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Bullying during Pregnancy then misscarriage


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Hello, some advice please. My wife has been with her company for 10 years and we have been trying for a baby for 4 of those, sadly suffering 8 early misscarriages. Three of the most recent has seen unwanted comments and actions from my wifes boss, each time he knows she is pregnant he will make hurtfull comments, has jumped out on her and allowed staff to though balls at her ( they were unaware). Upon raising these points to him he either adds more comments or asks her to apologise, or will ask if she is fit to do her job.

She has approached HR, but when they asked if she wanted to go to greivance, she said no as he may have lost his job or made life more difficult again.

Now we are going to greivance, with the last instance being an increased work load with assistance denied and then trying to force her to eat peanuts, upon protest and explaining her history with missacrriage he said we you never know what will happen anyway.

i will not add more detail but all 3 preganacies all ended in misscarriage and bullying each time.

What can we expect from the results of the greivance etc, for my wife and also what will happen to her boss. Also, is it possible if they are both still employed she does not return to work with him ever again particularly as we are now under going IVF. Stress although not proven is not good for pregnancy as we all know.

Please help any advice would be great.

rsspence

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Hi rss

 

This is clearly bullying, your wife has done the right thing. Has she you sent a written grievance? Has she you send a copy to HR? Has she sent it Recorded?

Has he got a history of bullying others?

 

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/Grievanceprocedures/DG_10027992

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As she was pregnant at the initial time of speaking to HR, they were unwilling to pursue the case until she was fit to do so, due to the stress and pregnancy. Now it has all changed, we will be contacting them tomorrow, to arrange a meeting or see how they would like to proceed. i am unaware of a history of bullying, but that said, he has only really bullied my wife when she has said she is pregnant. It is very strange but he seems to jeopardise the pregnancies by adding pressure and comments etc. My wife is terrified that she will loose her job as she has said that she will NOT work for him again, especially with the IVF coming up.

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Get the grievance in and make sure that you use words like 'bullying' and 'discrimination'. This is undoubtedly both of these things but unless you use the words and make the allegation 1. You will find that this gets pushed aside with the promise of 'retraining' the manager concerned and 2. he will never learn that his behaviour is completely unacceptable.

 

You will find it nigh on impossible to make a correlation between the behaviour of the manager and the miscarriage itself as this would be impossible to prove, however once the employer is made aware of pregnancy at whatever stage, and especially having knowledge of previous complications there should be at the very least risk assessments and a recognition that a good degree of consideration should be afforded.

 

As for working with the manager again? That depends on how seriously the employer treats the situation, but if it is made clear that this has caused immense mental stress and there will always be a resentment towards this individual for the treatment your wife has received to the point where she is unsure as to whether she will find it possible to work with him again, it may well be that the manager is sidelined or moved on.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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I would also put in the word "harassment" too in the grievance letter. As to Sidewinder's comment "You will find it nigh on impossible to make a correlation between the behaviour of the manager and the miscarriage itself" what I would say in this regard, that it is probably true in a strict evidence way, however should this ever get to a Tribunal and in assessing compensation for Injury to Feelings, it is the belief of the victim as to how the discriminatory action has affected them. If it is your wife's firm and truthful belief that his actions led to the stress and miscarriage / miscarriages then it is hard to imagine any judge not making a judgement and award that is not in the highest bracket for compensation.

 

A truly appalling story and I hope you and your wife can get some sort of respite and relief from this bully.

 

Please keep us posted. You may want to see if you are covered for legal protection cover (look in home contents policy) as you may need to instruct a solicitor.

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The greivance proceedure has now started and my wife is having a meeting tomorrow with HR. I am not allowed in but we have gone through all we remember with times, dates and witnesses ( if there were any). We have and will mention the key words, harrassment, discrimination and bullying whilst pregnant. We have alos mentined that it is common knowledge that stress it not good, despite not proven. We are suggesting that this was a possible factor that contributed towards it/them. Some other 'key' phrases, 'Duty of Care' 'sought indepedant advise' 'ongoing stress' 'resentment' 'future IVF plans'. Should or could we add 'compensation due to hurt caused' 'futher/ future stress' inconvenience due to office move' 'potentially out of pocket' 'third parties fault?

 

Any more advice is welcome as this is suddenly upon us, I have and will continue to search but if anyone is aware, is there any links or literature that we can print/provide as evidence etc.

 

Thanks in advance

 

Rsspence

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And from the medical point of view, 8 miscarriages suggests a problem. Have you had medical advice / tests / diagnosis of a problem. You may be advised that for the best chance of future pregnancies to progress normally, working may have to be stopped.

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Every possible test has been done via the NHS then on to Private specialist clinics, £10k so far in 6 months to give us every chance, now another £? for IVF under a specialist clinic. Put it this way there is nothing we have not done.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Despite using all the advice above and more I have gleaned from else where, the greivance did not go at all well. My wife felt that she got to say all she wanted, but on recepit today via email of the outcome, the company have not agreed with any of her points. Therefore she is due to have a meeting with her boss and a mediator and then return to work, whilst undergoing IVF. I do partially agree that most of the matters are her word against his and that some of the things said can be taken in the wrong way. But I really do have issue with the fact that the company have done nothing and are now to put her back in an environment, with someone that she is scared of and that she sees as a bully.

 

Some questions as we would like to appeal thie decision. Do you have to prove that you have been bullied, from the view of duty of care by the company, not in order to discipline the manager?

Due to the fact that bullying has been mentioned in the past to HR during pregnancy, should HR have looked out for my wife more? Eg spoken to her boss etc.

In the ball throwing episode detailed above, the manager agrees that the balls were thrown, despite the staff not aware of the pregnancy her boss was, when my wife shouted at them to stop, he pulled her in the office to tell her off for shouting, isn't this condoning what they did. Risk etc, he knew she was pregnant after all. No balls should be thrown at all, risk etc.

Jumping out on her, he denies, they company view is that this is a common practice, her boss has never done it before, 2 days prior he was told she was pregnant. Risk again and lack of care.

We have issues with some of the witnesses, possibly lying, they after all will still have to work with him, could this be conflict of interests?

 

The company have only looked at this greivance against her boss, should we via the apeal be suggesting that hey have done nothing to her wellbeing or for her future, as though they are looking to get rid of her as she will hopefully go on to have a healtyh pregnancy.

 

Please help we are desperate

rsspence

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would go through the appeal process now and see what happens.

 

You say that the grievance didn't go well so am I right in thinking that they didn't believe your wife? I think the previous complaint re bullying and this one is something that the company should be worried about. If the appeal doesn't go well then I would imagine your wife has grounds for constructive dismissal. I am no expert in this but I would strongly advise your wife to take legal advice after the holidays from an Employment Law specialist.

 

This is a harrowing story and should not be allowed to happen in the modern workplace. I wish you and your wife all the best with your future IVF treatments. Perhaps the stress of working in that type of environment is something that your wife should look at because it may be a contributing factor to her miscarriages.

 

I hope 2012 is a happy year for your both.

 

Regards

Gemspan

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Your wife has to go through the appeal process. I have to say the fact that the employer has backed management is no surprise to caggers who see this response on here all the time. It is in her interests to carry the process to the end of the internal procedure, the law expects that to occur. She will not win the appeal either. In fact I would go as far to say with this type of allegation and this type of employer NO internal complaint against the employer for bullying and discrimination etc will ever be won by her. That does not mean to say that she would not win at a tribunal in fact she probably will win every fight where the decision is not in the control of the employer.

 

She has to appeal, then if she has the fight in her (and you) needs to take it to a tribunal. She should not resign, constructive dismissal is difficult to prove. She should however consider if she is fit to work under these conditions. How is she coping? Does she have any medical problems at present? Anxiety, depression are very common, is she suffering from these at all? If she is she should consider going sick, attending her GP and getting his / her support.

 

It is important that the employer does the nasty acts of dismissing then it is THEY who have to justify their action not your wife if she leaves and claims CD.

 

I did ask above if you have legal protection cover because that would be great as you could get a lawyer on board and that would make things easier for you, otherwise you will have to do it all yourself. Caggers will assist but the work is down to you both and it can be very stressful, so you have to know what you want to do.

 

However many do do it themselves with caggers assisting and do win. You must believe in yourselves and what you are fighting for but be aware that if you lose then you tried your best and leave it at that.

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Currently we are waiting for an official responce from the person managing the appeal, they are not due to return to work until the 9th Jan. My wife is working elsewhere in the business at the moment but it has been said that there is NO reasonable job elsewhere, agreed by HR and my wife. She has been given an unofficial example of a buy out of 3 months, as she has clearly state that she is uanble to work with the manager again due to the stress he creates and our IVF this month. Due to the return of the manager the result will not be in until later next week, shortly after that my wife will pregnant. We understand that the buyout is probably the best option for us unless a job does come up that is suitable, but what happens when she is pregnant and they offer the buyout, should we be concentrating on this, with regard to CD during pregnancy. MY wife has a good maternity package which inc stat sick pay result in 7 months pay over the 9 entitle too off. Some of this pay however is only paid back on return of 3,6,9 months, 1months extra pay at each point reached. Obviously this will be lost if CD occurs. I think the company are looking at their own duty of care issues, and what they have not done, this is what we pushed in the appeal.

We will be seeing the GP to get time off through stress if there is no resolution very soon and particurly at this importatnt time but then we have to try and force the CD, which may be hard.

I will keep you posted but please offer any further advise if you have any more thoughts.

thanks

I will check for any legal protection

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Update - due to stress and not knowing where we are going with this we sought legal advice. We are continuing along the Appeal route and the solicitors have said that we have covered, in the appeal, all that they would be looking at and are happy that we continue. However, my wife has been given three 'unofficial' offers in one day, prior to the appeal. We are not sure where to go from here, latest 'offer' approx 6 months pay. But due to IVF as above my wife, all being well, will be pregnant in about 3 weeks. Therefore if she has no job she will literally be unemployable for 18months, and we cant afford this. What do you all suggest we do, go for broke via solicitors or find an appropriate figure and negotiate for this? This all during IVF, not fair.

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go for it... the longer you hold out the bigger the offers will be. Personally I would state to them that no 'informal' offers will EVER be considered because you don't believe them. They are sweating and want to settle quickly. Quick = cheap.... you get a lawyer on board and their cost increase hugely, they will not want that. Hold out !!

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Another thing that should be considered here (mention it to the solicitor) is psychiatric injury. Did your wife visit her GP for stress or anxiety; she may not have been prescribed medication because of the pregnancy (most mono amino oxidise inhibitors or MAOI such as prozac can cross the placental barrier) this would add weight to your wires case. Also regarding the ball throwing, the employer is vicariously liable for the actions of his staff; mention Majorowski v St thomas hospital ..... Throw everything you've got at this slime ball because he has NO right to act like this!

Gbarbm

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My wife has decided to go for it, she has a nice figure in mind that she will be asking for and an arguement for that figure. Then it is all donw to them. Thanks All

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She has a figure in mind she is going to informally ask for this, if they do not come up with a reasonable offer she will say to them she is going to get her solicitor involved due to stress. She will speak to the solicitor tomorrow proir to this to ensure that this is the best way forward. Hopefully all settled before tribunal.

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tactically this would be a mistake. all you will do is put them on notice that she wants to settle and is frightened to take them on. they will just stonewall her and she will have egg on face.

 

However, good luck, let us know how she gets on.

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Not sure I agree, she will be giving them a reality check with regard to the fact that she is prepared to ask for a far higher amount than they have offered and if a much better figutre is not agreed upon then solicitors will be involved. Again the only reason for this is due to the stress they are causing and she will be stating this. We will ask the solicitors anyway as to the best option.

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Update - they are playing very dirty, IVF is just a few days away and whilst they are offering higher numbers regularly it is still not where can afford to be and they are really pushing my wife and pressuring her. We have been seeking advice from the solicitor and have offered the company a full and final settlementafter an initial higher approach, with which we would be reasonably happy. Hopefully all over by tomorrow as stress is not good for IVF. If we do not get exactly what we have asked for in the final figure ( massively reduced from the first and only a few '000 above their latest offer) we will go to the greivance appeal and instruct our solicitor to get involved. All offers have been informal and without prejudice.

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