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Work Hell - Should I go to tribunal or am I overreacting?

(4 Posts)
DarkLightMamma Thu 08-Sep-16 22:57:14

I only have 3 weeks left until I start maternity leave, which I have been counting down for since finding out I was pregnant!
I've been in my job since October last year, I was interviewed for an external sales rep job and was offered it, with the proviso that I do a 3 month product training at the company office. Not a problem, how can I sell without the basic knowledge? Happy with that!
The office is made up of the big boss, husband, the owner, his wife, and the office manager, his wife's sister...and me.
So shortly after arriving I was informed the office manager had said she didn't want another external rep but she needed someone in the office to help her with day to day tasks...so for the last 11 months I've been stuck in an internal sales admin role...the same role I left to join them. Before my first week I moved across the country for this firm believing that I would go into the office once a week, the rest would be road and home based.
After a few weeks there the boss warned me that the office manager had driven every other employee away but he was determined not to let it happen with me. Since then my life in the office has become unpleasant.
She swears at me, curses me, tells me I'm being obnoxious when I'm talking to her (which the stores guys who overhear this tell me I'm not), she makes the workplace unpleasant and even the big boss prefers when she isn't in! Still because it's his wife's sister there's not a lot he can do.
I have taken notes about everything she's done and said to me and my friends and family keep telling me they have no idea why I've not told her to do one or walked out. My thoughts are because I need maternity pay I can stick it out a few more weeks!
Today we were discussing my antenatal class tomorrow, which the owner originally said they would give me a half day holiday for. Then because she and the big boss were going to the Isle of Wight told me I could instead have the hours for. I said I planned on going at 12pm so that would give me time to go home, grab what I needed (and my mother) and get there in time but she isn't happy because that will leave her alone for about 3/3.5 hours. On a Friday, when our couriers are in and gone at noon.
I said I could leave at 12:15 if she likes though it would be tight to get there in time and she turned round and told me it wasn't acceptable. I saw her messaging on her phone and got a message 30 minutes later from the owner telling me I needed a letter from the midwife about the classes for my file. I had to write her a letter with my class times and gave her a copy of my timetable which the midwife.said is what they need...but based on repeated history I'm predicting I'll go in tomorrow and be told actually they can't let me go after all.

If this happens should I go for tribunal? Between them, the sisters have made my pregnancy at work a living hell!

prh47bridge Fri 09-Sep-16 08:23:11

If they try to say that you can't go you should point out that you are legally entitled to paid time off for antenatal care and that this includes antenatal classes if they have been recommended by your doctor or midwife. Refer them to www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights for chapter and verse.

FinderofNeedles Fri 09-Sep-16 08:49:43

Whatever the reason, 'going to a tribunal' is not a quick fix for anything. It's a lengthy (months at least) and stressful process: you have to stay angry for a long time if you are going to see it through. Is this how you want to spend the first few precious months with your first baby?

Sorry you're having a rough time at work.

Note that prh47bridge pointed out you are supposed to get paid time off for classes, not take your annual leave to go.Good luck.

flowery Fri 09-Sep-16 09:07:00

Well the job sounds like a nightmare and not what you signed up for, therefore I assume you don't want to go back after maternity leave anyway.

On that basis, what you need to do is get through the next three weeks, and ensure you get your legal entitlements in terms of time off for antenatal appointments etc

"Going for tribunal" isn't the way to achieve those things. You are entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments and you've given the requisite proof of these appointments, therefore they don't get to tell you you "can't go". You just go.

So go. And if they try and deny you any of your rights, like not paying you for time off for appointments, or not giving you the paid holiday you will accrue throughout your maternity leave, or anything like that, then you address it at the time, with first a grievance and then possibly if necessary a tribunal claim if no other way.

But focus on getting through three weeks and on taking the time off you are entitled to.

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