I am a network manager for a large telco. I have worked there for 10 years. I had a baby in early 2015. My baby was 8 weeks old (and I had already visited work!) when my new boss rang me to ask me if I’d had my baby yet, and her unprofessionalism and lack of care only escalated from there. I asked to come back on full time flexible hours but was told my customer had been given to my two male temporary replacements and I’d been given their customer who coincidentally couldn’t support my hours (though she couldn’t explain why). I was told this was due to my not having the ‘skills and experience’ of my replacements even though I helped recruit and fully train both. She never updated me on the business and when I complained she said I should have been picking up my work emails, despite the fact she was aware I left my laptop in my locker at work. She then said my husband, who also works for the business though not my department, should have been updating me. She rang me weekly for months suggesting that if the hours didn’t work for me, I should consider leaving and she would ‘fully support’ me looking elsewhere and that she was ‘only thinking of me’ as ‘it’s hard to have a full time job and children’ (this is my second child in 6 years).
When I raised an appeal on my hours she responded by not inviting me to the team Christmas party. I only found out they’d been when she rang and abused me over the phone and I commented to my husband she sounded drunk – just as my workmates were tagged in photos on Facebook in the pub with her. I have never felt so low.
I ended up in the doctors diagnosed with a stress related disorder attributed to my work situation. I was told to stop breastfeeding so I could take antidepressants but I refused. I raised a grievance on my manager and spent my first Christmas with my new baby worrying if I had a job to go back to.
I won my appeal and my working hours as there was no evidence to suggest my customer couldn’t support them. I lost my grievance as she got another manager to give ‘evidence’ that I verbally agreed to not be contacted despite my having email evidence of the contrary. She says she never made the abusive phone call to me and she wasn’t drinking in the pub, despite the evidence, I wasn’t believed. I am now appealing the grievance and have taken legal advice, and going though a conciliation with ACAS. My employer is considering a settlement for maternity and gender discrimination yet I’ve been told it is not their policy to apologise. My boss has been ‘realigned’ to a different department but I’ve been told it’s a coincidence and nothing to do with my experience.
Despite the possibility of a settlement and a new manager I’m still very affected by the 6+ months of constant discrimination. My health has been affected and I’ve lost so much time with my newborn. I’m terrified to have another baby with this company, even though they pride themselves in the press on their excellent maternity package.