”I informed one of the Directors of the company that I was pregnant but because I had previously suffered a miscarriage, I asked that no other staff members be notified until after I’d had the 12 week scan. The director told me he was unable to do this and that he had to inform the other Directors.
Soon after this, one of the other staff members (not a director) started behaving in an extremely hostile way towards me. I asked the director if she had been informed of my pregnancy and he said she had not. But a couple of weeks later it because clear she had when she shouted at me that I had made a fuss in asking the director not to make my pregnancy general knowledge in the workplace. I was extremely upset and felt I needed to justify why I hadn’t wanted it known generally – because of my fear of miscarriage.
I had been keeping plain crackers in my desk drawer as these helped with morning sickness and this should not have been a problem as it was customary for staff to eat at their desks and keep snacks in their desk drawers. However one day, when the director (the one I had informed about my pregnancy) saw me eating them, he started shouting and screaming at me that I should be eating in the kitchen and to immediately stop eating at my desk. The female staff member who had been unpleasant also started making unkind comments that I was eating a lot. All this was very public and I felt that I was being targeted because I was pregnant.
Soon after this the Director began making comments about my work not being up to standard. Nothing like this had ever been said about my work previously.
Fed up with this treatment, I informed the HR director that I wished to lodge a grievance. I was told this would be done with an investigation starting the following Monday.
On the Sunday, the day before the grievance was due to begin I began bleeding and had to go to hospital – with a threatened miscarriage. TI was signed off work for 2 weeks. When I next spoke with the HR director I was told that he had not yet raised the issue of the grievance with the director concerned.
When I returned to work I was basically ignored. I explained that I needed to attend hospital more regularly now due to issues with the pregnancy. I was told to schedule all appointments for my days off.
As the pregnancy progressed I started struggling with walking distances. Despite having informed the director this was the case, he kept finding reasons to send me out on errands that involved walking (I don’t drive).
I was regularly shouted at loudly and publicly in front of clients and staff,
While I was on maternity leave I was told by a client (that I bumped into) that the branch in which I was based was closing. No one from work had informed me about this! I contacted HR who apologised and said I should have been informed.
I called my Union rep once I’d had time to digest this information but was advised that by this time my claim for pregnancy discrimination was time-barred because those acts had happened more than three months previously. HR sent me a letter to discuss my redundancy and my Union rep accompanied me to this meeting.
When we arrived at the meeting the HR director said this was a return to work meeting. We asked for clarity, because the letter which had been sent to me advising about the meeting stated that it was about redundancy. The HR director said that ACAS had advised that’s what they should put in the letter – and then went on to say I could work in the Head Office though I knew there was no work in that office and it became clear in the meeting that the plan would be to continue to treat me like this hoping I would leave on my own accord.
In that meeting the HR director denied receiving any grievance at all.
With my union rep we agreed a settlement.”