In news that we honestly can’t believe we’re still having to report in 2017, a woman has taken to an online forum to share a truly sexist experience in the workplace; having a male supervisor report her to HR for having her period.
“I remember I have a hot water bottle in my desk drawer – I used it all winter in my freezing office, and a few other people, male and female, have one as well – we have a rule against using personal space heaters,” the woman known as Snuffalo posted to Mumsnet.
After filling the water bottle and returning to her desk, Snuffalo’s supervisor, who she refers to as Guy, came over.
"I fill the hot water bottle, nestle it in my lap, and I’m back to work. My sort-of-supervisor* we’ll call Guy comes over to talk to me about something, notices the hot water bottle, says “there’s no way you’re cold today, are you?” I say “um, no, just for the pain relief”. He looks confused and then literally horrified and then he walks away."
Thinking nothing of it, Snuffalo returned to work, but within minutes a chat message from an HR administrator popped up on her computer asking if she was alright.
“Guy says you’re not well and should go home," the message read.
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Snuffalo replied saying she was fine, she simply had some menstrual cramps.
Ten minutes and no response later, Snuffalo received a phone call from a HR Director asking her to find a private meeting room where they could talk.
"She then tells me that I shouldn’t disclose my medical problems to anyone who isn’t part of HR as it can make them uncomfortable," Snuffalo wrote, saying that she explained to the Director what had happened and her shock at the situation being escalated.
"She says “yes I understand, if you’re so unwell you need a hot water bottle you should be home, Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it’s unprofessional”. I say “this is weird, ok, anything else”? She’s quite breezy and professional - “No, that’s all, if you’re feeling better that’s great but if you need to, please do go home, OK bye!""
Furious, Snuffalo told fellow Mumsnet users that up until that point she had worked well with Guy and that at various times in recent months he had taken to lying on the floor during client meetings because of his back problems, "which seems to me both unprofessional and likely to make people uncomfortable."
She added, "Other people have standing desks, weird foot rests, all kinds of chairs and special backrests for their back pain and wrist braces for their wrist pain and a hundred other things and I’m not allowed to have a hot water bottle for my menstrual cramps? Am I right to be completely fucking furious?"
"Wow! What an over reaction from your work. Guy sounds like a twat!" a fellow Mumsnet user wrote.
"He's ridiculous. HR is ridiculous. Most women menstruate. It's a perfectly normal body function," another agreed.
"I always thought menstruation was a normal physical process, not a medical condition or medical problem," another added.
"I'm not excusing Guy's reaction here in the slightest, but I think it was HR who behaved appallingly in this situation," one user said pointedly.
Do you think Guy or HR were in the wrong? Let us know in the comments section below.