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In bits over treatment by my boss

(21 Posts)
cupcakeandtea Sat 30-May-09 11:29:43

Hi

During my pregnancy I had some issues with my manager which resulted in me becoming very stressed and going on maternity leave far earlier than I needed to. I spoke to personnel on several occassions but I work for a company where they protect the managers more than they do other employees and to be honest it was a complete waste of time.

I gave birth 3 weeks ago and earlier this week received a letter from my boss saying I was being formally reprimanded over a matter I consider to be fairly minor. I have held my hands up and said I was responsible but I feel he has used his position of power to take the matter way too far and this has left me feeling very depressed. I was in such a state my partner had to come home to look after me and my son and I have been crying pretty much every day since.

I have been at this company for a considerable amount of time...almost 10 years and I am worried now that he is going to find every minor mistake I've made in the past and try to get rid of me, which I think has been his intention for the past year or so.

I have been advised that while on maternity leave, work cannot contact me in any way shape or form unless it's a pay matter and if I am contacted by my boss or any other employee I should tell them that the matter will be dealt with on my return in January. Is this correct? I don't want to add fuel to the fire and just want to keep my head down and I think unless he leaves it will be very hard for me to return to my current place of work anyway.

Sorry for the long email but have any other Mumsnetters have a similar experience and perhaps some advice?

BBisfinallyPG Sat 30-May-09 12:35:52

THis is completely fucking awful. sorry to swear but this manager is ruining the first few weeks with your baby.

I would make a full accouint of all the issues with this person, and how you have tried to raise the issue previously, and the knockbacks you have faced. then go to CAB or contact ACAS and find out what legal standpoints you have. This sounds like victimisation to me and you do not need to made to feel like this. When you know where you stand, i would get them to help you draft a letter explaining why you are unhappy, as your HR dept have a duty to you as well as your boss. WRT waiting till you are due back, i would include in the letter you send, about the contact from the manager being innappropriate, and that you expect resolution of the issues outlined within 30 days. You certainly sound like you have a case for constructive dissmissal if you were to be dissmissed. I would get as much legal advice as you can and present all the facts you can. this is not fair.

i really feel for you, and hope you can get this sorted x

moondog Sat 30-May-09 12:37:59

God, that is dreadful.
At the very time when you are least up to coping with the stress and thought of it looming over you.

Which is your union? Give them a ring. Even if yuo don't have one, it should be possible to ring and join.
Mine were superb when I went through a terrible time with my boss.

sobloodystupid Sat 30-May-09 13:32:03

so sorry for what you're going through cupcake. I suppose what outcome do you want from this is the usual advice here. I agree with BB's advice but would also question whether you feel you would be able to handle the stress of it. (I'm going through something similar while on ML and am not coping v well). If you can though hand the issue over to your union rep if possible, you don't need this hassle right now.

pasturesnew Sat 30-May-09 13:38:23

I don't work in employment law but this sounds like a really dodgy way for your manager to behave and I am surprised your HR team don't seem more worried about it. I would definitely think that CAB or ACAS or a union could help, it wouldn't surprise me if you had potential claims for constructive dismissal, sex discrimination etc. It is tough to be objective at such an emotional time but if you can, try to think of it as more the employer's problem than yours, and enjoy your time at home with your baby as much as possible.

Bonneville Sat 30-May-09 13:40:25

Can Flowery please come back - she is needed.

VinoEsmeralda Sat 30-May-09 13:41:00

You could also start a grievance procedure (have to rush out but see acas website for more info or company handbook).

Think what they are trying to do it put loads of pressure on and hope you resign - please do NOT do this

edam Sat 30-May-09 13:42:43

So sorry you are being mistreated by some jumped up little prick who thinks he's above the law, especially at this time when he knows full well you are very vulnerable.

Suggest you contact the Equality Commission for info and advice.

cupcakeandtea Sat 30-May-09 14:28:56

A massive thanks for all your replies.

I've been trying to reason with myself and not get upset but I can't even remember being this distressed over a work issue and I feel that not only did he cast a shadow over my pregnancy but now he's doing it during the first precious few weeks of me being a new mum.

I now have to decide whether to leave it until September when I no longer receive any pay from work or consult an employment lawyer to see where I stand and then go and see personnel.

He was well within his rights to reprimand me but the way he has done it is just awful.

edam Sat 30-May-09 17:01:10

Glad the thread has helped but DO please speak to the Equality Commission!

BBisfinallyPG Sun 31-May-09 10:21:05

oh cupcake he is an absolute tosser, i really feel for you. please dont let the twunt force you out of your job! i would think he was on VERY thin ice x

cupcakeandtea Sun 31-May-09 10:32:22

I had a long talk with my family and partner last night and although it's tempting to fire off a letter to personnel listing the various grievances I have with my manager, I'm concerned that once the can of worms has been opened I'll never be able to put the lid back on so to speak! Also, I don't have a union so if I did want to push for an official grievance, I'd be pretty much on my own and as sobloodystupid pointed out, I have to assess whether I need that kind of stress at this point.

I'm pretty sure he's been angling to get rid of me for a while now ever since I turned down a job he wanted me to do in another department but I'm not going to let him push me out. I think there's very little chance of me being able to go back next year due to many reasons so either I'll resign when I'm good and ready or they'll make me redundant, which would be preferable to be honest.

What makes me mad is that the personnel department feels that this behaviour is acceptable, even though I complained about his attitude during my pregnant several times. It also makes me mad that once again it's the new mother that's being victimised - the most vulnerable employee they have.

All I canhope for is that if it does come to an unfair dismissal claim, after 9 years of having an unblemished work record I'd be able to claim for sexual discrimination at least.

pushmepullme Sun 31-May-09 10:35:29

Is he reprimanding you now for something which happened before you went on maternity leave?

Surely any matter like that should be dealt with at the time rather then weeks after the event unless the 'mistake' has only just come to light?

BBisfinallyPG Sun 31-May-09 11:14:16

im with pushmepullme, any issue should be dealt with promptly.

cupcake, you are,i think doing the right thing, and if you do resign i would urge you to ask for your exit meeting to be with someone else, and then be very honest about this bully wankstain of a manger!

I hope you can just enjoy your time off and if i were you i would consider, before resigning/returning getting advice on constructive dissmissal as this man is making your life hell! I am with you on the HR front also, its part of the reason why it would be fairer (although i admit more costly and impractcle) to have HR done for every company by an outside body....

if you can claim, i would, as i think you deserve recompense for what you have been exposed to!

best of luck whtever you decide x

pinkfizzle Sun 31-May-09 11:51:21

Oh Cupcakeandtea the fact that you were written to, which would have gone through the HR dept, and that you have 10 years service, and that this happened so soon after you had a baby demonstrates that your HR (remember they work for the business) and your boss are not very good managers and reflects so badly on them and your place of work! I'm furious on your behalf, hence my long post.

You are so right to consider the stress that a claim can cause and as tempting as it is, don't fire off a response just yet. Always think of the outcome that you want and the actual likely outcome by seeking proper advice.

If they were hoping to resolve a matter then it seems a piss poor way of doing so.

I would never trust them again and I would consider ways to protect yourself.

Whatever you do do not resign. You might be able to angle for a redundancy but don't let your company know this let, you want to put yourself in the strongest position to negotiate but at your pace and within what you are comfortable doing.

I agree with pushmepullme. If the matter was serious to the company then it should have been dealt with at the time and let you go and have your maternity leave. That is what a good manager and good HR dept would have done.

Don't feel you have to react straight away. Remember by them sending you this letter your manager may want you to over react - why else would you be bothered so soon after giving birth.

It is horrible that you are having to worry about work at this special time.

Lots of people expect HR rightly to be ethical and offer a different perspective than managers, but it often is not the case. They and the lawyers they hire are there to protect the company from potentially costly sex discrimination claims so don't expect them to be reasonable to you.

You can hope for a lot more that an unfair dismissal claim, but try not to let them get to you, you and your baby and dp are more important than a bunch of losers.

Putting in a claim is stressful and time consuming (not that you should not do this) but don't feel you need to react to their letter. Do things at your pace. You are entitled to keep getting paid, so take that well earned maternity money.

Some options that you can take or leave-

1. See your doctor - a sick note may be required if you are stressed.

2. It depends on your company policy as to what contact they can have, but you don't need to make yourself available for meetings etc, (especially if you have seen a doctor, and need to organise child care).

3. Check your house insurance it may offer some free employment advice by access to an employment lawyer, a well worded letter from a legal professional may assist you, but take your time and consult wisely. Call ACAS and some discrimination services. Or do you have a friend of the family who is an emp lawyer who can help you at your pace?

4. Alternatively is there someone higher in the company, an owner or a CEO who can write to, chat to on the phone? This might get you someone else with perspective outside that of HR and the manager, and you might find that manager is powerful enough gets your manager and HR to pull their head in, but this needs to be someone with standing, who is ethical and reasonable and preferable knows about your good work record. You could mention that you have issues with HR and your manager due to poor timing of the letter so wish to speak to someone higher. That way you may look more reasonable than the dim wits who contacted you.

5. You could also write to HR and ask for every policy document on Harrassment + Bullying, Maternity, Equal Opportunities, Grievance, Appeal, Disciplinary, Long service, Redundancy, Health and Safety etc, that way you don't need to show your cards just yet but you can get them to do some work and send you some information - they might get the message that you might claim under a wide remit. Ask for copies of your performance appraisals etc. Was a risk assessment undertaken for your post? Ask why not if it wasn't and request a copy if it was undertaken. Also ask HR to send you the notes on your file from the meetings (even though you described them as a waste of time) they should have taken notes, again get them to do some work, and this information gathering may take them some time.

6. Also if you are up to it (and again you and your baby are the most important considerations here) take some notes as to how your pregnancy was adversely affected by the manager, and /or HR.

7. Also I'm not sure but maybe the "reprimand" should only stay on your file for a short period, say 3 or 6 months and expire and then it may have to be removed from your file. This does not mean that you should not fight it, but I am assuming they are on shaky ground. Again you could ask for clarification, but it may not affect your employment record. You could always ask for the letter to be retracted as being unreasonable, given your circumstances.

All the very best in whatever you do decide to do, but please take your time and I hope you can somehow get perspective to enjoy your bub.

cupcakeandtea Sun 31-May-09 13:15:43

Pinkfizzle, you are absolutely right as is everyone who so kindly responded to my post...what do I want the outcome to be? Well, aside from my tosser of a manager, I don't really want to go back there as my job bored me to tears and it's a long commute from my home etc etc so the best outcome for me would be to resign when the time comes or be made redundant and I don't think it will come to a dismissal as my company (the media) don't really operate a culture of dismissing people. In fact, in all my time there they have never dismissed anyone to the best of my knowledge. What they tend to do is just make people redundant instead.

So, if I do complain to personnel over the way I've been treated what will the outcome be? It will probably spur my manager into finding more things to accuse me of to prove his point that I need to go. yes, I want to rant at personnel over the way I've been treated but I doubt it will have any effect whatsoever - my gut instinct is that it will just make things worse.

If I loved my job and I wanted to stay I would probably fight it but at the moment I just think it will add fuel to the fire. The only consolation is the fact he's well known for being a horrendous manager so why my company don't do something about it is beyond me. Perhaps he just brings in too much money into the company!

pinkfizzle Sun 31-May-09 20:52:07

Cupcakeandtea - all the very best, you know the place you have worked at and your own situation best.

I do hope that you can eventually negotiate a redundancy to suit you, with a decent tax free payment to help you and your family, if this is what you want, rather than you just resigning. Closer to the time you can also make sure you get a reference as part of the redundancy settlement, there is no need for one manager to ruin your record.

You have enhanced rights on maternity leave, and thankfully your tosser manager can't get to you while you are on maternity leave. Although it is no consolation, at least you know more about your company. For now you are out of a bad environment and it is great that your dp was able to come and support you and that you have also been able to get support from your family.

It does seem unlikely that even if you complain to your personnel that they are going to help now, and if the manager is known to be horrendous well then it may not be worth your battle, and you won't have been the first person to be mucked around with.

If you are bothered again then a polite request for every policy document under the sun might not hurt, you could even send in separate requests, this might let them know that you are not to be messed with. Just might be useful, if later on you want to get a redundancy payment.

Enjoy your bub!

oopsagain Sun 31-May-09 22:46:03

you need to have a good reference, though.
So you need to be calm at this point and make sure that if you do go then one of the provisos for not taking any grievance further is that you get a dgood ref and this matter is not discussed further IYSWIM.

I'm nt surehow you do it- but you need to think carefully when you go about what is on your records and what they will tell the next employer...

And it's a while off yet- so be calm and enjoy the baby smile

BigGitDad Mon 01-Jun-09 11:02:43

<thread hijack>
Hi Oops, how are you doing? Any news, thought of you the other day and wondered how it was progressing.

oopsagain Tue 02-Jun-09 23:32:12

Oh Hi BGD,
well, i can't remember where we were when I stopped posting.
I had the injection which in itself was fine.
But then ended up with a dried out eyeball which was insane agony sad

and then i think i had a full blown panic attack 3 dyas later blush and ended up in A and E at midlnight to 3am...

but, on the positive side they eye is 80% better and getting slowly better by small increments.
I've an appt at the dreaded place tomorrow for another injection- but i think i'm going to see if i can just wait a bit more. i don't want another injection and i'm hoping it will all just chill out and settle.

thanks for asking-i'm off to bed right now but will cathc up soon grin

pinkfizzle Fri 19-Jun-09 21:03:55

Cupcakeandtea - just hope that all is well for you and you are enjoying your baby.

You can get a reference i.e, if it is vol redundancy then by that time that comes around your company should have a standard reference or you can request a reference to be drafted, it depends upon the company practice.

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