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Pregnancy in the Workplace

In: Business and Management

Submitted By lovablejess
Words 1164
Pages 5
Pregnancy in the Workplace
Almost every person in the world has been involved in a theory called groupthink. People who are affected by groupthink tend to ignore their gut feeling and make irrational decisions. In a lot of cases the people affected by group think are in an isolated group and tend to have similar backgrounds. Groupthink can occur in small groups or in large political groups, like the Bay of Pigs. Groupthink occurs when people make a bad decision that they know or feel is ethically wrong because they feel the pressure and stress from being in a group. Janis Irving has documented 8 signs of group think.
From what I have seen in life everyone will experience groupthink in some way or another. Most people will experience groupthink at their workplace; I am no exception to that. Lately at my workplace I have experienced groupthink between my boss (John), another manager (Meghan) and myself. The problem first occurred when one of the employees at my workplace became pregnant. This employee, who we will call Vanessa, is very religious and is unmarried but has now found herself pregnant and scared. When Vanessa first found out she was pregnant she went to Meghan, who was her manager in charge that day, she told Meghan that she is 6 weeks pregnant and that’s why she has been calling in sick the past few weeks. She asked Meghan to please not tell anyone what was going on because she was unsure if she would be keeping the baby. Instead of Meghan upholding manager-employee confidentiality, she instantly told another employee turning the situation into a jest. Like a twisted game of “telephone”, word spread rapidly, and all of a sudden Vanessa was a target for bullying and became the subject of inaccurate rumors. At the time that Vanessa’s pregnancy had spread around the workplace she had yet to tell her Christian family. This was just a start to the spiral of problems that have started to occur in my workplace during the last 6 months.
John, not your typical boss, he had inherited the money to start these business when he was just 26 years old. His parents build him this company and are allowing him to run them on his own. For a 26 year old with hardly any business experience it was only a matter of time before something went wrong. We are now three years into his first business and Vanessa is the first employee he has ever had that is pregnant. It is obvious to anyone that a pregnant person cannot work as fast or as hard as they were before they became pregnant but they are still required to be treated the same. As soon as Vanessa told us that she was pregnant, John started to get worried. John was worried about the loss of productivity and the loss of money that she will bring to his business. Other employees started to complain that it was hard to work with Vanessa and that it wasn’t fair to them to be forced to pick up Vanessa’s slack. Where I work requires a lot of heavy lifting and face to face interaction with customers. Vanessa as her hormones would act up she would often times be rude to customers or just completely ignore them which put a strain on the business and everyone who was on shift with her.
As problems started to arise in the workplace John started to limit Vanessa’s hours. Vanessa went from a full time employee to a part time employee and went from working night shifts where you make good tips, to working morning shifts. Vanessa went from 40 hours a week to barely breaking 20 hours. It seemed that no one in the workplace liked Vanessa and we often found her as the center of being bullied, not just by the owner but by the other employees. John never spoke to Vanessa about her hours being cut or her shifts being changed, he just told Meghan and I to limit her schedule. John had started making Meghan and I do all the dirty work, I as a business major was not okay with this. I tried talking to Meghan about the problems and I had even brought them up to John with no response; I’m not sure if they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong or if they just didn’t care. As a three year veteran with this company, being with them since before they opened it was hard for me to see John acting this way; he had never done anything this dumb before. I was now stuck in the middle between knowing what was legally and morally right and what John and Meghan were doing. Often times I would take things into my own hands by making sure Vanessa was being treated right at work but would get a negative response from John and Meghan. It appeared to me that Meghan and John had started to brainwash all the employees into treating Vanessa poorly. There were times where I would come into work to find Vanessa at the edge of breaking down. It was almost like they are trying to force Vanessa to leave before she has the baby.
There have been many times where I go against everyone else in the group but when you are going against the person who pays your bills, it makes it a little bit harder. I have found a middle ground in this situation, since I do not have the power to put Vanessa back on full time and I cannot out power both the owner and other manager, I have taken Vanessa under my wing. I have taught her about collecting disability while having the baby and I have not allowed a single person to bully her. I have made the workplace under my watch a much better place to work. While the owner and manager have made up their mind on how they treat Vanessa, it took me awhile to break from the group but I have made up my own way to get through these problems at work. To me the purpose of a management entity is to guide the other employees and provide a structure from which the employees can learn and grow. A manager should be the most trained employee, and work with the utmost professionalism. It is expected that a given manager will be seen as a leader, not a dictator; when fear is used in the place of respect, issues can arise. This is the problem that arose in my workplace from the time Vanessa was 6 weeks tell now. In regards to the business owner, the manager should take every possible precaution in order to prevent any liability for lawsuit or other costly circumstances. Although efficiency is of utmost importance in a company, the physical and emotional safety of employees will always be a precedent to me.…...

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