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Advice r.e work

(16 Posts)
Emilyjane11 Thu 20-Nov-14 13:05:58

Hi ladies,

I am 24 and I am 7+4 weeks pregnant with my first. I have suffered from depression and anxiety on an off since I have been 18 and just before I got pregnant i asked to come off my anti depressants and was being weened off them.

Anyway, when i found out I was pregnant i was advised to stop taking them completely and im actually feeling good! So no issues there but I am being very sick and i fee l very very weepy.

I had a day off work on Monday and today when I have gone to work i spent the first two hours of my day in the loo. I spoke to my manager about being sick and got a bit emotional, she then said that she thought I ought to go back on my anti depressants as its clear im very emotional. I explained that my weepyness is to do with my hormones and im just a bit fed up of being sick and she said she's worried about some up coming training where im going to need to pass assessments and that I need to be reliable.

I went home and rang my doctor as advised by my manager who told me she was going to sign me off for a week and that she doesn't want me back on anti depressants due to the risk to the baby, let me make it clear that I DO NOT WANT to to go back on them but I feel like I went to see my manager to tell her I was too sick to be in work and she told me I had depression?

I have since called her to tell her that the doctor has given me a sick note and she said that work don't accept them, and that i should try and come in if I feel up to it.

I don't have a high pressures job and I could easily be replaced but i can honestly say that I need this time off I can't get keep anything down that's not to say that I don't like having time off work either. Does anyone else think that she's been a bit out of order?

fortywinx Thu 20-Nov-14 13:29:41

Sorry to hear you're suffering Emily, the early stages of pregnancy can be quite unpleasant that's for sure!

Not sure what to suggest, but I informed my line manager about my pregnancy quite early on as I was also ill and ended up having time off. I wanted to ensure that my time of was logged as pregnancy related and not normal sickness (you can't be penalised in the same way in the UK for being off with pregnancy related illnesses). It's made them more helpful and sympathetic to the sickness I've been suffering as well!

I'm not sure what your specific work situation is, or where you live, but I thought that in the UK, your work can't choose whether or not to "accept" your sick note. If the GP says you're too ill to work, there's usually very good reasoning behind it and you are considered medically unfit to be at work. I'm not an expert though, and certainly don't know if it works the same for temp or agency staff and it's probably completely different in other countries!

I think the problem is that if your manager makes you go in and work whilst you're feeling so ill, she is going to contribute to your stress, anxiety and depression symptoms, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where you end up back on anti-depressants you don't want to take! Can you explain to her that the GP has told you that going back on antidepressants isn't an option at the moment due to another medical issue (if you don't want to come out and say you're pregnant)? At the end of the day, if your GP has signed you off, you should stay off! For your health and the baby's too!

KentExpecting Thu 20-Nov-14 13:51:49

Hey OP,

I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant and this is my first winter without antidepressants for 12 years or so. I suffer from severe depression that gets a lot worse seasonally, between October and March. So I'm typically on a low does in Summer and a high dose in Winter. Just as background so you can see where I'm coming from ;)

So, first of all, I completely understand that you're feeling more stressed / anxious / weepy / emotional in pregnancy. I'm the same. I go back and forth between being a sobbing mess and a real bitch. Not amazing - I'm trying to keep it in check during working hours, but I'm not particularly nice to be around at home. Having said that, I was definitely worst between 8 and 14 weeks or so, I'm a bit less 'hormonal' now as far as I can tell.

If you combine the symptoms above with feeling sick / nauseous / throwing up, then that's a lot to deal with. For anyone. There are lots of women who have to be signed off sick on and off in early pregnancy because they feel too unwell to work, even though they don't have the added complication of mental illness / depression / anxiety.

Your GP has obviously assessed your current health status and made a decision that you are not well enough to work. Your GP studied medicine for many years and is the only expert in this situation. Your manager is not. It is unacceptable for your manager to diagnose you with depression. She is not qualified to do so.

For what it's worth, I think she's also wrong - sounds like you have a bad case of all pregnancy symptoms hitting you at once! But of course I'm also not an expert ;)

It is also unacceptable for your manager to say that she is not accepting your sick note. It's not down to her. Sick notes are issued by qualified medical professionals, not line managers.

As you can probably tell from the essay that I've written, I'm really, really pissed off on your behalf. I can't even decide whether I think the manager is bullying you on grounds of your mental illness or on grounds of your pregnancy - but both would be sufficient reasons to take them to an employment tribunal! I'm not suggesting that you should do that... but: Please do not let your manager bully you into going to work when you are unwell. You would be setting a really bad precedent there. Listen to your GP, stay at home and take care of yourself.

Fingers crossed you will be feeling more human in a few weeks' time - most women do. Until then, wishing you aaaaaaaaaaall the best!

Emilyjane11 Thu 20-Nov-14 15:36:07

Thank you ladies you lovely lovely people.

I have told work im pregnant which is all the more shocking, and I am in the UK, working for possible the biggest company in the UK too.

My mum has basically said what you said (kentexpecting) and my partner has told me just to keep a note of what's being said.

I explained to her that there's no way of me going back on the anti depressants, this was after she told me she was sure there were anti depressants pregnant women could take. I feel like I have been really upfront and honest about how im feeling and I have struggled through the past two weeks but I really needed to come home today.

I spoke to a few other people at work who are or have recently been pregnant, they have all said the company dont accept sick notes, how can that be right?

juneavrile Thu 20-Nov-14 15:58:50

Your manager is just so completely wrong to be taking it upon herself to dish out medical advice. While we can't expect everyone to be compassionate, her behaviour is irresponsible, if not dangerous.

If you work for a big company, is there a proper HR department who you can contact and go over the head of the manager? That is what I would try to do.

It is quite normal to feel lousy at this point in pregnancy and it wears you down. You might have a few more weeks of it, but for many people it lifts and you start to feel better. Please don't let this episode spoil the good news of your pregnancy. Wishing you all the best.

Emilyjane11 Thu 20-Nov-14 16:18:31

Thank you. Yeah im looking into what to do next.

She rang me (again) just before and I told her I wasn't feeling any better she just said "okay thanks for the update" there was nothing said about the depression.

I won't let it spoil how happy im feeling about being pregnant that's for sure smile

MrsCK Thu 20-Nov-14 17:55:23

This is bullying. tactics that are used to try and scare women into coming into work when they are not well enough. It's also discrimination to not make allowances for your pregnancy. to me it doesn't sound like it's just a fault with your manager and I would be very careful about dealing with this just on your own purely as you say other pregnant women have also said that they don't accept sick notes and it's such a large company. so I would advise you get a copy of the sickness policy. email your manager where possible when these conversations happen so you have record of it. Send an email along the line of "further to our conversation where you explained that this company do not accept sick notes could you forward me the policy that details this".

you then need to contact your union and soon. Please document everything you can. If you have to be off sick later on in pregnancy you need to cover yourself now. If you have to be admitted and the manager already has told you they don't accept sick notes and you accept this then it will be harder to fight your corner should anything happen later in pregnancy. They could then try and get rid of you.

not trying to scare you but please please act on this now. They are not following employment law on this which is there for a reason.

JennyBlueWren Thu 20-Nov-14 18:04:38

Trying to look for the law on this for you:

JennyBlueWren Thu 20-Nov-14 18:14:57


Is the fit note binding on me?

No. The assessment about whether your
employee is not fit for work or may be fit for
work (and any other advice in the fit note) is
classed as advice, and it is for employers to
determine whether or not to accept it.
Occasionally, you may be believe that your
employee is not fit for work when they have
been assessed as fit for work by their doctor,
or you may think that your employee could do
some work when they have been assessed as
‘not fit for work’ by their doctor.
In situations like this you are within your rights
to gather other evidence about your employee’s
fitness for work from other doctors or healthcare
professionals. You can choose to give this
other evidence precedence over the advice in
the fit note. Your employee may disagree with
you, and you may need to demonstrate to an
employment tribunal why the alternative source
of evidence was more acceptable to you than
the fit note.

muddylettuce Thu 20-Nov-14 18:43:14

Please go to the hyperemesis thread, there is a link to pregnancy sickness support website there and a phone number. They help women get the medication they need but I was also advised they have relevant legal advice for women having problems with their employers. The doctor I spoke to said that they have a solicitor who volunteers for them too and who can provide more specific advice if needed. Please do have a look. X

muddylettuce Thu 20-Nov-14 18:47:00

Ps. If you are very this this is almost certainly affecting your mood. Dehydration can also have a detrimental affect on your mood/mind. I agree with other people saying your manager is not qualified to give out medical advice. Anti depressants won't stop you vomiting! Concentrate on resting and keeping as much food and water down as possible. There is great advice on that website about helping keep the sickness at bay. X

Emilyjane11 Fri 21-Nov-14 08:58:41

Thank you ladies you have all really helped. I'll take your advice x

Chunderella Fri 21-Nov-14 09:04:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

silverfishlondon Fri 21-Nov-14 10:20:08

Just wanted to say I'm sorry your boss is being crap already in your pregnancy. I thought knowing my rights would help but still didn't take away the stress from having unsupportive boss.

Try and ignore her medical advise, it's not your health she's looking after , it's the business she's thinking of. She can't encourage you to go back on them even if it would help you cope with work, if you and doctor dont want that.

Emilyjane11 Fri 21-Nov-14 17:44:34

I know, thanks ladies.

This boss is actually leaving the department next week but don't know if that makes me feel better or not really. Cause God knows who will replace her and it will be someone internal.

She rang me again today to ask if I was going to take my doctors advice and I just told her I would take each day as it comes and see how I feel, im supposed to be in tomorrow but I'm still being sick this late on in the day, which hasn't happened before and im exhausted as I cannot be sick quietly haha.

I feel like she's taking the joy out of this somewhat, the sickness hadn't succeeded at that just yet but the combination of both is now making me feel a bit fed up x

KentExpecting Fri 21-Nov-14 17:53:35

Hang in there - the sickness will most likely disappear in a few weeks. You're doing the right thing by listening to your doctor's advice. Get as much rest as you can!

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