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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am 14 weeks pregnant, feel like I am being bullied and

Customer Question

I am 14 weeks pregnant, feel like I am being bullied and discriminated at work which forces me to leave. My boss also made clear that after my maternity I won't be able to return to my job to my position as a Practice Manager and only as receptionist or dental nurse! I been working at this work place for 5 years and been manager for over 2 years.
Situation at work is impossible to work he is picking up on everything trying to make me leave, what can I do? As I feel like leaving as my health is more important right now.
Submitted: 27 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

Please can you provide some more information on the treatment you have received?

Customer: replied 27 days ago.
This is an email I have send to my boss yesterday after my shift. Hope you will understand the situation.Dera RezaI would like to let you know how I feel about today's incidents that start from the morning.
You come with questions why not usual staff is working on the day ! ? I responded that yes some staff had to take time off and has swapped with other staff members and practice was running as normal. And no agency staff was required. I think my job here was done correctly. You then told that I need to go and cover other practice for lunch which we did. Both practice remained open and no lunch massage was as placed on. As 3 girls rotated between both practice to keep it open and we only took 30min lunch each instead of one hour. Following morning conversation you wanted to talk to me about one of the staff member actions at which point you start raising your voice shouting at me and pointing your finger telling me you don't care that I am pregnant or that If I am coming back or not it's very disrespectful and hurtful.
Then calling me at 2:27pm at my personal phone shouting swearing why have I placed lunch massage on the phone system. In fact I have not touched any voice mail today at all and I ranged the practice from my mobile straight away and it was all ringing and fine. So I have no idea why you made this accusation and had to treat me like this.
Later you called saying I do not need to come in tomorrow as I have flue as you can hear my voice is not well, but I should come Thursday as you want me to do interview knowing that there is no space for me at work on Thursdays even to sit. 10 min later you calling saying I need to come in tomorrow as I need to talk to sonal. So I am confused with your actions. Today I have felt bullied and humiliated in front of all staff and patients.I am afraid I won't be coming in tomorrow as I am not well, looks like now I have fever, feel dizzy and am not well. I will stay in bed tomorrow and see my doctor.Furthermore if situation under pressure at work is going to continue. Will make for me impossible to remain at work I will have to consider my further actions for my employment.Ps. Regarding your txt massage that you just send me after work:I will provide all required papers on time regarding my maternity leave. Regards ***** ***** Irland would not be happening next 3/4 years if so.
Please give me your reasons for changing my position after maternity?Kind RegardsReply from him:Thank you for your email , I would respond your email in two weeks time , if you cannot attend tomorrow, could you please provide some proof for reason !!
Kind regards
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience. This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:
• Serious breach of contract by the employer; and
• An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who resigns in response to it.

In addition it can also amount to pregnancy discrimination if the reasons for your treatment are related to the fact you are pregnant.

Whilst the alleged breach could be a breach of a specific contractual term, it is also common for a breach to occur when the implied term of trust and confidence has been broken. The conduct relied on could be a serious single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).

Before constructive dismissal is contemplated, it is recommended that a formal grievance is raised in order to officially bring the concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them.

If resignation appears to be the only option going forward, it must be done in response to the alleged breaches (i.e. without unreasonable delay after they have occurred). Whilst not legally required, a resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without serving any notice period. It is also advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.

Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of termination of employment to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.

It is worth mentioning that there is a possible alternative solution, where the employer is approached on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under such an agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company with no fuss and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, where both parties move on without the need for going to tribunal. However, it is an entirely voluntary process and the employer does not have to participate in such negotiations or agree to anything. It just means that these discussions cannot be brought up in any subsequent tribunal claim and prejudice either party. So there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them as the worst outcome is they say no, whereas if successful it can mean being allowed to leave in accordance with any pre-agreed terms, such as with compensation and an agreed reference.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to take if you had to make a claim. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Thank you for your reply it is helpful but my situation just got even worse.After going to my doctors yesterday I send him an email:Dear Reza,I have been to my Doctor today. I am not well and will be taking time off work to stay home and recover, from today till 27th November. Image
Monday 27th I have my midwife appointment at 11:50am and will be coming in to work in afternoon.
Please find attachment with the sick note.
Will inform you with any changes if needed.Kind RegardsThis is my first sick note in 5 years.Then few hours later I got response from my boss.Dear Ms E Petkute
I hope you are well , I had quick look on your contract with us, your working days is 3 days a week .
I had broadly looked to your maternity and work loads as well as future . for decreasing your stress and pressure at work environment as well as I could provide best service to my patients and staffs , I am going to get staff management works back which you were helping us last one and half year .I would start to do myself by help of Ms Inna to do together as soon as possible,As you are aware Ms Inna is currently helping me most of management works.
For your safety as well as best to our clients, I am suggesting instead of staying one day in reception , you could work three days as before in reception of Sndp and Odontica. Your payment would be exactly same as before . I
Kind Regards
This is so shocking !
Till this point I worked 4 days a week as. Practice manager. My wage is £13.30ph . . My all work is up to date and nothing is behind. The stress is not coming from work load I had to do, is from him shouting disrespect and accusations.
Now he is taking me down to reception position and back to minimum wage.
My contract has never been updated since I started to work there as trainee dental nurse. But I do have my letters of wage increase as well as prof that I am a practice manager.Then around 8 pm I also received text to my mobile with my new working graphic:Evening Egle,On Monday 27 November you don’t need to come in.
On Tuesday 28th November you will be in reception in Odontica.
Then on Thursday 30th November and Friday 1st December you will be in reception in Stoke Newington.
Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Not enough that I am not well at the moment all this just making me stress and worry.
If I resign what am I going to do !? No one will employee me at this stage.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 26 days ago.

If you were to resign you will have to consider a claim against them for constructive dismissal and pregnancy discrimination. If successful that could provide some compensation to see you through the near future until you are ready to go back to work. The other option is to remain working for them and make a discrimination claim - you do not need to resign to do this so the risks are much lower.

As discussed, please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also cover the steps you need to take if you had to make a claim. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 26 days ago.

Thank you. Before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Thank you. This was very helpful.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 26 days ago.

you are welcome, all the best