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Boss doesn't want me to tell any clients i'm pregnant

(10 Posts)
Maggiemootwo2 Wed 04-May-16 22:59:26

I'm 17 weeks pregnant and I'm an agent for people in the arts. I have extremely close working relationships with those I represent. The relationships I have are essentially my own and no one else works with them. My boss has told me I can not tell them until I have a suitable replacement for my maternity leave ( a job which has been left down to me). My boss also wants to meet the new person but is only in the country for 2 weeks ( he's on sabbatical). I'm feeling more and more uncomfortable not telling my clients as we have a high level of trust. I have to cancel appointments and not attend important events as my bump is now clearly on show. My clients are starting to get annoyed I feel like it's also my personal reputation at stake and now many of the people I look after would feel more comfortable knowing the situation in full. Any thoughts on this or has any one else been in a similar situation where they were unable to tell clients knowing it will do more harm than good?

HairyLittlePoet Wed 04-May-16 23:11:12

Think, for a moment, about YOUR rights. Not the convenience of your boss, or the disruption to the clients, but your rights.

Is your boss actually asking you to disguise your physical pregnant body? Is he asking you to lie about your pregnancy? Is he asking you to conceal the truth about your pregnancy?

All of the above are grossly unfair on you, overtly discriminatory and, I imagine, an illegal request. Unbelievable, in fact.

Don't do it. Get some decent advice from HR about your rights whilst pregnant. This must be dreadfully stressful, and your boss is so far out of line. What would happen if you didn't oblige him and just got on with your job, knowing that your pregnancy was obvious? Or if you actually informed your clients?

He can't take any action against you for being pregnant, nor for informing clients of that fact.

Get some advice, and please stop putting your own reputation and wellbeing at risk to appease your boss.

HairyLittlePoet Wed 04-May-16 23:11:32

(oh, and congrats!)

Maggiemootwo2 Wed 04-May-16 23:25:36

Thanks for your feedback HairyLittlePoet. My boss hasn't asked me in so many words to hide my appearance but it's rather obvious now that I am. So either I meet with my artists and they figure it out by themselves ( I would rather tell them) or I don't meet with them at all. My boss has known since I was 8 weeks pregnant. he is back in the country for the first time this week and hasn't seem me since i told him the news. Unfortunately we don't have an HR department we are small company of 6.

Vap0 Wed 04-May-16 23:49:45

Maggie are they asking you to recruit your replacement?
That's asking a bit too much.
It's wrong for them to ask you to not tell your clients.
I'm in the opposite situation to you, I deal with a lot of buyers and we are selling in new product at the minute (1st time in 3 years) and I'm concealing my pregnancy as much as I can (22w) until I have their orders as I keep asking my boss who will be taking my place and what will happen and they won't tell me until 4 weeks before I go. I'm so concerned about my buyers and stores feeling abandoned and having no support to deal with this new product that I'm scared to tell them as I don't know what the company will do in my absence. It's not the kind of job they could get a temp in to cover, it sounds like your job is similar if it's all about relationships. I was fortunate that my bosses have encouraged me to tell my buyers, although I work for a large company and they can't be deviating from the law. It sounds like your company are in breach of some rules somewhere along the line.
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
Don't let them stress you out about it.
If people notice they notice, if you decide to tell them then there is nothing they can do.
I hope the situation resolves itself, I'm sure it will come to a head soon when your bump is more noticeable.
Best of luck sorting it flowers

Junosmum Wed 04-May-16 23:49:49

I agree with hairy. It's not as though telling clients about your pregnancy places you or unborn at risk, which is the only reason they could suggest you conceal it.

Maggiemootwo2 Thu 05-May-16 07:34:57

Thanks all. I would love to know if it is illegal to ask someone to hide their pregnancy or imply by not asking to not tell clients that it should be hidden. In some ways I understand it is better to have a plan of action before you tell your clients as it makes them feel more assured they will have someone great to deal with. However I haven't been able to move forward on this because my boss has been away since February and wants to be involved in the hiring process, (we are trying to have a few months cross over hence why I'm hiring early). Now i feel that not telling will actually be detriment to client relationships and the business.

OurGrowingFamily Thu 05-May-16 07:39:42

Talk to citizens advice about your situation! I would tell my clients and explain to my boss I cannot pretend I am not pregnant therefore endangering my reputation because it is not convenient for you. I would also say due to being pregnant and working I cannot handle the additional stress of recruiting my own replacement, and I feel you are more qualified to select a replacement

Merd Thu 05-May-16 07:51:11

What a fucking jerk. He's endangering your reputation and the perception of your company's clients - and for what? So that they, er, know they'll be working with someone else soon for a bit? Which will happen anyway no matter what!

How on earth would it make a difference to tell them in advance - seriously, would that somehow wreck your company? If your work is so dependent on you and you alone (which maybe arts jobs are?) then he should be smarter at keeping you happy as an employee anyway, because after this I'd be eying up other jobs.

Most charitable interpretation - if hasn't seen you for a long time maybe he's in denial over it all and doesn't realise how stupid it is. But that's not great either.

It sounds like you need a conversation along the lines of "enough's enough, I'm showing now, we've had months to sort this out and haven't, and I'm going to start mentioning it. I have to see so-and-so this week and she's going to notice, and they all talk. It's just one of those things."

Maggiemootwo2 Thu 05-May-16 10:48:53

Thanks all. Deep down I absolutely know all your above points are absolutely true and reasonable. It's just having to deal with added pressure of keeping it a secret and looking for a replacement and doing my job at the same time. I know the subject needs to be broached firmly now he is back in the country.. It's just having the energy to tackle it because unfortunately from past experience it won't be a smooth process.

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