To Note: Please Note The Note

| Working | July 31, 2017

(I’ve been working for the same employer for the last six years, and have recently become pregnant with my first child. I haven’t taken well to being pregnant, and at four months am becoming fatigued, forgetful and experiencing a lot of pain. My doctor writes a note asking for a review of my hours and duties to help.)

Me: *handing the fit-for-work note to my boss* “I know I used to be full time, but I just can’t handle the hours right now. I need to cut down to part-time, and preferably work during the day, as my doctor has laid out in this note.”

Boss: *takes the note and puts it in his filing for later* “I’ll sort it out later, but you’ll need to fulfill the shifts I have you on this week.” *45 hours over five days*

(I agree to these terms, knowing changing a rota is a pain, and trudge through another week. The next week’s rota goes up and I find to my dismay that I have another 45 hour week and a number of late shifts, ending around 9-10 pm. I mention it to my husband and he offers to go and talk to my boss for me, knowing I get anxious in social situations like that, but I refuse and say I’ll do it myself. The next day I head into work, when I’m not on the rota, to chat.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the new rota…”

Boss: “What’s wrong with it? You have enough hours, don’t you?”

Me: “Well… I actually have too many. I brought you a doctor’s note, asking to cut my hours to 20 a week, 25 maximum and fewer late shifts, remember? I have almost twice the maximum hours and four of my shifts end at 9:30.”

Boss: “That letter was serious? I thought you’d just got your doctor to write you a note so you could slack off for a few weeks during the summer. Besides, I need you on these shifts. You’re a shift runner.”

(I looked out onto the current line-up of staff, all three of which were shift runners he’d scheduled to do normal shifts because he prefered to work with them over other people. Instead of pointing this out I reiterated the necessity for less and earlier hours, asked if he needs another doctor’s note, and pledged to do the hours he’s set me for that week, against my husband’s advice. As I feared, the next few days I failed to count the till correctly [which I got berated for in front of other staff] and on one occasion forgot to put the food away, meaning it was left at room temperature all night and had to be thrown. I was called in an hour early to count it all out, and the value of the food was deducted from my wages — £70, basically the day’s shift — and felt to feel inept and useless for the rest of the day. Ten months on, after this boss has moved to Canada, I find out that he had no right to deduct the money from my wages and it should have just been logged as lost stock. Because of how he put the stock through the till and deducted hours from my payroll rather than through a legitimate method on the till, he walked away with my £70 in his pocket and we never knew!)

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