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Q

I recently returned to my job in a leaving care team after having a baby, and now work three days a week. My colleagues constantly call me at home when I’m not working. They also disapprove when I leave work on time, so I can pick up my daughter from nursery. It’s hard enough being a new mum, without all this aggravation. Should I complain? If so, who to?

A

The issues you face are inappropriate contact and the attitudes of staff to part-time workers. There is also potential sex discrimination. It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure your work environment is harassment-free.

You do need to rebuild relationships after maternity leave. 

Your options are talking to colleagues informally or in a team meeting; discussing at supervision with your line manager; or going to your trade union.

If these fail the formal process for complaints is the grievance procedure.

Sometimes you will need to be contacted at home for emergencies concerning service users, so you must be flexible. This is the nature of the job. But you need to try and specify what constitutes an emergency, to avoid unnecessary calls.

I suggest leaving clear notes on your case files for your manager. Use supervision to discuss the best methods for making sure colleagues are clear about progression of your cases.

If there is still no joy after trying the above, then seriously consider finding a more enlightened work place better suited to your needs.

Yvette Adams is head of human resources for social services at Hammersmith and Fulham Council in London. 

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