Should I seek legal advice in this case of depression?

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lwpiano | 12:55 Mon 30th Apr 2012 | Law
9 Answers
I am on sick-leave for post-natal depression for four-weeks now, and likely to go longer. I was suffering from it right after I had my baby in June 2011, but I did not seek GP's help until recently.
The main reason for my depression was work-related. I was pressurized to deliver a large scale client project before I went on maternity at 38 weeks. Instead of the normal 4-5 weeks window, we only have 2 weeks left before I went on maternity to deliver the project. Instead of hiring someone to work along side of me, I was pressurized to much that I had to work 10-12 hours a day right up to my last day at work and being 38 weeks pregnant. I also had to go in to office on several weekends.
We did successfully deliver the project. However, despite the hard work, I was given a very harsh appraisal. And the appraisal was scheduled only two days before maternity leave. It did not allow me the time to respond to it. Due to the level of stress at work, my baby was two weeks early. And my labour started only a day after I am off work. I was still suffering the trauma from the appraisal even when I was sitting in the birthing pool. Harsh things said in the appraisal just jumping out of my head while I was also suffering from the pain.
I was very much traumatised by the way I was treated before I went on maternity. I had a very bad post-natal depression period. I spent 9 months trying to fight with it and I thought I was ready to go back to work and make a new start.
However, as soon as I went back, my line manager started to pressurize me with arbitrary deadlines without allowing me to pick up after 9 months maternity leave. And I also realized that I have lost my line management for some unknown reason. I wasn't told anything about it until I initiated a chat with my line manager and asked about it. The reason given was that 'they thought it's going to be helpful for me to focus on the development areas raised in the appraisal'. But in fact, I had did a very good job in line managing people and that wasn't an area of problem at all.
I went back in early March for 3 weeks before I felt ill again with depression and panic attacks under the excessive pressure with those short deadlines and the feeling of being treated unfairly.
I was in fear that when I go back to work, they will immediately start to pressurize me again. And my current situation was purely caused by the harassment and bullying at work. I wonder whether you could help me to decide whether I have a case here and how best to approach this at this stage.


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This is a complicated case you do need legal advice.
You haven't been sacked so I don't understand why you'd need legal advice. Can you not talk to your manager and explain?

You can't blame the baby being two weeks early on work. Babies arrive early all the time.
sorry, but i don't understand whats wrong with saying "no" i cant de;iver that project in that timescale.
if you are being bullied, then i think the first step is to raise a grievance.
all the while you're off with pnd, you are not giving them a chance to change your work, because they don't know it's work causing it, not pnd
by the way, have you even told them it's work stress causing you to be off and given them a chance to rectify things?
I think you should have a serious talk with them and tell them what is bothering you. If you feel that they are trying to make life so difficult that you are thinking of packing the job in then you should consider taking advice on the lines of constructive dismissal. However, without going into your situation with them in full detail, it is difficult for anyone to advise you. They may have an unfair attitude to people with young children. I hope you get things sorted out and are able to enjoy your baby who is far more precious than any job and that you are soon feeling more confident in yourself. It is so easy for others to rob you of your self esteem and confidence.
Post natal depression is hormonal and chemical... Not due to working hard and stress! Your baby might have been early anyway! Who would be to blame then??? Talk to your management and communicate! They don't want excuses the want solutions!!! If you are not able to do your job then you need to tell them. If you are depressed due to the birth then you may need medication!
have you got pnd or stress from work? its one or the other really - you really cant blame stress at work for the baby coming early. Things change in work while you're on maternity leave, it just happens. Sounds like you either need to raise a grievance with work, or at least speak with them about your issues, or change jobs if its causing you that much stress. have they changed the way they treat you because of pregnancy/maternity or are you just coping less well with the pressures? i know i struggled when i went back after 9 months, felt as though i was under a lot of pressure, but it was just the same pressure as before, i'd just forgotten how to cope with it was coming home from work wasn't to relax but to look after the baby - your whole life has changed. hope things settle down for you....
Stress can contribute to the continuation of PND
Stressful work conditions can enhance feelings of depression and can cause panic attacks amongst other things

OP, you need to get yourself to your GP and get medicated for your PND and panic attacks, then you need legal advice
Try googling ACAS for a phone number to call - help is free
Use your CaB centre if possible
If you have a union, use them as well

I agree, though, that you should make an appointment to speak to your HR department if you have one, or your immediate supervisor/manager
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