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flexible working- also turned down :(

(26 Posts)
cocopops Fri 18-Feb-05 11:00:04

I just want to moan really. Went back to work 7 months ago and finally persuaded DH that life was just too much both of us working f/t and we agreed that l'd drop my hours to 4 days a week. I am a lawyer and always knew it would be a bit of long shot given type of work I do. however many other women in my firm do 4 days (some even do 3).

To cut a long story short, at the meeting which was supposed to discuss how the proposals would work in practice, I was told that I was inflexible becuase I wasn't working late/weekends etc therefore they were going to refuse my request. It was clear within 2 minutes of starting the meeting (three of them, 1 of me) that my request was going to be refused. I was so gobsmacked at what they were saying, I just sat there like a lemon, not saying much. It took me all my strength to get out of the room without bursting into tears (which I did big style after I left room in the ladies loos).

My formal letter came and naturally it had all the business reason crap that you could say about virtually anyone's job; i.e. expected to regularly work in excess of contracted hours, need to be availalbe at short notice for meetings here, there and everywhere, had to think about expectations of other team members...... Was told that the usual right to appeal to head of department wouldn't work as he had been part of the decision making process (had been told originally by my boss when I raised issue that HOD didn't like the idea of part time in our dept, although there is one other person who does it) therefore I would need to appeal to the head of the firm! BA**ds

NOT the way to motivate your staff. So, essentially I think they want to get rid of me and thought this was the way to do it. I have decided not to appeal but my work life is horrible now. My boss is being even more ars*y than usual and really cold towards me. He keeps sending arse covery e mails and I just want to walk out here and now. Am looking at other options but don't want to walk into something similar elsewhere..

I am actually off sick at the moment with something which I think has been caused by all the stress. I just feel as if l'm in a big black hole and can't get out.

Support needed!!!!

Frizbe Fri 18-Feb-05 11:03:44

{{{{{BIG HUGS}}}}}} to you, I'm sure being a lawyer and all that you know exactly where you stand on this? although I don't know your speciality, so would it be worth getting someone who specialises in this to look into it for you? just to see if there are any gaps they have missed, re all the new EU stuff coming out? in the meantime I think your right to keep looking for another posting elsewhere, good luck

NameChangingMancMidlander Fri 18-Feb-05 11:06:38

NameChangingMancMidlander Fri 18-Feb-05 11:06:52

hugs & virtual choccie coming your way

CountessDracula Fri 18-Feb-05 11:09:20

Oh cocopops I'm so sorry, as you know I know how you feel.

I think you should appeal actually. If there are others doing it with the same sort of job as you then I can't see that they can say that there are valid business reasons. Do you do transactional work?

Rowlers Fri 18-Feb-05 11:11:10

I am thinking of asking at work if I can do my job part-time. No idea what they will say.
I can't though get my head round why not. It's just beligerence and people wanting to be in control. For god's sake, they would ADAPT surely?
You can appeal (within 14 days). I think that if they refuse, you can request an appeal meeting and can you also complain to an employment tribunal?
It's pants, whichever way you look at it.

cocopops Fri 18-Feb-05 11:31:26

thanks girls

CountessD- I am a corporate lawyer so do transactional work although in this job, I have being doing more project type work which I pointed out in my application. their response was that they had given me some projects to "let me in gently" after my maternity leave (bollocks as I was doing that sort of work before)and that it wouldn't be fair to other members of the team if that's all I was given.

I don't have the energy to appeal. I did take advice on it but it all boiled down to what do I want. Do I want to stay in this job and work 4 days - well, when I really thought about it, I don't really. i have never been happy there- boss drives me mad as he tries to micro manage everything and I have no autonomy and if i did appeal and won, I am sure they could really make my life hell if they wanted to and really pile on the horrible transactional work (which they will probably try and do now anyway- am i sounding paranoid!!!!)

Rowlers Fri 18-Feb-05 11:32:52

work sucks

amynnixmum Fri 18-Feb-05 11:39:09

My sis has just been through this too. She has also had a lot of time off due to the stress this has caused. Things aren't completely sorted out yet but they seem to be nearing the end. My sis sent out her cv to loads of places early this week and has had loads of replies and is feeling much more positive now. If you want to chat to her on msn or by email i know she will be happy to as i have already asked her about Countess dracula. CAT me if you want and I'll give you her email address. xx

CountessDracula Fri 18-Feb-05 11:49:09

You know the more I think about this the more I think these flex working rules have made life worse and not better. Basically any employer who wants to keep you full time can trump up stuff that fits the regs nicely. It is toothless legislation.

PhDMumof1 Fri 18-Feb-05 11:55:49

Yes, what a bunch of BA**ARDS. This happened to me in my job (equity sales lrge inv bank).

Basically it boiled down to HOD having already come under fire from male colleagues who hated the fact that flexible working mums got to go home at 4pm on Weds. These mums could listen in to weds strategy meeting on tel conf facility, while at home. Big deal, but somehow it got the chaps all flustered.

My flexible working request was to go into hospital to get regular treatment for ongoing but not life-threatening condition, which was also TTC. HOD just couldn't manage to agree to that for even a short time. So I got an employment lawyer and we negotiated severance.

Now I slightly regret not being stronger. I let the emotional response get in the way because I was ill and TTC, and feel that I have missed out on being able to continue career and prove a point, even if it meant being moved sideways.

However, I totally relate to what you are going on thru because it was only 1 yr later that I felt remotely strong enough to feel angry about it, even tho 2 of my clients were so p*ssed off they cut the firm off for 1 month! Bless 'em.

WideWebWitch Fri 18-Feb-05 11:55:50

Poor you, sorry to hear this. Virtual sympathy.

dysonboy Fri 18-Feb-05 12:52:06

Oh god I hate reading when people are being treated like sh*t. I worked in HR but decided to give up work as sometimes these flex working hrs just don't work. I was also in the police force and it was bad enough being pregnant let alone having to leave suddenly as my child is ill etc etc with all the comments.

Please don't just leave. I know you are a lawyer but please take advice, even ring ACAS you can find them in your phone book for the nearest office. Just because you have asked for flex. working they suddenly come out with this contract jargon that you supposedly aren't adhering to. You have been back for 7 months so surely something should have been said before now if you weren't 'performing' in your job.

My attitude is even if you decide it's not worth it and want to leave, stick with it, definately appeal you are off on sick anyhow and if with stress get it documented as this with your GP. If you decide to leave you could potentially still claim constructive dismissal if an employment legal advisor feels there is a case to answer. ACAS get involved eventually anyhow if it goes further. Nevertheless just leaving with no further action lets them get away with it!!! Give them some work to do and get stressed over for a change. I've known a few people just to answer back for a change and as a consequence have managed to get their jobs back, more redundancy pay and but even better have kept their respect and dignity.

Of course it is your decision to discuss with your DH but think it through carefully. Sometimes it may be better to just leave and a better opportunity comes along anyhow.

Nevertheless chin up and don't take it personally, it happens to lots of people and employers will bully to get their own way and overpower.

PhDMumof1 Fri 18-Feb-05 13:45:49

well said dysonboy

Uwila Fri 18-Feb-05 14:52:07

You could always appeal just to be a pain in their arse...

Uwila Fri 18-Feb-05 14:58:07

I've just submitted a flexible working request myself. I was quite confident about it being accepted. But, now after a couple of these threads, I'm not so sure. My company isn't exactly know for it's generosity to employees at this time.

pixiefish Fri 18-Feb-05 15:01:50

Hi all.

I'm a teacher and to enable me to work part time my headmaster had to split my job in 2 (3 after easter) all my classes are now taught by 2 teachers.

My headmaster is a nice man but he is still in charge of about 100 staff and has a budget of a i don't know how many millions. If he could have turned me down he would have. He's told me this (not in so many words obviously). I know that they don't like splitting classes.

I don't understand how your bosses are getting away with this-honestly i don't. My union (NASUWT) would have fought with me tooth and nail to work part time.

All you have to do is find someone who does a similar job to you and works part time and you've got a case for discrimination. I know it's more difficult than that in reality but if you know that the job can be done on a part time basis (even if part of it is done by someone else who is employed on the days that you're not there) then who do these wank@@s think they are. They're refusing because of a control thing. FIGHT THE BASTARDS> Contact an employment lawyer- CAT Sis on Mumsnet- this is her area

tigi Fri 18-Feb-05 15:37:59

I have a friend who asked to start at 10.00 rather than 9.00 due to childcare reasons, but was said 'no' to. She sought the advice of equal opportunities, who said if she found someone else in company who did same job, same sal scale, they could not refuse. The employer ended up backing down, and she now works 5 less hours per week.

Uwila Fri 18-Feb-05 15:41:10

My proposal for flexible working actually rearranges my hours rather than reducing them. So maybe it will be harder for them to turn down... hopefully. I've asked to work 10 hours/day mon - thurs instead of 8 hours mon-fri. Same hours, but every Friday off, and same pay.

cocopops Fri 18-Feb-05 15:48:36

Thanks all for your sympathy. I can understand where you are all coming from on the appeal front but it just isn't worth it. They could make my life hell in so many other ways and why put myself through any more grief.... I have been thinking for a long time that this job is SO incompatible with motherhood (case in point, I wasn't allowed to take the easter week as my boss was "thinking" of taking it)and when my DD goes to school she'll need picking up etc as I don't want to put her in after school 5 days a week so perhaps they've done me a favour and given me the impetus that l've needed for so long to get out....

I just need to think on what else I can do with my life!!!!! (that pays the same!!!!!)

Basically I think their refusal boiled down to whether or not I had earned the right to go part time and the answer was obviously no. I assume this is what it boiled down to as when I was interviewed for the job, I mentioned that a friend of mind who had worked for the firm and had had a terrible pg had been treated very well. The HOD said yes, but she EARNED the right to be treated that way. So this mentality pervades through the organisation.

And yes, I am letting them get away with it, but if you are viewed as a troublemaker in our profession, then word gets round when you are trying to find another job. The firms rely on this and don't think you'll ever raise an unfair dismisal, sex discrim case. It sucks, doesn't it?

The thing that gets me in all of this is l'm not asking to be paid for 5 days and do 4. You get paid 4 days but still they moan about the effect on co-workers. Well, if they are getting paid more, DEAL WITH IT!! IMHO.

PHDMUMOF1- I too struggled through 3 IVF treatments whilst working- I take it from your screen name that you had success! Your story sucks too.....

I am sounding really bitter and woosy (is that how you spell it?) so l'm going to go now. I just keep thinking of what my mum said to me that night when I arrived home in floods of tears - it'll all work out ok in the end!

Pamina3 Fri 18-Feb-05 16:12:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Uwila Fri 18-Feb-05 16:19:09

Well, I normally end up sitting here at work frhose ten hours per day anyway (albeit often on mumsnet these days due to lack of challenging work). So I might as well get my Friday off.

Besides that gives me a whole day each week to hang out with my kids... a luxury I haven't had yet.

Worse they can say is no I'll be back whereI already am, so I guess there's nothing to lose. And, I work in a huge company. They can hardly say there's no one here to pick up the slack on a Friday.

PhDMumof1 Fri 18-Feb-05 16:35:57

Yes it does suck, and yes it WILL be OK in the end.

But, you probably won't find a job that pays you as much.

DO you have some clients that love the pants off you? Maybe they'll employ you. Why not be cynical and shop around before jacking it all in - play them both ways and view this as an exercise in getting your revenge and keeping dignity intact.

PS Luckily I did not have to have IVF, it never went that far.

PPS When I was signed off for sick leave I never allowed myself to enjoy it, ie go away to sunnier climes for a week. It might have helped me a) get better, and b) get it into perspective.

GOOD LUCK and keep us up to date!!

sis Fri 18-Feb-05 20:27:50

cocopops, I am so sorry to read of yet another employer treating a request for flexible working as an excuse for the employer to flex its muscle. I hope you do reconsider and appeal - just setting out your grounds of appeal in writing can be theraputic! If you do appeal, at least you keep the option for taking further action open and you never know what you may want or, even need, to do in the future.

Having said that, i do understand why you are feeling the way you are right now. I too rushed off to the 'welfare' room and burst into tears when my request to work two days from home was turned down. My request was made before the current legislation came into force and the tears were also because of the fact that I knew I would need to take my employers to a tribunal for sex/race discrimination if my appeal didn't succeed. In the end the organisation agreed to my request after I let it be known to the CEO (as it was his decision to turn down my request and refuse to give any reason) that I would not only take the organisation to tribunal but also him - as a named individual - to tribuanl and that if the tribunal found in my favour, he would be personally liable for any award against him. I stayed there for five years after that, so they didn't hound me out!

I hope that your situation is resolved in a way that you are happy with - and if you simply want to leave and get another job, I wish you all the best in getting a better new job.

Sallie Mon 21-Feb-05 17:29:55

I am also a lawyer and had to fight really hard for a 4 day week. Wasn't allowed it after returning from mat leave with ds but got it after appeal when returning from mat leave with dd. I really don't think law firms want to give an inch. There are lots of women in my firm (city) who are really unhappy about the situation. I really do sympathise with you cocopops. If I didn't have to, I wouldn't be working as the pressure on me to work late is massive and gets me down.

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