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Pregnancy discrimination?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Sonia23, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Sonia23

    Sonia23 New commenter

    Hi there
    Just looking for some advice and wise words about my situation.

    I'm currently in my final trimester. Unfortunately I have had a challenging pregnancy where I have been off work with pregnancy related issues. Oct- Jan (Hyperemesis). From Jan - April I have been in and out if school. I've got SPD and have had bleeding. When I have been off I have always provided a sick note.

    In January I was called into an absence trigger meeting- I have just realised that they have added my days off to my pregnancy to my absence record- I thought pregnancy related absence has to be noted separately?
    My head also said that my absence will be monitored against the absence policy- I have e-mailed HR for a copy of the absence policy relating to pregnancy (If there is one)

    I spoke to HR this morning and they told me that I have an absence meeting next Wednesday due to me being absent over the last term. I suppose what I want to know is my head teacher allowed to have absence trigger meetings with me when I have been off with pregnancy related issues?

    My husband thinks they will want to meet with me about bringing my mat leave forward...

    I would appreciate any thoughts

    Thank you
     
  2. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    pepper5 likes this.
  3. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Can't add anything to what you have said. They CANNOT take pregnancy-related sickness absence into account when managing sickness absence.

    Immediately seek advice from your union - not at school level. You'll need someone who understands discrimination.
     
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Congratulations on the happy event coming soon. How lovely for you!

    Not yet! This only applies in the last four weeks before the expected date. N.B. Your maternity leave and pay will start on the day after the first day of absence from work for pregnancy-related illness in the last 4 weeks - so you get one day's grace.

    @Piranha has given an excellent link. I suggest that you contact HR again with that link, and ask for the meeting to be cancelled. You may wish to include some wording such as:

    I feel that the manner in which the school is treating this pregnancy-related absence, by including it in Absence Management procedures, is not only direct discrimination but also harassment, and could cause a decline in my health from the stress caused directly by this action.

    I therefore request that this meeting, which is inappropriate since my absence record for non-pregnancy-related absence cannot justify it, is cancelled forthwith.


    Look after yourself and that baby! The Duchess of Cambridge didn't have to put up with this, and neither do you!

    Best wishes

    .
     
    joannagb, asnac and sabrinakat like this.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Sorry to be a pedant :) but there is no harassment in pregnancy discrimination. It's all lumped together under the umbrella of 'unfavourable treatment'.

    Great letter @TheoGriff! [It's unlawful contrary to s18 EqA 2010]
     
  7. Sonia23

    Sonia23 New commenter

    Thank you very much for your speedy responses, I really appreciate the advice
     
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Yes. my letters have often been admired. Although not always by those who receive them, it must be said . . .

    So we re-word slightly, as our friendly neighbourhood pedant says ;)


    I feel that the manner in which the school is treating this pregnancy-related absence, by including it in Absence Management procedures, is not only direct discrimination but also liable to cause a decline in my health from the stress caused directly by this action.

    I therefore request that this meeting, which is inappropriate since my absence record for non-pregnancy-related absence cannot justify it, is cancelled forthwith.


    We work well together, @GLsghost !

    .
     
    Sonia23 and GLsghost like this.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Another headteacher who doesn't know their job - or the law.
     
    pepper5, Sonia23 and GLsghost like this.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Consult your Union as soon as you can - and hope all goes well.
     
    Sonia23 likes this.
  11. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    From my perspective, I do love encountering employers like this. The more arrogant they are, the more I like playing them! :)
     
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Isn't this the sort of thing that would merit a locked thread at the top of the page? The advice?

    Or is it (fortunately) too infrequent an issue to warrant such a thing?
     
    Sonia23 likes this.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Not infrequent, unfortunately. Pregnancy / maternity discrimination is very common.

    The nature of the behaviour varies a lot though, so probably better to respond to individual dilemmas as they occur. Related sex and / or part-time workers discrimination may also be relevant, in some cases, such as where requests for flexible working are unreasonably denied, or part-timers denied promoted posts or training opportunities.
     
    Sonia23 likes this.
  14. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Excellent advice, as always.

    When this is all resolved, you must ensure that the pregnancy-related absences are recorded separately and/or expunged from your record....
     
    Sonia23 and GLsghost like this.
  15. Sonia23

    Sonia23 New commenter

    Thanks again everyone.
    Crowbob I shall definitely be doing this and getting them to confirm that they have amended my record.
     
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Might it be a good idea to quote this if writing a letter? Shows that you know your rights under the law!
     
    Sonia23 likes this.
  17. Sonia23

    Sonia23 New commenter

    Ahhh yes, that's great - thank you. I'll quote that.

    I'm just waiting for HR to send me the absence policy regarding pregnancy. Once I've read through it, I'll be sending HR and my head an e-mail regarding my pregnancy related absence.
    My request for the policy seems to have been ignored - very frustrating.
     
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    Give'em a chance! They have to write it before they can send it to you. ;)

    Best wishes

    .
     
    Sonia23 likes this.
  19. Sonia23

    Sonia23 New commenter

    Oh cobbles:(

    It really wouldn't surprise me!
     
  20. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Cutting and pasting directly from the legislation [Equality Act 2010], the wording in the Act is this:

    18 Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: work cases
    (1)This section has effect for the purposes of the application of Part 5 (work) to the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity.

    (2)A person (A) discriminates against a woman if, in the protected period in relation to a pregnancy of hers, A treats her unfavourably —

    (a)because of the pregnancy, or

    (b)because of illness suffered by her as a result of it. [my emphasis]

    No policy on sickness absence in pregnancy? Why am I not surprised... :(

    I throw in just for interest the information that, if you were to make a formal complaint of discrimination in the ET about this, compensation for injury to feelings is likely to be valued - at the moment, as things stand - between £600 and £6000. How the school responds to your Theo letter and then a formal complaint has a bearing on the value of compensation. If it arrogantly carries on regardless, compensation for injury to feelings is likely to move into the middle band.

    It's set out clearly in this blog: http://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/discrimination-compensation-injury-feelings-awards

    I make this point to emphasise that the law takes seriously discriminatory treatment. Pregnant women do not have to put up with this wholly unnecessary stress.

    VERY happy to assist / support with any information at all to enable you to get the outcome you want.
     
    Sonia23 likes this.

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