poorly by this person for years before etc and I felt the sickness procedures had been used incorrectly to cause me distress. That my boss had made comments about how I couldn't come back to the same job, who was looking after my kids and a few other things. All I asked for was a change of manager and a move. They said no to both.

I became really tearful as I felt like everything was finally tumbling out. HR said she thought I needed counselling that I was taking things too personally, that my boss could have been "trying to be helpful" by suggesting I couldn't come back to the same job and should be working part time. All the while my union person just sat there. I asked why the sickness procedures had been instigated they said it was their error and again I shouldn't have taken it personally. They said they didn't know how long I was going to be off even though my boss had been told, even though I had emailed HR too and asked how this would affect my mat leave.

So the jist of it is they want me to do mediation as HR say I could be taking things the wrong way. I can't do that, my boss will be sweetness and light to their faces but then ignore me/make things very difficult in the office. I told them I have approached her a number of times regarding her behaviour to no avail. They say its the only solution.

I've had to get a sick note which states "work stress" I need to go and see my gp today as I am literally shaking and worrying myself ill and have done all through Xmas.

I've never been like this before and feel like I'm messing up my employment history but I don't feel I have any backing. I told HR in the meeting I have worked concurrently since I left school and have never worked in a situation like this before.

I asked the union about a grievance but they seem to think I should get the mediation and go back???

Any help would be really appreciated.

flowery Mon 05-Jan-15 10:23:00

You don't have to follow your union's advice, although if you go against their advice they may not support you, you'd need to check that.

You are entitled to raise a grievance if you want to. You are not obliged to attend mediation if you don't want to. However, depending on where you see this heading, it's worth bearing in mind you may find you end up looking unreasonable if you refuse an offer of mediation and go for a formal procedure instead.

Have you thought about what outcome you'd want from a formal grievance?

You say you have asked for a change of boss/a move but they said no. Is this actually possible? Is there a role somewhere else you could move to, and/or another manager you could report to?

Millerpup Mon 05-Jan-15 19:33:31

Your union will support you but you must contact the regional office and state that you have lost confidence in the support rec from your union rep. (or say you feel they don't understand how this whole situation is affecting you.)
Union reps sometimes don't really have the necessary training on how to represent someone in your situation you need external help so ring your regional office and talk to someone there (thats what you pay your subs for) and It wouldn't hurt to give acas a ring too as they will tell you what the law says about this which to me seems to be a form of bullying and a lack of professionalism from your HR dept in dealing with it.

dizzydollie Mon 05-Jan-15 20:26:10

Thanks for your reply Flowery and Millerpup!

Flowery: Its a huge organisation so there are opportunities for redeployment. HR have now sent me information on how to apply for this but still insist I try mediation as the HR adviser told me "A person may not know their behaviour is not acceptable until you tell them you find it upsetting" I told her I have done this and it's continued for 5 years. I also told my boss' direct line manager while it was happening but he said not to worry. I feel like I've confronted her and gotten nowhere then followed procedure and again nothing until I mentioned a union. My boss has had allegations like this against her prior to me starting in the office too.

Millerpup: Its so hard to understand why he's not going for the jugular. He told me he was notifying my boss' union that we were speaking to HR about her too?? I thought Unions (kinda) enjoyed when they could actually fight a case where HR admit they made a mistake? Before we went in he was adamant that HR didn't check I was ill with a pregnancy related illness. Also adamant that I had a clear case and should get a different manager. He was insistant that HR would want this to go away and would help me. HR are saying I am taking comments to heart and being offended yet they have a strong anti bullying policy. I'm very confused. My boss made comments to me about being a working mum, told me I couldn't return to my job after having another baby and made comments about my maternity leave. But its only because she was trying to be helpful said HR....

Went to my gp today and was prescribed anti depressants and given another sick note with work stress. Just want to hide xx

Millerpup Tue 06-Jan-15 20:34:17

I really feel for you at the moment.
HR don't want to admit their mistake and by god have they made one !
But like everything you get good union reps and bad ones this one sounds like he can talk a good job but is scared of saying what he has to and scared of HR coming down on him when it comes to it.
HR stating that they feel you are taking the comments to heart is laughable bullying is illegal and its how the individual perceives treatment given they are not on the recieveing end you are, but i believe they have only taken your case seriously now because they know they are in the wrong and the union are involved.
Please please talk to someone that will support what you are saying they have discriminated against you being a new mother and it is clear to me that their anti bullying policy doesn't work !
Please when you feel a little better ring your union regional office and talk to someone even if it is to reassure you that you are not in the wrong your company is !
xxxx hope you feel better soon smile

dizzydollie Wed 07-Jan-15 12:55:31

Aww Millerpup, if you only knew how much better you have made me feel. I've just fired off an email to my union, will see what they say xxx

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