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Bullied at work because of IVF

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KK77 | 14:53 Sat 04th Jun 2011 | Jobs
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My husband and I have been told the devastating news that we wouldnt be able to conceive naturally and have been advised to start IVF treatment, I was honest with my employers and told them from the begining that I would be going for a lot of tests as we had been trying for two years to get pregnant. I work for a large residential landlord and they have been fantastic and said they fully support me in this difficult time. Unfortunately one of my property managers that I assist has made my life hell over my time off by making mean remarks about my appointments, overloads me with work which stresses me out and sets me up to fail then singles me out as a failure. I started my medication last week which made me really poorly and I had 4 days off work, in this time she has called a meeting with my line manager complaning about my time off in which he explained that I was going through a hard time and needed medical treatment, he made it clear that the company fully supports me which must of irritated her so then she starting slating the quality of my work but he explained to her that my performance was more that satisfactory (I really do work my butt off). Cut a long story short I found all this out on my return to work and I just broke down! HR are now investigating her for harassment and I have been pulled off her portfolio. I had to write a letter to HR explaining how she has been treating me over the past year. All this has stressed me out even more as the enviornment at work is so frosty, colleagues are whispering to eachother and ingnoring me, now everyone thinks she is the victim. I wished I kept it zipped, kept my head down and got through my IVF, we are self funding, its not cheap, all I do is cry and I never want to go to work. There are quite a few girls that have announced their pregnancies and they dont have problems having time off if they have morning sickness or for appointments. Have I done the right thing complaining? Please help Im desperate :(


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Yes, you have indeed. No employer can tolerate bullying and harassment by one of their employees on another, and steps are being taken to redress the situation. It is a horrible situation for you, but the manager cannot be allowed to get away with it - you are lucky that your line management is so openly supportive of you. If you have to take time off because of it, do discuss with HER manager and keep them informed - at a time when you should be keeping as calm as possible, when you know you will be stressed, you can do without this. Keep talking to your line manager - I'm not clear about the line of seniority between your manager and the property manager, but she can't get away with it and she can't overload you with work. You ARE doing the right thing. Do you have access to any occupational health services through your work?
You don't have to put up with this have a search around for personal audio recording equipment & then present the evidence to your boss.Ron.
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Thanks so much for your answers guys, I been going over and over whats happened the past week and its helps so much to get advice.
We are split into two teams and each team has a line manager (senior property manager) then its the property managers and their assistants (which is my role) so me and my property manager share the same line manager. I had actually resigned back in Feb after an outburst at me because she has received an email from a colleague at HQ that she didnt like the tone of. She shouted for me to go over to her desk and demanded that I explain what he meant by his email, I told her I didnt know as I wasnt involved or copied in the conversation and it was probably better to call him as emails can be misinterpreted, she hit the roof and stormed outside for a smoke. Our line manager was in a meeting at the time so he didnt hear it. I had my resignation letter already typed out changed the dates and left it on his desk. He was quite shocked when he opened it and asked if we could have a meeting and I told him that I couldnt take anymore. He promised that there would be a shuffle round in the department and I would be put on a new portfolio and the company do not want to lose good employees over such behaviour, I retracted my resignation, he had a word with her and she did apologise for the outburst. But since Feb I havent been moved and things reached boiling point and now Im in this awful situation, unfortunately sometimes the people that speak up can suffer and I feel no one will want me as their assistant, they may think Im too sensitive and start complaining about them with any tiny issue, which wouldnt be the case. No, we dont have access to occupational health services through work :(
hiya, just to let you know that by law employers have to give time off for antenatal appointments, so the fact that other people are having time off for their appts is neither here nor there in relation to your situation i'm afraid.
Good luck with the IVF, i hope it is successful xx
I am bullied too, I am desperate to quit, but I can't afford to, and finding another job is taking ages. Last year, I took a credit card, my first one ever: I had been considering resigning and leaving on the credit for a while, but it would only cover my expenses for about 2 months and a half, maximum 3 months.
Like you, I am overloaded with work, and do a lot of overtime (up to 3 hours a day). My colleagues on the other hand... Booking time off for interviews is a nightmare!
Unlike you, I am not supported at all by my managers (direct + senior). They support my bully, who they hired 6 months before me and who they are grooming for a manager role. In fact, I think they hired me specifically so that she could bully me, to increase her self-confidence! I can't go to HR because one reason for the bullying is that I am not British, and the company (Australian but British staff) is extremely racist. For example, we foreigners are not allowed to have lunch with our colleagues, we are not invited to the Xmas party (or to evenings out), we are paid far less for the same jobs, and inside a department, we mostly do the drudge work, except when our colleagues go on holiday.
You are very lucky that your senior manager and HR seem to be supportive. However, possible reasons why they talked you out of resigning is that they didn't want to look bad, your department is very busy and they wanted to have the time to train your successor, they knew you were going to leave anyway (on maternity leave if you get pregnant) and were half-expecting that you would not come back after the leave. Last year, I asked to go part-time, after several 'success factors' interviews where my managers told me that they did not expect me 'to remain in the UK another 12 to 24 months'. My managers refused and tried instead to get me to write a resignation letter. They wanted a date for my departure from the company. I had numerous interviews with them, and 2 months after I sub
2 months after I submitted this 'part-time request', they were telling me that they did not expect to see me remaining in the UK 'another 3 to 6 months'!
As you are in the middle of your IVF treatment, I would suggest you stick with the company until the end of the treatment. If you fall pregnant, great: you can go on maternity leave in a couple of months' time, and then you will have more time to look for another job. If you do not become pregnant, look for another job before having another go at IVF. I've read a little about it and I really admire you for going through this, especially with all this stress at work.
I noted with interest that your bully is female. Does she have a partner and children, or is she alone and 'sexually frustrated'? Are you younger and better-looking than her? One possibility for her targeting you could be that she is jealous of you because you have (partner, looks), or are on your way to have (IVF), everything that she misses badly.
This is what is happening with my bully. She targeted other ladies in the department besides me: 1 lady who was pregnant when she joined the department spent only 2 weeks in her company, but that was enough and she decided not to come back but to use her maternity leave for jobhunting (which was successful); another lady got pregnant after a couple of months working alongside her (possibly to escape the bullying), went on maternity leave, then had a second baby (so she didn't even come back), applied for an internal vacancy in another department at the end of her second leave, didn't get it, and resigned rather than returning to work with my bully; a 3rd lady kept joking that she couldn't get pregnant to 'escape' and eventually (after 8 months of putting up with my bully) resigned without having found another job to go to. This in a department of 6 people! My bully doesn't target men, but she tries to date them: 3 guys so far spent up to 1 year each in the department, s
3 guys so far spent up to 1 year each in the department, skillfully dodged her advances, and managed to get promoted to another department!
I've tried sticking it out (I was hoping I'd get a vacancy in another department) for the past 3 years and I deeply regret it. Pleas avoid making the same mistake as me. I've been having digestive problems for 3 years (entirely psychological), I make nightmares at night, and the whole weekend is spent 'recovering' from the week. The happiest time of the week is Friday evening, and on Sunday morning, I wake up feeling down already. I asked my GP (more than 2 years ago already) whether antidepressants wouldn't help me put up with my bully, but he said that what I needed was another job. I've been looking for nearly 3 years now, I first started after I had been in the company for 5 weeks, and the only reason I didn't resign at the end of my first day (I knew from the first hour that this woman was going to make my life hell) was that I had to move flat first.
Again, I hope for you that the IVF will work. Don't worry about the bitchy comments of some women, especially the pregnant ones. You should hear my bully rant about Kate McCann!

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