A 26 weeks pregnant woman was ordered by her boss not to eat during working hours. This came after the boss saw a banana skin in a bin.
Pregnant Woman Suffering From Hyperemesis
The mother-to-be shared her now-viral story on Mumsnet. She wrote, “I work in a team of 17 in an office and have my own desk. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and already working reduced hours as I’ve suffered hyperemesis since six weeks.”
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is an extreme sickness condition that can harshly affect pregnancy and cause suffering, nausea, and vomiting.
Boss Forbids Eating at Their Desks
The pregnant woman then said that the boss, who is HR, told the employees, “None of us are allowed to eat at our desks any longer as one banana skin was left in one of the bins overnight, and she’s told us about this, and it makes her feel sick.”
Mom-To-Be Gets Sick If She Doesn’t Eat
The future mom tried to reason with the boss, “I’ve explained to her in private that if I don’t pick/nibble at dry crackers at my desk, I will be sick.”
Some Viewers Gave Advice, and Others Got Mad
The confused woman asked for advice.
One comforted her, “You can’t go without eating; you will end up on sick leave until maternity. So if she refuses, you have to take a break every ten [minutes].”
Another wrote, “Be sick in a bin right in front of her. I’m sure she’ll be more grossed out by that in a bin than a banana skin!”
Even Mints or Sweets are Not Allowed
The situation is so bad that the workers cannot even have “mints or sweets at a desk; otherwise, I could probably get through on sucking a mint or sherbet lemon.”
People are Willing to Help
One person advised the woman, “Use company policy documents and government rights info to state your own boundaries.”
More people came to the woman’s defense, “I’d write your manager an email and ask her to clarify the rule.”
“That’s the Law”
Another chimed in, “Pregnancy and illness stemming from pregnancy is a protected characteristic.” They added, “She must, by law, make provision for you to eat little and often and not to your detriment. Allowing you to eat at your desk is a reasonable adjustment. No ifs, no buts, that’s the law.”
Boss Also Don’t Like Perfumes
The original poster shared, “She’s always been ridiculous, she sent somebody home for wearing a perfume that gave her a headache one day.”
People Advised Her to Eat Crackers
That is why many advised her to go to top management. Others suggested “to eat the cracker, she sounds like an absolute tyrant. I would keep eating them and say it you don’t, you’re going to vomit.”
After Writing a Letter, The Boss Allowed Her to Eat at Her Desk
The original poster shared an update. She wrote to her boss, saying that “pregnancy is a protected characteristic and reasonable adjustment have to be made, and I was pulled into her office and called ‘aggressive.'” The boss “backtracked and said I’m allowed my crackers, ginger biscuits, and fruit at my desk.”
The discussion continued, as some thought that bananas should be banned from the office. However, many pointed out that personal preferences differ from someone pregnant craving certain foods.
“Aggressive as a Goldfish”
The mom-to-be shared she cannot wait for maternity leave, though she “will also miss my team.”
She also stated I”‘m probably about as aggressive as a goldfish is, so actually in shock that she called me aggressive.”
Pregnancy at Work
Though this situation is resolved, it certainly raised some valid questions about pregnancy at work. Knowing that the poster’s boss is a woman made it all that more powerful and important.
Did you find yourself in a similar position? What would you do if you were the original poster?
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