A woman becomes a mother as soon as she gets to know she is expecting. Hence the work-life balancing actually faces a twist right then; so is the symptoms of discrimination at the workplace. It all depends on how comfortable she is to inform about the same to her employer and how will the employer react for the same. If the rapport between the two is good enough she can easily inform by 3 months. This would really help in planning further w.r.t her workload, working hours, maternity leaves and pay, upcoming hikes and promotions, handovers and so on and so forth.
There is always one big concern the employee would have towards her boss. Yes, it’s the behavior of her boss from the time she shares the news about she expecting, her tenure in the workplace since then till she is back to the office after her maternity.
Although a lot of companies value their employees and expect them to return back to work after the maternity period as well provide various perks etc but research says, most of the working moms went through harassment or ill-treatment or negative comments or some other form of discrimination at workplace by their boss/colleagues both during the pregnancy and after their return from maternity. 10% of working women were treated badly after their return by their employers and few were even forced to resign.
Though the employee has the right (under the Fair Work Act) to ask for flexible working hours, like working part-time, early come and go, work from home request, it’s become a common thing that people take it otherwise. The employee is being treated differently than the normal working employees. It’s the biggest mistake on employers part if he or she thinks that the employee won’t be effective at work when she is expecting or after her maternity. The employer is many a time very unfair in assigning tasks to such woman thinking she might no more be capable to complete challenging tasks on time. Sometimes even speak low about her capability while in an open discussion or a team meeting.
Yeah, it’s true that she might need a little time to settle down everything and join the race. MATERNITY brings along with it a lot of transformations, adjustments, responsibilities, sacrifices, commitments etc, the list never ends. This is the time when she really needs a good moral support both at work as well as home.
Pregnancy/maternity is one of the noted attributes of protection from discrimination at the workplace. Be it not including her in important meetings held, the type of job/task assigned, or the drop in the level of expectations from her when it comes to delivering tasks, everything leads to discrimination at the workplace. This might also include making fun of her when she isn’t able to grasp things soon while at work, taking time in giving the deliverables, requesting for leaves for the baby’s care, and many more obvious reasons. Employer not considering you for any of the assignment is also kind of discrimination at the workplace. Raise your voice against such acts.
A beautiful video mentioned below describing how a boss in spite of having tough quarters goes beyond his limits to provide comfortable workplace to a pregnant employee.
Yes totally agree that every woman can’t or wouldn’t get such a helping workplace or boss. However, when a woman is made to come across such situations, she feels more comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable with your boss/company and find discrimination at the workplace, here are few tips to handle such scenarios easily.
Few tips if you are facing discrimination at the workplace:
- Never ignore such situations when you feel you are discriminated. Don’t welcome them at all.
- Feel free to express your feelings, that you aren’t happy with discrimination treatment. Your silence will certainly make them take you for granted.
- Always remember that everyone in the company has someone superior to them, you can thus approach your employer’s superior and lodge a complaint if you face discrimination at the workplace.
- No law tells someone to discriminate you. Hence, speak up and let them know you are keen about the situation and serious about it. But, remember false complaints will surely cost you. For more information, go through the FMLA (Family & Medical Leave Act).
- Ensure you have valid proofs for the complaint lodged. People will believe you only when there are written records or any proofs which would make your job easier. Like the company usually has the incident diaries for every employee; likewise, you too maintain an incident/event diary which includes the following details:
- DATE & TIME
- Incident Description
- Valid proofs (if any)
- Witnesses (friends or colleagues).
- You can track the same to closure and make sure your problem is addressed.
- Don’t forget the ample papers you were asked to sign and accept while you were new to the company, likewise you too have the right to ask for those papers which has the policies included where it states that, you have the right to raise your voice against any kind of harassment or discrimination at workplace. Keep those documents handy so that they can be produced before them, to make them aware they actually exist and that you have the right to take any kind of serious action against them.
Maternity leave isn’t a PRIVILEGE , it’s her RIGHT.
It’s your right to stand against any ill treatments or discrimination at workplace. Be transparent and feel free to put forth your concerns when you face such situations. We all know the “Magnificent Mary“. This is how women are when determined enough. Remember, you can create wonders if you seriously make yourself strong. Working mom usually start with great chunks of time thinking “This is impossible…” and when she gets over it, she keeps going and never stops, and finally she sort of achieves what once was impossible to achieve!