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flexiable working request gone wrong AGAIN. This time re disabled son!

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Hi everyone,


I am hoping for some advice about a rather long winded on going problem. So please bear with me whilst i try and give you the short version, without leaving out any info.


I work for a VERY large worldwide company and have done for nearly 12 years. I have 4 children and have had them all whilst being employed with this company. In fairness i never had any problems until the company was bought out in 2006. Previously i worked for a Large International company and then was bought out by an even larger one!


I fell pregnant with my 2nd child and left on maternity leave in early 2007 and return Jan 08. This is really from when my problems started, once i returned i worked really hard like always. I used to train new members of staff, cover other staff for holidays as i was only a handful of staff that knew how to do most of the jobs in the office. I even covered my line managers role when she was absent!! I done lots of overtime and even went into the promotion process.


In the summer of 2008 is started going out with one of the company drivers and this is frowned upon by the company. Although they normally let relationships continue as long as one side is part time, as i was. In the October i found out i was pregnant with my 3rd child and decided that i would not do all the extra overtime as i needed to concentrate on the pregnancy and my family. I informed my manager pf my pregnancy when i was around 16 weeks pregnant. I guess this is when the problems began. It took a while and a few reminders until i got my risk assessement carried out. I was still told to go into warehouse and collect packages and deal with paperwork relating to warehouse.


I had stopped all overtime by this point, so was therefore not covering other staff. At around 25 weeks in my pregnancy i fell over in the warehouse as a spillage had not been cleaned up properly. After being checked over by hospital i was given some strong painkillers as i had knocked my pelvis out of line. I left for my maternity leave in April 09. In the Dec time of 09 i wrote to my employers asking for a flexible work request as i was due to return to work in the Feb 2010. I was working Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 2.30 pm and i was requesting an intial change to 2 full days a week.


I heard nothing from work, when i chased up my request i was told it was being dealt with and when they could fit me in to have a meeting they would. as Christmas is their busiest time. I reminded them that they should of had to arrange a meeting within 28 days. I was then offered a meeting date in the Jan 2010, well after the 28 days. I attended the meeting to find that my centre manager was not available and i had a meeting with our centres HR rep and all that was done was the letter was read through?!


I rec'd another letter giving me a second meeting, at this meeting which my manager and HR rep atteneded, i was told that my request could not be granted and was given an option to work evening. ( please remember that my current partner also worked for the same compnay as a driver and worked very long days!) i said that due to childcare i couldnt do that as i would have no one to look after my children from 6.00pm onwards until my partner finished work, which had no set time as he worked to his load per day! I asked if there was any room for change or to come to another arrangement and was told a flat out no! At this point i was told by the HR rep that i had a right to appeal. I put my appeal forward and recieved another meeting day, on this day which was approx 2 or 3 weeks before my return to work date and also about 60 days after my intial contact!


I arrived at my centre andc was kept waiting nearly 30 minutes pass my meeting time. I was then called into the office by just the HR rep to be told that my area manager had been caught up in something and would have to cancel the meeting. I later found out that he was at a regional meeting at another centre and it would have been impossible for him to attend my meeting as at the time he was on a conference call! The HR rep gave me details of a HR manager that i should now deal with. I had to return to work on my previous hours which caused some pressure on childcare issues. In this process i found out that i was pregnant again, I found out unexpectedly as i had some health issues and it was determined that i was actually carrying twins but had sadly miscarried one of them. I know that it was a very stressful period regarding work at that time.


On my return to work i did not recieve a back to work interview like i had previously and there had been major changes and i was not offically aware of these! I came back into the office without a work station and then being given new job tasks. I put in a a major complaing about everything to the HR Manager. Things seemed to move a lot quickly re my flexible work requests with new meetings being put in place, but it was also apparent that i had put other staff members noses out of joint so i was being ignored at work. Very child like behaviours to be honest!


Anyway after much stress, this was all resolved in about May 2010 so nearly 6 months after my itial request. I was finally granted reduced hours of 9I left .30-2.30 wed, thurs and fri!

To be honest i felt that awful at work that i asked to leave for my maternity leave as soon as possible so taking all my holiday entitlement i left in July 2010. My 4th child was born in the Oct. Around the Christmas 2010 i wento to my health visitor with concern for my 3rd child and was referred to see the Paed at our local childrens centre. this took place in the Feb 2011 and we was given an intial diagnoses of autism! My son requires so much extra help and support as he is non verbal and extremely delayed in development. As it stand we currently have play therapy sessions on a wednesday, Portage visit on a thuirsday and play therapy on a friday. which obviously clashes with my days at work?!


Now i was due to return on the 23rd Aug 2011 but have been off sick as i had to have an operation on my bowel. I also have been having treatment for severe depression and with all this stress my ulcertive colitis has really flared up and im struggling to control it all. Now i had been having issues with work regarding my sickness as i was given a certific iate for 6 weeks after my op then all my other certificates have been for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. i have now been given my certificate until the 8th feb 2012 and hopefully in that time i should of had another endoscope and seen my consultant again. But in a phpne call to work that was about my sickness, i was told that i would be sent to see their own doctor.


I have no problem with this and asked them to send me through appointment details. I have heard nothing since, but i also asked to have a meeting with my line manager and centre manager as i needed to discuss a change in my working pattern. I went in to see my managers at beginning of 23rd nov 2011 and requested that i change my working patterned to mon and tues with the same times that i previously work.


I have since heard nothing from them regarding this matter although they have phoned me to see how much longer i was off sick for?!


Im just stuck at what to do to be honest. I dont think i have it in me to fight them again, not with everything else i am dealing with right now. I feel like i just want to hand my notice in, but i have always worked and i just dont see myself being able to find another job with the hours i need. Seriously who would want to employ and mother of 4 young children, 3 under 5 and one of them is disabled?!


What do i do? Any suggestions?? if you have got this far then thank you soooo much! x



Edited by honeybee13
I've put in a few paragraphs for ease of reading.
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Hi Sounds like you have had a torrid time of it.


I am supposing your employer is at a bit of a quandry with you and your problems. To be honest the story didn't play out as I expected. They did after a bit of a slow start comply with your flexible working request and now you want to change that too. Although circumstances do change, they must be pulling their hair out over managing you.


Are your health issues now as a result of the last pregnancy? Also the slip and fall id that result in any long term damage to you or your baby you were carrying? Could this have been part of the cause of the baby's disability? What did the doctors say?


Being sent to OH is standard and most OH doctors are fair, but just be aware that confidentiality leaks occur... they are employed too by the employer.


I can see why you are so stuck on what to do next, there are so many different and interconnecting issues. Please answer the above first and I may have other questions resultant on your reply. Need to get as full a picture before giving my thoughts.

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Thanks for your reply!


My health issues are not related to my pregnancy. i was diagnosed with UC which is a bowel disease when i was 18, nearly 14 years ago. This condition is actually on my application form so my employer knows about this right from the beginning.

My fall at work only injured myself, thankfully and this is not what has caused my sons Autism. Dont think anyone would be able to say why he is like he is. But i am happy enough to say it has nothing to do with either my on going illness or my fall.

Yes i imagine from a management point of view i am a difficult case to manage. But up until my recent long period of sick, i have always been a valid memeber of the team and worked really well. They have no question over how well i carry out my job and i always give them 100% of my time when i am there.

I have no problem what so ever seeing a doctor and to be honest i totally expect them to not keep my confidentiality, its not a problem to me as i have nothing to hide in that respect anyway!

I am just really dissappointed that i have always followed the guidelines that, they as a company set out. Yet they cant? if it was the other way round and it was me that had failed to respond in time, i would be held fully accountable, yet again they are not! For such a very large well known company, i am but a mere number to them and just problematic!


I hope i have answered all your questions x



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What a horror story and what a shame that employers treat people like this. I'm sorry that I don't have the expertise to answer your questions Mrs Mc, all I can do is urge you to summon up the strength to fight it through again. Don't let them win by resigning!


I was shocked to read about the delay in risk assessment and letting you go out in a busy warehouse when you were pregnant. I'm surprised you didn't go to one of those accident claim firms after you slipped over. Absolutely shameful and showing a complete lack of concern both for you and for your unborn baby. Lack of health and safety gone mad!


What about the arrogance of an employer which thinks it has the right of veto on people's personal relationships! It reminds me of the days of slavery when the massa had to give his permission before two of his slaves could marry.


Finally shame on the work colleagues giving you a hard time when you least needed it. What a lack of humanity. A lot of people seem to get into that servile, hand-wringing, bosses man, personality. "Sack him sir, not me!" I think that's what it amounts to. Ansolutely despicable.


So don't give up Mrs Mc - keep your spirits up and fight on. Our family over here sends you very best wishes and hopes that the coming year goes a bit better for you.


Don't let the beggars get you down!



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Perhaps it is best to keep this simple. The background is useful, but perhaps a slight distraction to what the current problem is, which basically is a period of sickness that you had not counted on plus the ability to cope with childcare issues one being a disabled child, which no doubt takes more time than the other three combined.


I think that in any discussion with the employer that you ask that reasonable adjustments are made to reduce your stress and actions that play into your depression. Bear in mind that these adjustments have to be reasonable and the employer may be able to demonstarte from your history that they have been reasonable (albeit late) and that yet another change is not reasonable to the others working around you. So you may have to show some sort of flexibility, after all the last request was done for childcare too and now you are changing again because of disabled childcare.


I take it your current partner is still with you. It is important that his job and yours are in tune with each other. This adjustment probably is one of the most important as at least one of you need a full wage coming in.


Perhaps you should also be writing to your employer asking for a date, and give them a time limit otherwise you will consider putting in a grievance and 'issues of discrimination' could be raised. Explain that is the last thing you want to do as you have regard for what they have done in the past but that you need clarity going forward. If they miss the deadline (plus a few days grace ie what is reasonable) then follow up with a grievance. There may be issues of sex, disability and associated disability discrimination. Have you got copies of their equality and flexible working policy? If not try and get them as this is the guidelines and time limits in them that they should abide by. If they don't and after you have raised the issue additionally victimisation may be on the cards too.


If you go down a grievance route, which is stressful and perhaps too much for you, then the logical conclusion would be to issue ET proceedings. So you have to be aware if you are up to that too. Have you legal protection cover on your home contents insurance? I take it you are not in a union, as you have not mentioned them once.


If you are not prepared to 'follow through' it may be an option for you to resign as you mooted. After all 4 children under 5 is a BIG commitment especially as one is disabled. Your depression could be because you are away from adult company so a return to work may help that there. Hope that helps to let you see the wood from the trees.

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Once again thanks for the replies.


My partner, now my husband left the company last year as he had a breakdown of his own. In fact alot of the staff their over the last 2 years have left due to the either the way they have been treated or the amount of stress and pressure placed upon them.

Yes i do think that my depression is not helped by lack of adult company and that is a reason why i do want to go back to work. I have always worked and i like having that "me" time and also being able to contribute to the household costs, although that isnt necessary.

To be perfectly honest childcare as such isnt the main problem as my husband is now self employed and my mother is retired so they will be looking after my children whilst i work. But being mindful that my husband is very busy and that my mother is 66. i also need to be with my son for his appointments. Which is why i felt that working monday and tuesday for a total of 10 hours is a good balance.

Thanks x

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Still heard nothing from work. Me and hubby have had a good old chat and have decided to hand my notice in. The stress is doing my head in and i just cant deal with c*ap anymore. I think they wanted me out ages ago so i guess they have won. Its such a shame as i really enjoy working :(

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