Work being awful...

Discussion in 'First Trimester' started by Rosieroo, May 10, 2005.

  1. Rosieroo

    Rosieroo Well-Known Member

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    Have posted this in the work bit, but thought this area got more traffic. Your advice is really welcome....

    I was told (by my MD, alone in an office and I had noone with me) that if I have any more time off sick then they will take legal advice (because they wont want to continue my employment), but he understands that he has a legal requirement to allow antenatal appointments.

    He feels I have manipulated them.

    When I said, fine next time I am bleeding I will come in, he had a go about my sarcasm!

    I said that as I am pregnant he shouldn't be putting me under undue stress and anxiety, and he told me if I didn't like it then I knew what I could do about it. (Resign).

    After I walked out of his office at the end of the meeting I cried for about 30 minutes, I have awful stomach cramps and feel terrible.
     
  2. Urchin

    Urchin Well-Known Member

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    Talk to the citizens advice asap.
    Explain to you boss, perhaps in writing, how you feel. Ask for a reply in writing too.
    What he is doing is illegal, and he knows it, otherwise he would not have waited till he was alone with you to say it.

    Do you work for a large company? Could you talk to a HR department, or go over his head?

    You are only a little bit pregnant, don't start taking s**t now, as you will only get more and more.

    Put your foot down now, good luck!
     
  3. pjv382003

    pjv382003 Member

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    Hi Rosie

    You dont have to put up with the pig ignorance of some employers and you have rights......... go to Tiscali.Lifestyle there is a section on Womens rights in Pregnancy. Reading up on your rights will give you the confidence to know what is right. Most of all ANY meetings you must have a representative in with you which can either be union ( if you are in one) or a fellow employee. I think he realises he is on dodgy ground but make sure you are ready for him...All the best

    Paula 6 +3
     
  4. Lisa J

    Lisa J Well-Known Member

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    hi roiseroo i replied to this on the other post you put up, you do really need to get advice!!
    xxx
    good luck let us know how you get on
     
  5. Rosebay

    Rosebay Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I'm afraid I don't have any experience or advice to offer other than get some legal advice yourself but I just wanted to say what a [email protected]!! What's his problem? It's people like him who prevent true equality in the workplace. Would he be the same if you had a serious illness instead of being pregnant? Grrrr! I'm so angry on your behalf. Have any of your co-workers had kids while in employment and did they have the same problem? Do you think it's financial and he's trying to get out of the eventual maternity leave? What a swine :(.

    I wish I was an employment lawyer as I could write him a stinky letter!

    +++
     
  6. Rosebay

    Rosebay Well-Known Member

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    Just had a look at the Citizen's Advice Bureau website and they have a lot of information about these issues:-

    Click here for link


    Here is the official DTI website on Maternity employment issues:-

    http://www.tiger.gov.uk/maternity/index_april03.htm

    He hasn't got a leg to stand on, honestly.

    +++

    Rosebay, I had to edit your first link, it was stretching the page! :wink:
    Laura B
    Admin
     
  7. Happy

    Happy Member

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    Rosie Roo

    I've been thinking about this. I think the best thing to do - while waiting further advice - is to go to see this man and ask him to put his views in writing as you're not sure you fully understand his position. If he refuses ask him his position again and write it all down in front of him so that he sees that you're recording it. He will know that he is in the wrong and will no doubt take another tack to drive you out to avoid paying maternity leave etc. However if you've a record of this conversation then it's good evidence. Ideally bring a HR person with you but I understand this may not be possible.

    Good Luck and be content with the knowledge that you're in the right here.
     
  8. Rosieroo

    Rosieroo Well-Known Member

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    His daughter just had a baby, and she worked for us. Not only that but she was off continually in the first 6 months.

    I asked after the meeting that I wanted it in writing, he said that it had been noted on my personal file and that I couldn't have a copy as it was handwritten, and private.

    He told me today that they wouldn't be paying me for the time I had off. According to ACAS he has to pay me for Monday as I had a medical examination on the advice of my doctor (i.e my scan).

    ACAS also said that he hasn't a leg to stand on and if he dismisses me I can take him to court for sexual discrim and unfair dismissal.

    He is trying to get me to resign. They are actually advertising for another member of our team, and we are such a small team (3 of us, 1 part time) then you thought that they would've told us. Nope they wait until we get phonecalls about it and actually have to ask them if we're advertising.
     
  9. Rosebay

    Rosebay Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I think you have a legal right to employment records written about you actually but I'm not totally sure which act it would be under and how it applies to private companies. Certainly if it were a public company you could demand to see whatever was written about you- this came in with the recent Freedom of Information Act and includes medical notes by the way as well as a whole host of other stuff (I work in a library and we had to go on a course to explain it). I might be wrong but I think you could check the situation on employee records with ACAS.

    It's tricky as the most important thing in all of this is your health and the health of your baby but if you can hang on and not resign ACAS are right- he can't sack you or refuse to pay you for sick time legally and you would have a ton of legislation behind you if he tried it.

    Take care and try not to let this utter creep get to you :(.
    +++
     
  10. Manda

    Manda Well-Known Member

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    Freedom of information act covers anything and everything that is held on you he is breaking the law by not giving you a copy of anything your company holds on you, even the police have to tell you anything they hold on you.

    Whatever you do do NOT resign, he's trying to get rid of you cos you're pregnant but knows he can't so he's trying to get you to leave, read up on everything about sickness with your company and if you can about the freedom of info act and then go and see him telling him you know your rights, if you can't do it face to face put it in writing and makesure you keep a copy.

    Mand x x
     
  11. Happy

    Happy Member

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  12. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rosieroo

    I don't normally look on this area, as I'm still on the TTC section (unfortunately), but Rosebay suggested that I could add my comments. I'm an HR Manager so I know a bit about maternity rights and legislation.

    OK. Easy bit first. You are entitled to a copy of all notes that he has on you under the Data Protection Act 1998. You must put your request into writing and he may charge you a fee for copying your file. The maximum he can charge you is £10. He has 40 days to carry out your request.

    Secondly, make sure that you have detailed notes of all and any encounters that you have had with your boss. Note dates and times of day, note any witnesses and note emotions e.g. you cried for 30 minutes or if he raises his voice at you. Also note if he ever swears at you (always very useful in constructive dismissal claims!!). Also, keep notes of this other vacancy that is now mysteriously being advertised (dates etc in relation to your pregnancy announcement).... very suspicious. Sounds like he is already trying to replace you. All of this are useful grounds for a constructive dismissal claim. Think back to every conversation you have had with him.... when did you tell him you were pregnant, what was his reaction, what has he said since, etc?

    He has to allow you paid time off for antenatal appointments under s55 and s56 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. That said, he is entitled to ask for proof from your doctor, midwife or health visitor that you are pregnant and an appointment card or other proof of your appointment. If you don't give him this, then you lose your entitlement.

    He can suspend you from work (on full pay) on the grounds of health and safety. If your job affects your health such as doing lots of heavy lifting AND he can't find you a suitable alternative.

    ACAS are right about the unfair dismissal (s99 of the Employment Rights Act 1996) and sex discrimination (s6 Sex Discrimination Act 1975). It is also constructive dismissal (s95(1)(c) of the Employment Rights Act 1996) because he is trying to force you to resign.

    Check out your employer's grievance procedures. By law (Employment Act 2002) from October last year they had to put it in writing. Raise a grievance about his behaviour so far. If you fail to raise a grievance, it makes it harder to go to employment tribunal later to really get the [email protected][email protected]£d. You have the right to appeal against any decision made at the grievance hearing and unless it is a particularly small business and he is top of the tree, he shouldn't hear it.

    Whilst under normal i.e. not pregnant circumstances an employer could get a bit sniffy (to the point of dismissal) in terms of sick leave, if your sickness is pregnancy related, he can't.

    Sorry to get all legal on you, but I thought it might be helpful if you feel like quoting anything back to him. It shows you are on his case anyway. Hee hee hee, I like being on the other side for a change!!! :twisted: :twisted:

    From a more human point of view. Nothing at all is worth the health of yourself and your baby. No job is worth this hassle. Who'd want to go back to this crap afterwards anyway!!

    Keep your chin up and let us know how you get on. I'm going to post up something of interest about maternity pay and pay rises that is new legislation in the working during pregnancy forum in the next couple of days. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

    Here's hoping I can join your forum properly soon.
     
  13. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

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    BTW should just add that all of that is UK employment law. I'm afraid I don't have a clue about anywhere else! :D
     
  14. Lisa J

    Lisa J Well-Known Member

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    go helen!
    that info was fantastic
     
  15. Rosieroo

    Rosieroo Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Helen, that is fantastic :D

    Feeling worse today. I've been there for 2 years. Last July I got fed up and left, but was asked to come back in the September by a different MD who has now moved away but is still commercial director. He said that the time I was away would be treated as unpaid leave, so therefore continious service, but I don't appear to have anything in writing. Today I received a letter from my MD (sent to me at home). My supervisor, Jane had warned me to expect it, but told me that my old MD was also writing a letter.

    Here is the exact wording of the letter he sent me:

    Thank you for your letter dated 11th May 2005 notifying me of your pregnancy, and further to our conversation yesterday there are a number of points I would like to clarify:

    1. As an expectant mother you have certain rights. However, the employer also has rights, and the fact that you are pregnant does not alter the fact that you are required to do your job as effectively as possible, and that an acceptable level of attendance and behaviour is expected from you. For example, it is not acceptable to disrupt other members of staff, and what is discussed between you or I, or you and your Manager should not be discussed during working hours with other members of staff.

    2. You rejoined *the company* on 16th September 2004, having left some three months earlier. Your previous period of employment does not count for continious services purposes because there was a break in service. You have therefore been with the Company for less than 12 months and your employee rights are limited.

    (Other MD is supposed to have sent me a letter telling me that I do have continious employment)

    3. You will not be paid for periods of sickness (SSP only). However, you are entitled to take paid time off for antenatal care appointments made on the advice of your doctor or midwife. The advice I have been given is that you should provide your Manager with confirmation of appointments made and attended. You will be expected to attend work before and after all appointments wherever possible, and before any payment is agreed we will require confirmation of the length of time of the appointment.

    4. Your attendance record prior to your pregnancy is not good, and I sincerely hope that you will not take advantage of your current condition. However, should you be unwell at any time please contact by telephone Jane Kibbler, your line Manager. If Jane is not available please call me. You should not contact junior members of staff.

    I hope that you are now clear on both your own, and the Company's position regarding your employment with *the company* and your maternity rights. If you wish to discuss any of these points please do not hesitate to come and see either Jane or myself.



    I spoke to ACAS and apparently if I have less than 12 months service and he either makes me redundant or sacks me (for example if he says my work is not up to scratch) then I cannot take him to court for unfair dismissal.

    I guess by making this known to me he is gearing up to either get rid of me or to put so much pressure on me that I hand my notice in. Unfortunately I am not in a position to leave, I simply have not got the money to be able to do that, so I will just have to put up with it until he does something.

    I am ashamed to say that I have been wearing a dictaphone to work (deleting the files that are not of any use) for my own protection.

    He is off until next Wednesday. I am hoping the old MD has sent me a letter confirming I do have continous service, if he's changed his mind I am up the creek basically. I've tried calling him but he hasn't answered and I've sent him 2 messages which he hasn't replied to.

    My attendance wasn't good because I had to have 10 weeks off of work last year (starting in Feb) because of a botched foot op that got infected. But I was signed off.
     
  16. Lisa J

    Lisa J Well-Known Member

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    hello again
    what a knob just keep your head up and don't let him get too you!!! just keep trying to get hold of your other MD
    good luck
    xxxxxxx
     
  17. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

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    OK. If it helps, here are my thoughts in relation to his letter....

    True. He can expect a reasonable level of attendance and behaviour. I wouldn't advise sounding off in front of other staff, perhaps find a union rep (if you have one) or a close friend you can talk to privately. People will feed back to him what you are saying publically and you don't want him to know what you are thinking/planning before you do it. Also, don't give him a reason to sack you.

    Unfortunately, if you've had this break then strictly speaking it isn't continuous employment. I'm not sure on what the legal position would be if your previous MD comes back and says differently. It seems odd that your old MD is prepared to stick his neck on the line and say something differently to the current MD. I guess the two don't get on! I would, however, prepare yourself for the possibility that your old MD may give you a letter which echos the company line. He may well have to do that to protect the business regardless of whether that is what he actually believes. Check your contract when you rejoined. It should have a date on there saying when your continuous employment began. What does thay say?

    I'd check what your absence policy is in terms of sick pay. It is perfectly reasonable for employers only to pay SSP which is next to nothing, I'm afraid, for absences. As I said in my earlier posting, you are entitled to full pay for antenatal appointments. It's reasonable for him to expect you to attend before and after an appointment.

    Again, check what the absence policy is. If it is that you have to ring into your supervisor when sick and the MD if she is not available, then you have to follow that. Otherwise, any absence is unauthorised. Even if the policy is that, what do other people do? If it is custom and practice that people ring in to junior members of staff and they are making an exception of you, that's obviously a bit unfair.

    That's true, if it's genuine. If you are dismissed because you are pregnant, it is automatically unfair dismissal regardless of how long you have worked there. If he does dismiss you, under s92(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 you are entitled to "a written statement giving particulars of the reasons for the employee's dismissal" regardless of how long you have worked there.

    If you end up at tribunal over this, there may be an issue with privacy because you are taping things without someone's consent (think of all those call centres "this may be taped for training purposes"). However, if you think you can get away with it, I'd carry on, but produce yourself notes from the dictaphone afterwards and rely on them. Bear in mind, that if they catch you, they could use this as a disciplinary issue and a way to get rid of you.

    Being signed off or not doesn't make much difference. If your sickness is excessive they can dismiss. However, this is one incident which they didn't tackle at the time (I presume). What is your attendance like other than that i.e. coughs, colds, upset tummy, the usual? If it's low (less than 5 days per year I'd say, although it varies from place to place and types of work), then I don't really think you have anything to worry about. It's not as though your foot problem is going to recurr, is it?

    Have you checked out the grievance procedure yet? If you feel you have enough to go on, I'd raise one. As he is the MD, there may be a slightly different procedure for dealing with complaints about him e.g. in ours we say that two other directors will hear the complaint. Out of interest, what is the ACAS advice on this point?

    Hope that helps, sorry I seem to have waffled on (again!). Pet subject and all that :oops:

    Good luck.
     
  18. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

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  19. Rosieroo

    Rosieroo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Helen, more great info :D You're a star :)

    The old MD has said he will do this because that's what he agreed last year when he called me to ask me to return to work there. He said my absence would be treated as unpaid leave and I accrued holiday for the time that I was off.


    Haven't got a copy at home, I will need to get one from work (which I will find hard). My workplace is very small, in our building there are 7 people at the moment (which includes supervisors and the MD). So I will have to request one from my Supervisor/MD so I am sure it will take a while. I do remember that when I rejoined I got a letter regarding my rejoining the company telling me that the terms and conditions were as per my contract dated 9th May 2003.

    There hasn't been an issue with people speaking to junior members before (i.e. my colleagues) if our supervisor was not available. When I had a UTI 4 weeks ago she didn't answer the phone to me several times and I had to leave messages on it. This wasn't brought up then.


    There is no written info about grievance procedures at my work, and if I ask then it will get back to him which will make things worse.


    Helen - if I am signed off because the stress is having a detrimental effect on my health, and therefore my pregnancy, could he sack me for being off sick (say I have complied with all the rules) I've never had anything in writing other than his letter to say anything about limits of sick leave etc. If he did sack me then would I have any come back. I am upset every day and under a great deal of stress, I am worried it could be harming my baby and I am scared to death that it will make me miscarry (especially because of the bleeding I had before).
     
  20. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

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    Hi rosieroo

    I think it's good that you've been signed off, although worrying about being signed off is not good! How long have you been signed off for and what does it say on your doctors note? What was the reaction at work to this?

    It's good news about about your old MD. Accruing holiday also demonstrates the continuity of your contract. Just a thought, since this guy seems sympathetic, how about speaking to him about your situation informally? I'd see if you could dig out that letter from when you rejoined. If it spells out the continuity situation that would be helpful.

    Sounds to me because you are a small firm that you don't have much in the way of formal procedures. Do you have a staff handbook or any rules of any kind? I take it that there isn't a formal absence procedure?

    Since October last year (Employment Act 2002), employers have to have written grievance procedure (and disciplinary procedure). You may find when you get a copy of your contract that the document is referred to in there (it should be!).

    Dismissing anyone who is sick for a pregnancy related illness is extremely dodgy ground because you are effectively discriminating against them for being a woman (no man is going to be off sick with morning sickness for example!).

    However, your situation is more complicated than that. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment. By behaving the way he is towards you, he is failing in that respect. You could have a stress claim, but at the moment they are notoriously difficult to win. It could also be indirect sex discrimination, as his attitude towards your pregnancy has caused you to be ill.

    I know you are worried about money, but you may have to accept that there is no future for you at this company. Your boss is a complete a&$e, not to mention a sexist, arrogant pig with a disregard for the law and basic fairness and nothing will change that. :twisted: As top dog, he has control over everyone else and returning to work after maternity leave is going to be a hassle. Not to mention if you want to request flexible working e.g. part-time. Who needs that kind of crap every day? I know it feels like there is no-where else to go, but there are always other jobs out there, complete with employers who actually care about their staff.

    You really need some specialist legal advice and quickly, more than I can possibly give you on here (sorry). Try ACAS again or the Equal Opportunities Commission (www.eoc.org.uk). Their number is 0845 601 5901.

    You are not alone by the way... stat from eoc website "Around 30,000 working women are sacked, made redundant or leave their jobs each year due to pregnancy discrimination. " :shock:

    You could try Citizens Advice Bureau. Your other option is to find a solicitor who specialises in employment law and will take your case on a no win-no fee basis.

    You have to put in a grievance at work first in order to be able to go to a tribunal and claim anything. It will be awful, but you can have a work colleague as a companion to support you and to take notes.

    I don't want to sound as though I am fobbing you off, but if there is a likelihood that you will be off work for some considerable time, which it sounds as though there is, it complicates your situation. Your MD may think that it is worth taking the risk and dismissing you on that basis. I think it would be better to be prepared for that eventuality in advance.

    I hope this helps, although I know it sounds a bit gloomy. Stop being upset, this man does not deserve that reaction from you. Get angry (in a limited, calm sorta way. I find Glenn Close a good role model for this :D ) get legal support and KICK HIS ASS!!!

    P.S. don't forget to let us know how you get on and I am always here if you want to ask anything at all.
     

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