Think I've been bullied at work due to pregnancy... what would you do?(10 Posts)
Currently on maternity leave after a really rough pregnancy- terrible sickness, anaemia, infections, exhaustion. I had a big chunk time of work as a result (perhaps 8 weeks in total, spread over the course of 9 months.)
I felt I was alienated by colleagues I work with closely as a result, ignored on returning from sickness, some emails ignored, I wasn't invited to the department summer party, talked over whenever I spoke about my pregnancy and was met with sarcastic comments about what I was eating etc.
I felt so ill all the time that I let it pass and cocooned myself in my own workspace, trying to avoid them.
Now I've heard that since going on maternity leave, my desk has been completely cleared out and so have my folders of work (my husband works there also, but in a different department.) I have no idea what has happened to all my files and paperwork and I'm spending my maternity leave in a constant state of anxiety about returning.
My manager had no sympathy whatsoever when I was pregnant and would ask me to work through lunchtimes etc even after being made very aware of my illnesses. He even asked me to work from home when I was off sick. The main boss has no idea about any of this.
Anyway, my husband recently spoke to a trusted member of my department who confirmed that there was 'a lot of negativity' towards me when I was pregnant, although he couldn't say whether it was ' because' I was pregnant.
I'm glad I now know this didnt all happen in my head but what do I do about it? My anxiety about returning to work is massively affecting my maternity leave.
Do you think I was bullied? Is it time to speak out about this?
Do you have a HR department who are worthwhile?
The HR department see over our region so I'm not familiar with them personally, so perhaps wouldnt feel overly comfortable approaching them initially. I feel that of I'm going to tell someone, then firstly it needs to be someone I know and who knows these people closely too.
Yes you were however it would be hard to prove as the incidents are not specific or recorded.
Do you have KIT says? If so I would suggest you arrange one with your manager to discuss your eventual return to work. I wouldn't mention the previous incidents or the desk thing but I would ask that any arrangements be recorded and you have a copy. This hopefully will reduce your anxiety and also give you a "feel" of the atmosphere.
Once you return to work record any incident which makes you feel bullied/harassed and report to HR. Also maybe stop asking DH about work. You are not there and talking about it won't help.
Congrats on the new arrival by the way
Thanks Flossy! Really enjoying time with DS just wish I could stop worrying about work! I intend on arranging some KIT days soon, so I might discuss my worries informally with the main boss then. I know I'm not going to tolerate it when I return so it just makes me so anxious at the prospect of discomfort and confrontation.
I'd definitely use a keeping in touch day to discuss the arrangements for you coming back. Perhaps asking if there's been any organisational or physical changes whilst you've been away.
I always think bullying is a difficult one - some of the incidents probably weren't pleasant, nor perfect behaviour from colleagues. Whether they add up to "bullying" is debatable, but it doesn't detract from resolving them. I'd try to get a feel for how the land lies, before throwing a bullying allegation at them. Not suggesting it wasn't, but some of the events could be argued another way e.g. Ignored after return, could be that just those involved in a specific conversation / contract / deal at work carried on that conversation? Or your desk being "cleared out" could be that files were moved to the office of someone who is covering for you, or that there's been a general move in the office?
I understand your thinking with the bullying label and to be honest, throwing allegations around isn't the way I'd deal with things anyway. I just want a smooth return to work without having to worry.
Their ignorance toward me was noted by 2 other members of staff as were the negative comments that were voiced during my absence. I also have my own office so it makes no sense for them to go in and 'clear out' as it were when I'm going to need all my paperwork when I return.
There have been plenty of technical changes since my absence so I do need to go in and get an update.
I think you're better talking to HR because they are removed and therefore more likely to be professional
That's a good point Pelicangiraffe I'm also on good terms with the company Union so I'll fire an email over and see what they suggest.
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