My employer have systematically abused their Attendance Management Policy. I had IVF in July 2014 and was given a sick note to cover me for 2 weeks. My IVF was unsuccessful however as per guidance I was still in a 2 week permitted period. From the 1st day of the sick note I was told by my manager I was not covered by the protected period. I physically went into work to show him the guidance. I had 18 eggs removed and. 6 were of good quality therefore I was in a lot of pain and could not walk. The hospital were concerned that the empty follicles could fill up with water hampering any chance of implantation if the eggs fertilised. My manager rang me everyday to convince me to return to work in the end after 1 week I got tired and stressed with the phone calls and went to work. Prior to this I only had 1 days sick leave in February 2014 due to a cold.
The second time the attendance management policy was abused was when I had 2 days sick for cold and flu in January 2015 the senior manager told my manager to give me a cause for concern warning as she was worried about my attendance. At that time I raised a concern with my manager as my pregnancy related sickness could not count towards any Attendance Management purpose. Bearing in mind my immediate manager was not worried at all .
At the beginning of March 2015 I found out I was pregnant I was really unwell at 6 weeks my morning sickness started early, I had constant back pain, I was very tired and not sleeping. The job I do can be stressful as sometimes you have to deal with aggressive customers. I took some time off sick again on the 5th March due to my pregnancy related illness my manager still rang me everyday. After the 4th day of my sickness I started bleeding. (My doctor was very horrible at the time but that’s another story and another case) on the 12th of March I miscarried I was told at the EPU unit that there was no heartbeat and the baby was falling down from the womb into my cervix and the machine showed I was miscarrying. The same day I rang my manager to let him know. I was emotionally distraught as after 4 years of trying I miscarried. Even then my manager rang me everyday. My next scan was on the 20th and my manager conducted a 14 day informal review on the 19th even though he had agreed to contact me on the 23rd of March. However he told me that it was the senior manager that told him to ring me as he wasn’t in contact with me enough. I was so vulnerable at the time. The union did try to help but I felt my union rep wasn’t equipped with discrimination laws pertaining to pregnancy discrimination. After the attendance management review I ended up going to work on the 25th of march still in the process of a miscarriage. I was sat at work and bleeding knowing all the time I was losing my baby. The senior manager approached me to ask how I was and I told her I wasn’t well as I was still miscarrying and she said “oh well we are all here for you if you need us”. They felt no duty if care towards me. The constant phone calls made me very sick I had felt like just ending my life at one point. I was very emotional and tired. I felt vulnerable I did not feel up to challenging anyone. Whilst having the attendance management informal review I felt that if I didn’t go back I would have to go through the attendance management procedure and was scared of losing my job. Even Occupational Health had advised my manager that I should be given another 4 weeks off however that was ignored. My managers and my employer showed no duty of care towards me. I felt harassed and bullied back into work. I raised a grievance and it was not upheld I’m currently in the process of appealing against the decision. I was very vulnerable at the time and depressed I missed filing a complaint for an ET claim my union rep at the time was of no support and adamant that I should pursue the case via the unions solicitor under personal injury however they did not take the case forward. My concern is that there are a lot of people that have been in similar scenarios and are suffering it alone. I found it very hard to get any kind if legal advice about this matter.
These are the list of things my manager said to me:
When I rang in sick the first day my manager said so what do you want to do? I said: what do you mean? he said: do you want it as sick leave or annual leave. I told him I wanted to take it as pregnancy related sick leave.
Pregnancy isn’t an illness you know. Can you not take some paracetamol for your cramps and come in
Don’t take this personally but it looks like you have put on some weight do you think you could be pregnant