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Can my boss say this:You're not planning any more?!

(22 Posts)
RainingCatsandDogs Sat 14-Jul-07 14:26:59

Met him regarding reducing my daily working hours (which they pretty much refused) and he 'jokingly' said this comment which I found a bit out of line.Am I right to think this? I had a difficult pregnancy with sickness and feel this was a dig.

Tutter Sat 14-Jul-07 14:29:30

i believe it is illegal to ask an employee if thwey are planning to become pg

am sure there'll be an expert along soon...

potoroo Sat 14-Jul-07 14:33:10

I think Tutter is right. He can't outright ask you and expect a serious reply (and nor would your reply be binding in any way!)

But mostly he sounds like he is just being a bit of a jerk.
I have a boss who makes comments like that and I ignore him.

callmeovercautious Sat 14-Jul-07 14:45:41

Being Devils advocate here......Your boss may just have been joking - if somewhat innappropriately, but how many of us can honestly say we have never offended someone with a joke?
However you are offended by this, he should not make light of your personal circumstances. Take a step back and consider the context he said it in and his tone etc. Was it really a dig?

If you feel he was being offensive then you should speak to him. The grievance procedure in most organisations will state you should try and resolve issues informally first but you could always take advice from HR.

RainingCatsandDogs Sat 14-Jul-07 14:58:42

In the context of the meeting which was rather fraught,unpleasant, I thought this was the wrong thing to say completely.
I'm in half a mind to ring HR but feel upset about the whole meeting generally and feel it I'm letting it spoil the end of my maternity.I will have to follow a grievance procedure and they will just say I took it the wrong way.I'm already tired.

Desiderata Sat 14-Jul-07 15:15:10

To be honest, if I was a bloke, and a boss, I'd probably say something similar. You may not like what he said, but legally the cards are all stacked in your favour ... so I'd try to let it go. It's nothing that hasn't been said to a million women before you!

movingmumma Sat 14-Jul-07 15:15:58

Poor you RainingCatsandDogs. I'm not sure of the legalities but he sure sounds like a plonker. Why oh why do some bosses not think before they open their mouths.

motherinferior Sat 14-Jul-07 15:21:48

I don't think the fact that something has happened before excuses it - otherwise we'd still have slavery in this country, dammit.

I suspect it was illegal. The EOC would be able to tell you.

RainingCatsandDogs Sat 14-Jul-07 15:28:38

I do feel it was definately said in a 'dig' way and I jokling said 'not if my last pregnancy is anything to go by'.

Same company different male manager on my return from maternity last child I was asked if I may have postnatal depression as I seemed very stressed! (stress was all to do with them changing contracted hours etc. i.e. normal)

flowerybeanbag Sat 14-Jul-07 17:54:01

A comment like this is completely out of order and he is on dodgy legal ground if he upsets someone like this.
However I expect he is just s bit ignorant and was joking and doesn't realise how serious it could be.

I would ask to meet him and explain that you were not happy with his comment and would ask him to be a bit more considerate in future - he may have made it lightheartedly but if he makes similar remarks to others in future they may take it seriously and is he aware that it could be sex discrimination to make comments of that nature.

I expect he would think that this potentially being sex discrimination is ridiculous, so it's probably not in your interests to bring a formal complaint although you are entitled to.
If you bring it to his attention, say that you understand he was joking however others in future may not and is he aware it could be sex discrimination, you are not being a 'troublemaker', he should stop, and you are not having to go through a formal grievance.

Of course if he continues to make this kind of remark to you, I would recommend a formal procedure.


Judy1234 Sat 14-Jul-07 18:43:07

I agree with the last post. A proportionate reaction would be to say at the time something like "it's in the lap of the Gods. What about you, it's been quite a gap since your last one. Having difficulties? "

NAB3 Sat 14-Jul-07 18:44:26

Him, not you.

callmeovercautious Sat 14-Jul-07 23:41:45

I am sorry it is clouding your last days of Maternity. You can bring it up with him now if you want but I suggest you log it in a diary and take a deep breath and go back to work. Keep a log of any more comments for future use.
You may want to discuss it with him though, perhaps in a return to work meeting if you get one? Make it clear that your family plans are your business and that you do not wish to discuss them with him. There is a fine line though - do you want to put up with the odd joke and an understanding ear when lo is ill or do you want everything by the book?
I know this sounds hard but we all have to "play the game" on occasion and unfortunately it is the way work life is. Office politics. Don't get me wrong, I am sure you could build a case if he continues to be sexist and discriminatory but what do you want long run?
When do you go back? Give us a shout if he continues like this, I will sharpen my claws for you

RainingCatsandDogs Sun 15-Jul-07 11:51:18

I don't think (hope) it will continue.He is a younger man and I think it was a combined not thinking / little dig at my time off in pregnancy. It was just in the context of the meeting which was unpleasant certainly from my point of view it was a pretty stupid thing to say.
Since I dropped my hours and level of position after my other children I have certainly found I have been treated with less respect - I'm in the category of 'only a part time working mum'- which sounds a bit bitter but is true.

Judy1234 Sun 15-Jul-07 12:47:06

Answer is going back full time and working mega hours with the added bonus you avoid hours of dull child care too plus more money and status, win win all round and then get to be the boss of him. Much more fun.

meowmix Sun 15-Jul-07 12:56:55

sadly RC&D thats why I went back full time. I knew in my line of work that I'd still be expected to deliver the same amount and quality and would just end up working full time anyway.

Keep a note, keep a note of any future remarks and bide your time. It'll either blow over or you'll have the material you need to get compensation.

zookeeper Sun 15-Jul-07 13:05:57

Xenia - loved your post at 18.43 .

Your lost post was so achingly predictable and provocative I could weep.

You really are a daft cow sometimes but mumsnet would I suppose be a duller place without you

Judy1234 Sun 15-Jul-07 13:48:33

Yes, turning it round on them can work, giving as good as you get, practical banter etc. "Been a while since your wedding and no babies yet. I recommend viagra" or "do you want the number of my doctor?".

When people ask how I cope with 5 children and working full time I can usually add the more you have the more money you need so the harder you have to work.

RainingCatsandDogs Sun 15-Jul-07 21:12:54


I do think you have a point.Master of no trade home or work sometimes. It is hard to fall behind on the career path from those much less experienced ... and be told what to do by them!

Elasticwoman Sun 15-Jul-07 21:44:14

Xenia's exhortation to every MNetter to work full time may be predictable and a little bit pushy, but it is worth considering because it works for some people. I knew a new mum who thought her company were being oh so generous to her when they allowed her to go part time to 60% - only she was for ever working over time, lost her company car, and was expected to complete the same amount of work with no extra help. I thought she was just a mug.

Judy1234 Mon 16-Jul-07 13:28:12

If you have a log jam of people to promote it can be wise tactic to recruit women of childbearing age because so many want to give up work. It suits some business models very well.

RuthT Tue 24-Jul-07 20:24:30

This thread is just depressing me! Can someone remind me what century we are in?

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