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Part-time Status Update

Yesterday morning, in my yucky state of morning sickness mind, I sent my boss an email to check the status of my part-time request. I was secretly hoping it had been approved and I could leave at noon. No such luck. It took until yesterday afternoon for her to call me into her office for a de-brief.

To be quite honest, I don’t even understand the conversation her and I had yesterday, in her office, just the two of us. First she pointed out that she had a meeting scheduled the following day, so today, with her boss and HR to discuss my part-time request. The more she said though, the more I realized the meeting wasn’t so much about my part-time request as it was about her back-filling my position, and apparently before I’m ready to leave.

See, I’ve been quite frank with my boss. She knows I requested part-time for several reasons, one being I’m bored, as slowly she has transitioned my work to my two teammates in anticipation of me leaving when Eric’s residency is complete in June. When I requested part-time I specifically told my boss that I really felt like I could still handle 90% of my workload. That should have thrilled her, right? Wrong! Apparently this scared the crap outta her, and thus she wants to hire another part-time individual now to pick up the work I won’t be able to complete in only 20 hours a week. Work that honestly isn’t there to give. Oh, and this part-time person has to share my desk, as we don’t have space for an additional employee. No wait, it gets better.

Allow me to recap a few of the phrases spoken by my boss during our meeting yesterday:

  • Now that you’ve seen the heartbeat, I figured you’d be more excited and wouldn’t want to be here.
  • You married a doctor, you don’t need to work.
  • You’re not really going to want to drive here in the winter, while pregnant, for just 4 hours a day.

There were more, but honestly those are the only ones I recall before my brain sort of shut down. At one point in the conversation my boss asked if I needed to discuss all this with Eric. I said, discuss what? In my perfect world, I go part-time now, which shouldn’t hurt the team, and I work part-time until May before I have the baby. Her response, “that doesn’t work for me.” Yes, she said those words. Her biggest fear is not having coverage for year-end, which is June. Basically she wants to have my replacement hired and trained by June, whether I go part-time now or stay full-time. This means, for her to have enough time, since the hiring process here is turtle slow, she believes I’d need to quit in January, since she can’t even advertise for my position until I’m gone.

I really wasn’t sure what to say. Me asking for part-time now didn’t have anything to do with when I would leave the University. I mean, she’s known all along when Eric is finished, but I honestly thought it was up to me to decide when I give my notice. Can she tell me when I have to quit so that she can hire my replacement? I’m so confused, and frustrated, and hurt really. How is her year-end coverage my problem? Should a manager even be discussing that with the employee? And why the hell would she hire another part-time employee when I’m so bored? Clearly she doesn’t understand the workload here.

Her meeting with HR is later today, I’ll fill you all in when I know more. I’m not included in the meeting, so God only knows what my boss will tell HR I want… I wish I could be there to say, I want to stay working here until May…

18 thoughts on “Part-time Status Update

  1. Whoa there. She never should have said half of that. She is discriminating against you based on your PROTECTED status as a pregnant woman. You have legal protection here, and if she were to fire you, you’d have grounds for a lawsuit. They don’t have to let you work part-time, but they cannot suggest that you should quit because your pregnancy is inconvenient for them, nor can they fire you just because they’re worried about what will happen in June. If anything, they need to bring someone on to shadow you for your last 6 weeks or so. It would be in your best interest to document this any way you possibly can. Get HR involved if you have to. I’m willing to bet that HR will set her straight–at least they will if they have half a brain and know how to do their job.

    1. I’m really hoping that my boss spoke to me without any advice from HR. They are all meeting now actually, so I’m hoping to have more information, better information, very soon!

  2. Document everything. You have rights, and the last thing UIHC wants is to open itself to litigation. They can’t force you out. Especially since you are pregnant – that is just screaming lawsuit. Don’t give in.

    1. I know, I want to think they can’t force me out, but can’t they prove they need coverage for year-end, which I can’t provide? And not just because I’m pregnant, but because I was planning to leave when Eric was finished anyway. Oh gosh…. Well, she is meeting with HR now, so hopefully I have more information soon.

  3. I strongly suggest you consult an employment lawyer ASAP.

    1. I’m trying not to panic just yet. I want to think that my boss spoke to me before she had any input from HR. Let’s assume she is just clueless on what she can do….

      1. Okay. Don’t say I didn’t caution you! Advice would be a good idea. Document everything. All conversations and behaviours. I’m not suggesting panic. I’m suggesting you cover your bases because your boss is a freaking idiot who does not even know the law. Good luck.

  4. Wow, I can understand your frustration, she is making all sorts of assumptions about your situation that are inappropriate. Hopefully, HR will talk some sense into her. If not, you should definitely have a consult with HR and see if they can help you work it out. I work in the HR field, and I have a lot of those conversations daily with managers. However, if I can give you some advice as an HR professional, going from full-time to part-time status may negatively effect your benefits and her right to say when your assignment ends. I fear you may have given her too much credit and too much information, but that just means that she has to be extra careful because she could be at a greater risk of violation of various laws that protect pregnant women. A full-time emplyee is protected under FMLA and various other benefits programs. However, going to part-time when she believes she needs a full-time employee gives her the right to make certain business decisions. Just check local and federal laws on Pregnancy Discrimination and FMLA to make sure you understand your rights. Here’s a good resource: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy_guidance.cfm

    1. Thank you for the information. I will certainly check out that website later today when I have some time. The worst part of this, is that she doesn’t need a full-time person. I can still do all my work in 20 hours a week. I highly doubt she is going to tell HR that though. We shall see, as I think they are all meeting now.

  5. She can NOT tell you, you have to quit. That is illegal. I work in HR and know that you don’t have to quit because you’re pregnant or because you plan on leaving in the future. Unless you are part of a labor union (which sometimes has different rules that I’m not educated about) you most likely work in an “at will” state which means you can leave or the company can let you go at any time for any or no reason. Now it’s totally more complicated than that. But my recommendation is that you talk to your HR department. It sounds to me like the HR person needs to know your side of things before they make any decisions. If the manager is not in touch with the workload and is requesting more headcount than necessary that is something the HR person needs to know. Good luck.

    1. Thank you for the advice. I made contact with an hr rep this morning. Hopefully they can help me!

  6. I think the fact that you are pregnant will actually benefit you here. They can’t force you out (other than by denying your part time request) without facing legal repercussions, and surely HR will tell her that.

    I hope it all turns out OK!

    1. Thank you, I hope it turns out okay too. I made contact with an hr rep this morning so hopefully they can help.

  7. Wow. I hope that HR puts the kabosh on “making you quit”. There are too many infractions and issues that would surround you “being asked to leave” by January, the most being the fact that you have announced your pregnancy to her and they cannot discriminate. There would be too many blurred lines. If they really want someone full time, they should at least provide you with the option to remain full time. I am interested to see what HR has to say…. I am thinking of you and hope it works out!!!

    1. I made contact with an hr rep this morning so hopefully we can figure this out. I was very honest in my email to hr, so hoping this doesn’t come back and blow up in my face.

  8. I am so sorry you are facing this! So much for hoping the transition to part-time would be a easy one. And, can they really ask you to resign earlier? Might it be worth forcing them to fire you to get a pay-out? Although, I guess that could cost you a good reference which could be valuable in the future. This just sucks!
    Wishing you the best, and hoping it all works out!

    1. Thank you, I’m hoping an hr rep can help me figure this out. I made contact with one this morning…

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