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"Bullying" at work at 32 weeks pregnant

(5 Posts)
mrsfredweasley Thu 06-Oct-16 17:53:21

Posted this is employment issues too but decided to go here for more traffic...

This will be a long one to avoid drip feeding, so I apologise in advance.

I work in admin in a school and I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant. I started having issues when I was around 13/14 weeks. I was off sick for 2 days (before anyone was aware I was pregnant) and during this time, a colleague went onto my computer (shared log in at the time), accessed my emails and read through my sent messages. None of which were bad but there were a number to my husband. She then told the head teacher what she'd seen and I had to go through a formal investigatory process for emailing my husband and "wasting work time". Because of this, I was forced to tell work of my pregnancy (because they'd read about it in my sent emails) before I was ready; before I'd even told family. My colleagues were also aware that I had previously had a miscarriage (about a month before) and should probably have realised that I might need the support of my husband during this time, but they clearly didn't.

This has all since been sorted after resulting in me having 4 weeks off work due to stress, and I made sure to let them know that reading my emails is actually illegal and the formal investigation was unnecessary, and the log ins have become individual. However, since then, the atmosphere and relationship between me and the colleague who "told on me" has been frosty and awkward. She unintentionally made it very clear that it was her.

Fast forward to 32 weeks pregnant and the attitudes of my colleagues towards me have gradually become worse and have really begun to grind me down. There are 4 other women in the office and they have started excluding me from everything and made me feel really isolated. No one says good morning to me when I arrive, no one offers to make me a drink even when asking the rest of the office by name, if they have general chit chat I'm never included and they always end sentences with each other's names to let me know nothing is directed to me. If they want to find out some information that is to do with my role, they'll go above me to the head teacher to ask her instead of turning to me on the desk next to them. The receptionist has become increasingly rude to me; demanding that I do work for her and when I say I am a little busy but will try, she gets incredibly nasty. These are isolated incidents that have resulted in a big thing. They also plan trips out together and events like candle parties, and openly discuss them in front of me without ever inviting me.

It's just made me feel shit, to be honest. I sit doing my work with tears in my eyes and come home and break down to my husband. I'm obviously very hormonal, which isn't helping. None of them ever ask how I'm feeling re: pregnancy or even get excited with me about it. It's putting me under a lot of stress and anxiety.

I leave for maternity in 2 weeks but I'm struggling to feel confident enough to make it that far. I've contemplated getting signed off sick until then and going to speak to the head teacher in the meantime to let her know how I'm feeling. But I'm conflicted because that just makes me feel guilty for going off sick and leaving my work load.

I'm so sorry for the length of this post, if you've made it this far, then thank you!!

Featherybum Fri 07-Oct-16 14:01:09

They sound horrible you poor thing. I think as it's escalating you do need to let your line manager know what's going on xx

LittleWingSoul Sat 08-Oct-16 16:05:59

That is a really awful situation flowers

I would be bordering on livid/tears all the time even if I wasn't preg and hormonal. What horrible people. Women can be such cows can't they!

Do you feel comfortable talking to the head after everything that happened in the past? Are you planning on going back after maternity leave?

If it's unlikely you have an ally in the headteacher I would consider moving onto somewhere else after maternity leave, these women won't change their attitude.

Wish you all the best for the next few weeks - you need to think of yourself and the baby, if that means getting signed off for your last 2 weeks at work maybe that's not the worst thing? They'd also surely have to cover your role in your absence too - which they seem to deserve!

LittleWingSoul Sat 08-Oct-16 16:07:30

Oh and by the way, I'd say that is bullying in a very true form, not just "bullying". It should be taken as seriously by the headteacher as it would be if a child was being bullied!!!

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Sat 08-Oct-16 16:44:58

Ok, first of all flowers

But....if there is a shared log in, and the emails are accessed by more than one person in order to deal with them, then them accessing "yours" while you were off, isn't illegal. (If that's what the set up was, apologies if I have misunderstood) There was, presumably, some sort of rule about sending personal emails though, from the work email, in work time, and that was why you got into trouble.

Sadly, not everyone who works with a pregnant woman is going to be excited, or even interested by her pregnancy. Especially if the pregnancy has caused her to have time off.

I'm NOT criticising you for this, honestly, that's just how work works.

The rest of it sounds like typical (unfortunately) office stuff when there are very few people working together and a handful of them have formed a close relationship to the exclusion of a very small minority, in your case, of one. Did they exclude you before you got pregnant? Do you offer to make them a drink? Do you say hello to them? It sounds very childish and playgroundy, and if you genuinely think they have somehow got it in for you, then you need to speak to your manager. Is that the HT or is there an office manager? Is the OM part of their group? Then go to the HT. It sounds odd that your colleagues are going to ask the HT stuff and the HT isn't saying "why don't you ask X, she's on the next desk and it is her remit after all".

You have two weeks to go, you have to decide whether you want to stick them out, and maybe find a lovely present at the end of them, or go off sick now, and if they really are gunning for you, then that will give them further ammunition. Again, it's awful to say, but IMO you'd be playing into their hands by going off sick. They would simply think you couldn't be arsed and couldn't wait to go on maternity. It's what these smallminded people are like.

More flowers and just try and relax. It's not you, it's them.

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