Help me with an discussion with boss re: discrimination

(7 Posts)
Levithecat Sat 14-Mar-20 22:32:06

I’d be really grateful for any suggestions for approaching this. I’m a G7 in the civil service working in a team that is very Central/ Whitehall focused, so lots of reactive, fast paced and high profile work. I’m a mum, work .8FTE and work from a regional office. Always performed well and happy at work, we worked well as a dispersed team and I have had my share of reactive work. Three months ago I got new G6 (head of team) Jobshare bosses, based in London.
Since then I’ve been included less and less in decisions about work allocation and haven’t been offered any urgent work. My skills aren’t being used and I’m not being stretched.

I’ve had two calls with one of my bosses this week where she’s said that I haven’t been considered for some work because I’m p/t and they worry how I’d cope when I also have a young family. I’ve requested to work on Covid19 (everyone’s being asked to put names forward), and she said she wasn’t sure she’d suggest me because if my youngest’s nursery is shut she doesn’t see how I’d manage.

The more I think about it the more angry I feel - I’m not getting the same opportunities as others, based on my location and assumptions about my circumstances.

I made a commitment at the start of the year to be more assertive and brave at work - this feels like discrimination to me and I was going to go to my bosses directly to point this out. Is that a good idea? How could I start the conversation? What I’d like is a) to not be excluded and b) for them to understand how their behaviour is discriminatory.
Thanks and sorry for the essay!

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Sun 15-Mar-20 04:42:28

I’m not getting the same opportunities as others, based on my location and assumptions about my circumstances

These are the two things to focus on. It's discriminatory if your manager is deliberately withholding opportunities from you and not giving you the opportunities because she has conscious or unconscious bias about you not being able to cope because of being a mother, especially if you already have a track record of successful delivery.

You just need to give evidence based on fact, such as examples of what she's given other colleagues to do but withheld from you.

Thepigeonsarecoming Sun 15-Mar-20 04:48:37

Have you had absences due to childcare or child illness? If not then definitely take it up formally, if you have then she is being practical

Isleepinahedgefund Sun 15-Mar-20 11:28:14

Why would this be acceptable if the OP had had absences due to childcare/child sickness?!

This makes me so cross! It is the kind of treatment people experience/see in CS and then everyone wonders why the staff survey is so bad. Unfortunately many people don't feel safe to challenge, and fortunately this attitude isn't prevalent across CS but very much comes from one or two individuals.

Presuming the rest of the team is whitehall based? I think the manager is being lazy - it does take a bit more effort to have team members working remotely when the rest of your team is sitting next to you but that's no excuse. I have a team member working in a regional office and once I got used to it it's quickly become easy to make sure they're included in everything and given all the opportunities.

Ironically the Covid 19 work is perfect for remote/home based - to me the refusal to suggest you is the most tangible evidence of her attitude. There are many of us in the same situation as you - if they exclude everyone who Might have to do childcare if things get worse then there won't be anyone left to give the work to!

Are both your G6s like this or just 1?

I have 2 team members I manage that have vulnerable family members - we also work on high profile, fast moving stuff and I'm still giving them the full range of work/opportunities, have made mostly wfh arrangements with them and I have a contingency plan in my head for what to do if any of their work needs to be picked up at short notice. That's how you do it.

Levithecat Sun 15-Mar-20 21:13:08

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I’ve got to say, isleepinahedgefund that was the kind of reply I was hoping for, as it’s what I’d say to someone else. I’ve been caught off guard a bit by their management style, they’re so corporate and keen to impress up.

Sadly they are a close knit jobshare. I don’t think she realises what she said - she made it sound like she was being considerate of my ‘situation’.

I think I’ll email them tomorrow to point out how (perhaps inadvertently) their behaviour has been discriminatory and to reassert that I’d like to be put forward to covid work, and if not look for a managed move to something else.

OP’s posts: |
helpfulperson Sun 15-Mar-20 21:18:31

I understand where you are coming from totally but you need to make sure that if childcare closes you can still meet your work obligations if you are given the work.

Tuesday66 Mon 30-Mar-20 00:49:39

Levitthecat, how did you get on?

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