Discrimination while pregnant: ask the expert

My partner has recently begun a new job and she’s already been singled out and left alone in the workplace. She’s pregnant and informed the company when finding out. Since then the manager in her team, who has her “Little Click” of people sitting with her, has not trained my partner at all, does not respond to requests for time off for ante-natal appointments until the last moment; any time my partner needs help with a call or an email that she hasn’t received training for, she is left alone as the team are on the phones; all except the “Click people” who are sat on admin working near the manager. As well as this, she’s been given a shift pattern for the next month, not really a pattern, as she’s been told she has to do lates all next month, which directly interferes with her childcare arrangements as she won’t be able to pick-up our son after work. They are not considering this at all. Although she is not refusing to work shifts, she doesn’t think it fair to do shifts every week for an entire month, whilst the “Click Team” get to work a more suitable 8-4 shift and she has to do a 10-6 shift. She’s constantly being moaned at and shouted at by senior members of staff for doing jobs incorrectly, and is increasingly having to stay behind work after her shift has ended and is the last one in work usually for the last hour of her shift as the others are all home, then she stays longer to finish admin/email work which has been assigned during taking calls and she hasn’t had time for, so she’s staying for nearly an hour unpaid in an office with no help on her own because she’s afraid she will be moaned at by her manager the next day. It’s getting to the point now where she’s breaking down in tears after work and is a depressed mess. I keep telling her to go into work and just have it out with her manager and drop her like a sack of spuds and remind her that she’s an untrained air head who clearly has no managerial skills and walk out and forget the job and that we’ll survive, but in reality we’ve got a house and a child to pay for and a new one on the way, so she just cannot do this feasibly. What is she entitled to and what can we do? She’s clearly being discriminated against, as are a couple of the other girls in the team who are pregnant as well. They receive the same treatment, but they’ve got off on long term sick before their maternity. It’s heading the same way for her by issuing a sick note for depression… Please any help and advice would be great; she’s already spoken to her manager’s manager and they just said if you don’t like it, then leave basically; she’s also consulted a union rep at work about the situation and they’ve said it’s not fair, but making a complaint against her makes her humiliate you in front of the group [my partner has witnessed previously to another team member where the manager was quoted saying “I’m going to make you’re life hell in this team now, you’re not getting a transfer either”]. Totally unacceptable for one of the largest telecoms companies in the UK.

pregnant woman at work

pregnancy, business and work concept - smiling pregnant businesswoman sitting at office table and reading papers

It appears from your email that your partner is being discriminated against because she is pregnant.  My suggestion is that she submits a grievance setting out the concerns and how she has been treated differently compared to her colleagues who are not pregnant and specifically state that she feels that she is being discriminated against.

The grievance should also state that their conduct is causing her to become ill and she has potentially a claim against them for personal injury.  If this does not resolve matters and the treatment continues, then she can potentially resign and potentially bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal for suffering a detriment as a result of the fact that she has been discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy, but also victimisation because she has raised a concern regarding discriminatory treatment.


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