Dear Former Employer,
I am assuming that you have not heard of the #DearEmployer campaign or Pregnant Then Screwed? So I am writing this to make you aware of this campaign, the intention is to speak to employers and open up about how women felt in the workplace whilst pregnant or shortly after giving birth.
Maternity discrimination and mistreatment is unfortunately on the rise and unless women speak up, nothing will ever change. Some cases of discrimination are downright malicious, callous and deceitful whereas others believe they had good intentions but go about it completely uneducated and cause a lot of disruption for innocent women.
I am going to outline a few things you could have done differently to avoid discriminating against pregnant employees and causing significant undue disruption in life.
- Don’t demote from duties upon returning to work and think it is acceptable to tell an employee the demotion is due to ‘circumstances at home’. You might have thought you were being helpful but its not your place to help by taking her responsibilities away, with no consultation whatsoever. In fact, you told her at a meeting in front of colleagues.
- If you later want to cover your arse and lie about mistakes, do proper risk assessments to at least make it look like you care. When a woman returns to work there should be a consultation and “you’re either back or you’re not back” is not an acceptable response when asking to use up 3 weeks of holiday entitlement that later went unused.
- Don’t threaten disciplinary action because payroll messed up her maternity pay and caused the following month to be overspent on labour.
- When a female employee miscarries, yes you probably don’t understand and have no idea how to deal with it but don’t talk about saving labour so that she feels like she has to come back less than 2 weeks after giving birth to an 10 week foetus.
- In one meeting everything was fine and then in the next meeting, disciplinary action was threatened – what happened in between these two meetings? She announced her pregnancy.
- This caused significant and unnecessary stress and did you know that cortisol, the stress hormone is the opposite hormone to progesterone. In others words both cannot live in the body, they attack each other. So the body needs progesterone for pregnancy but stress will attack a pregnancy.
- Your employee then miscarried at 21 weeks.
- Conveniently the disciplinary threats were dropped.
- I asked for the maternity policy to be updated – to my knowledge this did not happen and the mistreatment continues.
- Understandably, this employee experienced a lot of anxiety when she became pregnant some time later. As a coping mechanism, she didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant.
- You, new employer, selfishly and arrogantly took this personally and thought this was justification that the employee was no longer trustworthy and certain things started to happen. Emails were ignored, reports were mysteriously changed.
- Upon returning from maternity leave you felt it was perfectly acceptable to tell the employee that there was a trust issue “because of the pregnancy”. And proceeded with an ‘offer’. An offer that you thought the employee would take but she saw it for what it was – blackmail.
- You also lied about a breastfeeding risk assessment and falsified official documents in attempt to make her look like an underperforming employee.
- Unfortunately for you she had already taken sufficient evidence to prove she was in fact the trustworthy one and it was you, employer, who was not!
- She went on to prove herself as the honest one and you employer mysteriously ‘left’ the company. However, because of your actions she did not return to the workplace and in fact went back on maternity leave.
All of this undue stress and disruption could have been avoided if you just treated people like people instead of payroll numbers. You only ever look after numbers and never people. You only care about P&Ls and beating last year but the lack of compassion ended up costing you so much more!
Just give a shit or hire someone to be in charge of maternity so that there is one person that gives a shit. Don’t lie because lies always come out, especially if the employee has kept all correspondence form you.
I doubt you’ll care about any of this but it feels good to raise awareness of how badly you treat pregnant women.
Disclaimer: My intention behind writing this is to join the#DearEmployer campaign and raise awareness of maternity discrimination in the workplace. No where on this blog do I mention my full name or the names of previous employers. Any connections made and subsequent complaints would be seen as an admission of guilt and therefore support my story. This is not intended to be derogatory to a company or to defame any people. It is a general essay about my experiences and observations. Anything on this list relating directly to my experiences has substantial evidence to back it up.