Blog about having premature ovarian failure and trying donor IVF with my sister's eggs

My current manager of four years is very tough and I am now finding myself having to protect my pregnancy from her.

In the past she refused to give me time off work as sick leave to do IVF, comparing it to plastic surgery.

And since I’ve been pregnant, she has given me no extra support or help. Even as my pregnancy has progressed and I have got bigger and more tired, she has shown me no leniency.

Up until two weeks ago, I was working 12 and 13-hour days to get all my work done. This is because the team of five that I manage has, over the past year, inherited several projects but we have been given no extra resourcing. I have pushed back to protect my team but she hasn’t listened to me. The projects we have inherited are very public, both within the organisation and outside, so we do not have the option of not doing them.

When I told my obstetrician I was working such long hours two weeks ago, he instructed me to tell her that I would only be working seven hours a day from now until my maternity leave begins in January. Today she said something about it that has left me feeling so upset and heartsick. She said she would be docking my salary accordingly as I am no longer working a full day.

I looked at her incredulously and said that that would be very unfair, given that I have never worked less than a ten-hour day for her and that over the four years, my overtime worked equates to literally hundreds of hours. I said I would be very upset if she went ahead with her plan.

I have now come home feeling so broken hearted. I have tried to protect my team over the years, as well as myself. I have built up the function that I manage in our organisation from nothing to a fully fledged, professional and operating department. I have supported her and been loyal to her and this is what I get in the end. Our team has barely been holding it together and now that I am going on maternity leave, two have resigned saying that they no longer want to work there given the intense work levels.

The most upsetting thing for me is that she doesn’t respect or support this very precious pregnancy. How dare she?  I can feel an anger brewing that is going to replace this sorrow very shortly.

Can I ask what others have done in this situation? I know that many other women reduce their hours in the latter stages of their pregnancy and would like to know how their workplaces have handled it and if anyone knows of any legal, if not moral obligations of employers towards their pregnant employees.


Comments on: "Protecting my pregnancy from my boss" (13)

  1. I don’t have any advise but I think it is great that you stood up to your boss. I think your argument about all the past overtime seems beyond fair. Stories about your boss make my blood boil!

  2. I was terminated from my job of almost four years two days after announcing my pregnancy. It is shocking to me the employers can get away with this kind of discrimination and harassment. If I were you, I would get in contact with an attorney who is versed in employment law in your state. Pregnancy discrimination is a very real thing and the law is pretty serious about protecting your rights. Good luck!

    • oh my goodness – it’s terrible to hear you lost your job after announcing your pregnancy! Did you seek any legal action?? Thanks for your advice about seeking legal advice…

  3. Fuck! You need to get Human Resources/ Personal involved. And check your contract. Mine says I work a 35 hour week, I do more than that but unless I do any less then no employer has a leg to stand on.

    Can you join a union? They’d be able to advise.

    And write everything down, and get her to.

    If you contract doesn’t specify your hours then I would email her and ask her to reiterate in writing what your core hours are and what she thinks is reasonable.

    Also ask your Doctor to put in writing his advice regarding how many hours you should work.

    Godd luck.

    This is appalling.

    • Hah – well here is the funny (not really) thing; she is the head of HR for our entire company of 20,000 employees. But only 2% are women so she obviously hasn’t had much experience with pregnant employees despite the fact she has three children of her own (!) and so must have gone on maternity leave herself??

      My contract states that I work a 37.5 hour week but that as it’s a ‘professional’ role, I need to work overtime where necessary. The thing is; I have always worked overtime in order to meet the demands of the role.

      Whatever the case, I spoke with my HR business partner, who also works for my boss in another team. She said that if my boss decided to dock my hours, she would seriously counsel her against it as it’s against the law and unethical. My HR BP was very sympathetic and reassured me not to worry, which made me feel a lot better.

      I had already got a certificate from my doctor about my reduced hours. She read it and understood it but then obviously thought that if I wasn’t going to be putting in the usual hours that she would punish me – what a dick!!

      The crazy thing is that she wants me to go back to work after my maternity leave – she has a funny way of showing it eh?

  4. I agree. You must involve HR immediately. This is blatant discrimination and bullying not to mention all the other legal ramifications. I am stunned in this day and age that individuals and companies think they can get away with this kind of behaviour.

    Can I also suggest you get a note from your Dr advising you are required to work less hours for medical reasons.
    Your work will not have a leg to stand on.

    Sorry you are having to deal with this.

    • Hi, thanks so much for your advice and support. I’ve replied to Womb for Improvement addressing the very valid points you raise.

      Hope you are OK

  5. Your boss sounds like a douchebag and the fact that it’s a she makes me sick. If two of your colleagues have quit the team/project and they’re not even pregnant, what does that say about YOUR fantastic level of commitment to the team/company?! But you can only do so much until protecting your precious pregnancy becomes nearly impossible. Like the other commenter says, review your contract and determine what ‘overtime hours’ are at your company. If it’s not stated in your contract, doesn’t the 35-hour/week rule apply? I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question. Big hugs to you and good luck on your journey. All the best!

    • Hi there

      She is a dick head! No two ways about it. This has sealed my thoughts on her once and for all.

      I know this sounds terrible but I am secretly quite pleased that two of my team quit as it creates a headache for her. They both told me they are leaving as they don’t want to work for someone else, ie: my replacement or ultimately, my boss.

      So she can sort that mess out herself! I feel seriously sorry for my replacement though…

  6. I dont really have much advice in regards to your problem, but I want to raise a point with you… once you’ve had your wee bub, what are you intentions towards work? Are you wanting to return full time? part time? casual?
    Its easy to say you want to work full time, but I think that after all your heartache and struggle to get this bub, you will struggle to do so. I know how hard it was for me to return to work after I had my babies, and its so hard. I work part time.
    I wonder if after you have taken your maternty leave and return to work, if you are on reduced hours, is this job going to allow you to go to work, and leave on time. You dont want to be stuck doing hours and hours of over time (trust me!).

    Your whole life is gonna change, and your job isnt going to be your top priority, and if your boss is being an arse now, what is she going to be like once you reduce your hours, or if you need time off cause your little one is sick? Is your job worth that kind of sacrifice?

    I hope I dont sound harsh, Im not meaning to be. Ive been in a position where I was bullied by work colleagues once I had my baby, and I ended up leaving. No one has the right to make you feel bad or less than a person because they dont agree with your choice (although she has 3 of her own, so not sure what her problem is!).

    Merry Christmas!

    • Hi Aimee
      I’d like to return to work (part time or a non-demanding full time role??) eventually, but not to my current role as I know it would be too demanding, in that my boss would expect me to work long hours.
      So even though I’ve said I’m returning; I won’t be, for the above reason. I’m not coming clean yet as I want to be eligible for a bonus that will be paid during the year that I’m off, for the six months I’ve just worked. It won’t be much but everything will help now that we are going down to one wage for a while!
      I’m sorry to hear you had to leave your job when you had your baby – on what grounds did you get bullied? That sounds crazy!
      Merry Christmas to you too!

  7. I’m concerned that your boss isn’t following the law, but I also don’t know where you’re from. I’ve never heard of anything so sad in my whole life. 😦

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