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Reasonable to refuse to work with a pregnant woman?

(73 Posts)
Bestseller Thu 07-Feb-19 17:15:04

So, A is having fertility treatment. Colleague B has recently announced her pregnancy.

B understands it is difficult for A and is doing her best not to rub it in her face but A is being absolutely vile.

She has stated that she hates B both publically and privately and that that won't change even if she does fall pregnant, this is her time not to be shared with B etc etc. ATM A is very deliberately and publically refusing to speak to B. They are supposed to work closely together so this is an issue, quite apart from how upsetting it is for B.

So, is this one of those things management and colleagues gave to live with, understanding that A is struggling or is the lack of professionalism a disciplinary matter?

Bestseller Thu 07-Feb-19 17:15:23

Counselling has been offered BTW

TableforJane Thu 07-Feb-19 17:18:01

A is being unprofessional and management should deal with it.

mimibunz Thu 07-Feb-19 17:18:42

A should be sat down and told a few home truths. She’s having a rough time but someone else’s good fortune has nothing to do with her. She sounds vile and only women struggling to conceive get away with outlandish behaviour.

Jaxhog Thu 07-Feb-19 17:19:55

A is being unprofessional and management should deal with it.

And quickly.

SileneOliveira Thu 07-Feb-19 17:20:26

The manager needs to step in and deal with this. Employees can't unilaterally declare that they won't work with someone without good reason - and that would be that the other person has assaulted them, or threatened them, or put them in danger or something.

Not because the other person is pregnant.

I'm not an employment lawyer but have had a similar situation in a team I've managed. I would expect the manager to sit down with A and explain that they know A is struggling but she cannot refuse to speak to B or refuse to work with her. Urge A to take the counselling offered. Make it clear to A that if her behaviour does not improve, that they will have to involve HR and that disciplinary might be the only course of action.

(At which point A will go to her GP and get signed off with stress, which solves the problem in one way.)

Manager should also let B know that they have her back and that the situation is being dealt with.

shaggedthruahedgebackwards Thu 07-Feb-19 17:23:51

I think it depends if A and B need to interact to fulfill their professional roles

If they don't then I'm not sure that disliking a colleague and not interacting is a disciplinary matter unless it can be proven that A is behaving in an unprofessional manner towards B or is bullying/abusing her

If they do need to interact for work purposes then I imagine that HR will need to address the issue with A and see if they can agree a compromise (eg. move to a different part of the business). If it can't be amicably resolved then A is putting herself in a very vulnerable position and could ultimately end up losing her job.

Bestseller Thu 07-Feb-19 17:24:54

Yes, they are two of a team of 3 who need to collaborate daily.

madvixen Thu 07-Feb-19 17:26:54

Sorry but this is a discipline issue and needs dealt with. It could easily become harassment of someone with a protected characteristic.

MotorcycleMayhem Thu 07-Feb-19 17:30:03

A is discriminating against B on the basis of a protected characteristic is she not?

A is being unprofessional. I have huge sympathy for her, having felt similar pain in the past, but she needs to be talked to. She can't carry on like this.

Notonthestairs Thu 07-Feb-19 17:35:55

Out of interest how was A and B's relationship prior to this?

Bestseller Thu 07-Feb-19 17:38:18

Yes I can understand her pain, but even she must understand that it's not reasonable behaviour, even accepting that it's not always easy to control.

These aren't private views, she's being vile both to B's face and behind her back and the conversation about "my time" was with her manager. She seems so sure of her position that it made me question mine.

Initial informal chats with each of them are scheduled for tomorrow, with B to hopefully make her feel supported.

Bestseller Thu 07-Feb-19 17:39:26

TBH, A has always been a bit of a cow but not on this scale. B is lovely and completely professional

EggysMom Thu 07-Feb-19 17:40:30

A is discriminating against B on the basis of a protected characteristic is she not?

B could legitimately raise a grievance.
Or managers could go down the disciplinary route with A if they witness it.

greendale17 Thu 07-Feb-19 17:41:23

*She has stated that she hates B both publically and privately and that that won't change even if she does fall pregnant, this is her time not to be shared with B etc etc. ATM A is very deliberately and publically refusing to speak to B.*

^Publically refusing to speak to B and public ally stating she hates B is bullying in my opinion. A needs to be formally disciplined for her pathetic behaviour.

Myusernameismud Thu 07-Feb-19 17:43:24

Pregnancy is a protected characteristic, is it not? It's exactly the same if A were to refuse to speak to and work with someone of a different race, sex, religious belief or sexual orientation. She would be disciplined. That applies here too.

Myusernameismud Thu 07-Feb-19 17:46:21

And depending on your workplace policy on discrimination, immediate termination of employment could be possible. I'd be checking my contract if I were A.

MrsPinkCock Thu 07-Feb-19 17:46:39

A is discriminating against B. That’s a gross misconduct offence.

Absolutely she needs disciplining!

DarlingNikita Thu 07-Feb-19 17:47:15

A needs at least a firm conversation with management and perhaps a disciplinary.

WellBHouse Thu 07-Feb-19 17:50:06

A needs disciplinary procedures. I’ve been in that situation of infertility and I never behaved like that to a colleague and wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to think that. The “it’s my time stuff” is very damaging.

Notonthestairs Thu 07-Feb-19 17:50:42

HR and line management should be involved immediately.

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Thu 07-Feb-19 17:53:16

Which one are you?

I've been in As situation in not being able to get pregnant but I never ever acted so unprofessional as A is. It's a gross misconduct bullying issue that needs to be dealt with ASAP

Gazelda Thu 07-Feb-19 17:55:46

B must have a very strong case of bullying.

jelliebelly Thu 07-Feb-19 17:56:41

Gross misconduct on the part of A I should think and I'm surprised B hasn't raised a formal grievance!

This needs to be dealt with quickly

FrancisCrawford Thu 07-Feb-19 17:58:35

Publically refusing to speak to B and public ally stating she hates B is bullying in my opinion. A needs to be formally disciplined for her pathetic behaviour

Agreed

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