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Discrimination at work because I'm pregnant?

(11 Posts)
ghostreveries Fri 29-May-20 20:43:34

I work in care and my company always seems to struggle with covering hours, we are understaffed. I am contracted 40 hours a week. I told my employer at the start of the month I was pregnant. However, I have been working long hours (48 hour shifts with sleep ins in between), but this has become increasingly difficult due to the pregnancy. I told my workplace that I can no longer work such long shifts and requested to work 12 hour shifts instead, I provided a doctor's note to back this up as they were not willing to alter my hours just because I'm pregnant. I didn't hear anything for days and have been chasing them up, finally I get an email and they have put me on two 12 hour shifts a week (so 24 hours a week essentially). Surely this breaches my contract as I am contracted as a salaried worker for 40 hours per week! And wouldn't this be discrimination as well as they have cut my weekly hours down due to my pregnancy? To me the fact that they are understaffed with high turnover (staff leaving every month), and everyone has to constantly do overtime, shows that this has been done out of spite! I'm honestly feeling very stressed and anxious about it, it feels like they wanna get rid of me because I'm pregnant and it's more of a headache for them. They don't even have a HR department, and I feel totally ghosted by my company when I'm not on shift as I can never get hold of anyone (unless it suits them and they are asking me to come in and cover).

I would love to hear people's thoughts on this!

OP’s posts: |
Moondust001 Fri 29-May-20 21:36:44

You may have totally shot yourself in the foot. You asked them to change your contract, and they did! They weren't required to find you 40 hours worth of 12 hour shifts and they didn't have to create shifts that they don't have / are difficult to organise. They didn't cut your hours because of your pregnancy. They changed them because you asked them to.

I think you need to take proper advice on this one, and quickly, because you could be walking into a minefield - it might not have been your intention to end up in this position, but they may very well have exploited your own request in a way that totally shafts you.

ghostreveries Fri 29-May-20 21:49:18

Moondust001

You may have totally shot yourself in the foot. You asked them to change your contract, and they did! They weren't required to find you 40 hours worth of 12 hour shifts and they didn't have to create shifts that they don't have / are difficult to organise. They didn't cut your hours because of your pregnancy. They changed them because you asked them to.

I think you need to take proper advice on this one, and quickly, because you could be walking into a minefield - it might not have been your intention to end up in this position, but they may very well have exploited your own request in a way that totally shafts you.

My contract has not changed at all, I am contracted to 40 hours a week, there is no shift pattern/working hours I am contracted to, and they have changed the shift pattern multiple times as and when it suits them. I have only made a reasonable request to not work more than 12 hours in a go due to my pregnancy as I was not getting a break and having none/broken sleep when "sleeping in" at work, which became too much for me.

OP’s posts: |
AlwaysCheddar Sat 30-May-20 06:47:20

Tell them they make an error ad you get paid for 40 hours but you’re only given shifts for 24 hours, so you’d like to work for the 40 hours, rather than get i40 hours paid but only do 24.

slipperywhensparticus Sat 30-May-20 06:52:44

If its salary it wont change your wages will it?

Moondust001 Sat 30-May-20 07:00:15

My contract has not changed at all, I am contracted to 40 hours a week, there is no shift pattern/working hours I am contracted to, and they have changed the shift pattern multiple times as and when it suits them. I have only made a reasonable request to not work more than 12 hours in a go due to my pregnancy as I was not getting a break and having none/broken sleep when "sleeping in" at work, which became too much for me.

You have misunderstood me. They don't necessarily have to issue you with a new "contract" for a contract to change. Contractual changes happen all the time and people often don't get a new "contract" - and what they call the contract actually isn't, it's part of the contract.

They sound pretty awful (which is par for the course with many of these employers in social care), but if their shifts are X, and you only want to work Y, that is a contractual change if they then offer what you have asked for. Changing shifts to suit themselves is one thing, but changing them to suit you is different.

I really think that you need to get some proper advice because whether this is lawful could turn on a single phrase used and nothing more. Depending on the advice of strangers who can claim to be or know anything at all is not a safe approach. You say that you are getting stressed by this. So get proper advice.

HoneyWheeler Sat 30-May-20 07:04:28

Contact Pregnant then Screwed helpline - they should be able to advise

prh47bridge Sat 30-May-20 08:53:39

As Moondust001 says, contracts get changed all the time. When you get a pay rise that is a change of contract. You asked for 12 hour shifts which is a change to your normal working pattern. They have complied. If they reduce your pay due to the changed shift pattern that may be a breach of contract but it depends on exactly how you worded your request. You need to see a lawyer who specialises in employment law.

dontdisturbmenow Sat 30-May-20 09:13:41

It sounds like what you've asked is to not do nights any longer.

If that's the case, then it is likely to be a change of contract unless your contract states the 40h are day shifts only.
Nights are usually the hardest shifts to cover so that might explain the fewer hours offered.

ghostreveries Sat 30-May-20 11:16:14

My contracted hours are days only, the overnight sleep ins are not included in my hours as technically we should be sleeping (in reality this doesn't happen). These are paid at a flat rate per sleep-in as an addition to my salary. So being taken off these sleeps should not affect my contracted hours.

OP’s posts: |
Moondust001 Sat 30-May-20 21:35:55

ghostreveries

My contracted hours are days only, the overnight sleep ins are not included in my hours as technically we should be sleeping (in reality this doesn't happen). These are paid at a flat rate per sleep-in as an addition to my salary. So being taken off these sleeps should not affect my contracted hours.

Ok, have it your own way. You've been told how complex this might be and what to do. But you just keep arguing about why what your are being told isn't right. Since you know the answer, perhaps you should just do whatever it is you intend to do anyway. There is very little point in your asking for advice and then deciding that the advice isn't what you want to hear. Get proper legal advice, or do whatever you want to do. But drip feeding information to prove the advice you have had is wrong wastes your time and everyone else's.

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