I had never experienced issues at work with management until I fell pregnant. I had no reason to believe that my manager and the manager above her would be anything but happy for me when I told them I was pregnant, we had always had a positive relationship and my attitude towards work or my standard of work had never been brought into question until I notified them of my pregnancy.
The attitude towards me completely changed and the atmosphere in the office could have been cut with a knife. I became the subject of remarks and jokes about pregnant women not being able to fulfil their work duties, comments like “Pregnancy is not an illness, either you can do the job or you can’t.” were being made on a daily basis and I even returned to my desk from a meeting to find a sign that someone printed off the computer warning others to beware as a pregnant person sat there.
I was unhappy and started to feel victimised but I had lost my confidence in approaching management and felt guilty that I needed to have these conversations as I had thought we had a good relationship, other members of the team would tell me that ‘it’s just banter’ and I questioned if I was overreacting.
The last straw for me however was when I became unwell in my pregnancy, I had a condition that required my work to be altered in order for me and my baby to be safe, the doctor had suggested a referral to occupational health and both my managers refused to do the referral, I felt stuck. I didn’t feel confident in speaking up and didn’t know how to defend myself in an environment that was making me feel attacked. So
I called Jamie at You1st HR, I explained what I had been experiencing and how I felt and I can honestly say after our conversation, I had the tools to manage the situation, I had been reassured that I was not overreacting and that I had every right to feel the way I was feeling. Every step of the journey I took throughout the remainder of my pregnancy was supported by Jamie and her expert knowledge of workers’ rights and the legislation that is there to support us.
It began with support and guidance into how to approach an initial meeting with HR to supporting me with preparing for a meeting I dreaded with management where I confronted all the issues that I had been experiencing, I went into the meeting feeling confident in knowing what to say and what questions to ask as well as what legislation to quote.
My relationship with management didn’t go back to how it used to be, however, they acted to move me into a more suitable role, one where I was able to work safely throughout the remainder of my pregnancy and with Jamie’s support I have had the appropriate discussions with my internal HR to ensure that when I come back from maternity leave, I am comfortable and able to get back into working without fear of retribution. I can not thank Jamie enough for all the support she gave me and although I hope to not have any further issues at work, I know that I can use her service again in the future should I need it.
Thank you Jamie for all your wonderful advice and guidance.