thread: Doctors Appointment Rights

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005

    Doctors Appointment Rights

    I am in my 28th week of what is considered a high risk pregnancy. I am on low weight molecular heparin due to previous pulmonary embolisms, I have to have a Caesarean section due to a previous myoectomy, my blood type is B Negative, my ocular rosacea has recently flared up, probably due to the pregnancy, and I have recently been told that I have Gestational Diabetes. As you can imagine, all of this requires some doctor appointments from time to time. Since most of my care is now provided by the public hospital where i will deliver, I am somewhat at their mercy as to when I can schedule appointments. The obstetrics clinic operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 to 3:00, with the latest appointment I can get being 2:15. I work about 45 minutes from the hospital, so with the commute and allowing time to find parking (if there is any), I have to leave work at about 1:00 for a 2:15 appointment, earlier on occasion when I can only get a 1:00 or 1:30 appointment.

    Just as I was leaving work for an appointment today my boss approaced me and said he wanted to talk to me about my appointments. He said the number of appointments I was going to was becoming a "disruption" to the company I work for. I told him that I was sorry but I really have no control over how many appointments I have, and that its only going to get worse as I approach my due date. He asked me to try to schedule my appointments at more convenient times, i.e. early in the morning or late in the afternoon. He reminded me that I had in essence missed a whole day of work this week (Tuesday left at 1:00 for an ante-natal appointment and today left at 1:45 for an opthamologist appointment that was somewhat an emergency - I have an ulceration on my cornea). I again apologised but told him I could only make ante-natal appointments between 1 and 3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that todays appointment was an emergency, the doctor squeezed me in and I had no choice about what time he was able to see me. And unfortunately there are lots more appointments to come. He just kept reiterating that I needed to make the appointments at more appropriate times or that I need to come back to work after appointments, but the problem there is that most of my 2:15 appointments aren't finished until about 3:30, and its a little late then to drive the 45 minutes back to work and then turn around 45 minutes later to go home. I always attempt to make appointments as early or late in the day as I can, but sometimes this just isn't possible. I'm terrified because today's eye doctor appointment will require a follow up next Wednesday morning (9:00 was the earliest appointment I could get) and I'm really dreading telling him that once again I will be late due to a drs appointment. Then Thursday I have to leave at middday for a 2 hour dietician/diabetes educator appointment, followed in 2 weeks by another ante natal appointment, plus no doubt the dietician will want me to come in for a follow up....not to mention Birth classes, which start in mid November, which I was able to schedule in the evening 3 Thursdays in a row but will need to leave work an hour early for......

    I'm sorry this is so long, I'm just really freaked out. I know he can't fire me for having dr appointments, but I feel so intimadated by him (I swear sometimes he's not human and has no feelings whatsoever). I can't control the appointments that I have and am not going to let him scare me out of going to them....I'm tempted to ask him if he'd prefer I start my maternity leave early (I'm planning to work until December 9) seems that might be more of a disruption than a few half days here and there, considering that I am ALWAYS up to date with my work when I'm there and have never gotten behind schedule due to an appointment)....but I'm afraid he'd call my bluff, and my husband and I need as much money as we can get between now and when the baby comes.

    Thanks for listening, I'd love you opinions on my situation.


  2. #2
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    Stephanie...........this type of situation makes me so so mad.

    Legally you must be given time off for your appointments in connection with the pregnancy, as you know.

    But like you say, whilst you are being given the time off, there is nothing to stop your employer/boss making you feel bad about it. The fact that he is intimidating you regarding this is terrible.

    My advice would be to make an appointment with your boss, and explain, and document, all of the reqirements of the appointments, drive times etc etc, detailing exactly what you have in your post here really!

    In this way, whilst he may not like it, you have more than fulfilled your responsibilities to your employer, and you are also making it clear to him that you will not be intimidated, and you will still be taking all the time you need for the appointments.

    As you say, they will only get more regualr from here, so set your stall out now.

    Do you have an HR department? If so, my suggestion would be that you document the conversations you have at a meeting with your boss, and email both him and an HR rep with all of the details, so that EVERYONE is clear on how you are approaching the time off required for the pregnancy.

    Don't feel intimidated, don't offer to go on maternity leave early if you don't want to.


  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005

    Thanks Lucy

    Unfortunately my boss is, in essence, the HR department. I work for a smallish company with no HR department, but my boss is the General Manager, he does our payroll, keeps track of sick/annual leave days (leave request forms for any days off or time off are turned in to him), etc. I will consider your idea to meet with him again to document my appointments, drive times, etc, and am also considering having a conversation with the managing director about my situation. My husband is quite angry about the way I'm being treated, he'd even like to call the GM and give him a piece of his mind, but I'm afraid that would be counter productive and make me feel even MORE uncomfortable about the situation. I have promised my husband that I will let my employer know that, while I understand the inconvenience of the situation, I will not allow them to intimidate me out of keeping my scheduled dr appointments, and if, God forbid, I have any further problems, complications, or just feel that "somethings not right" with the baby, I will go to the doctor, no matter how much grief my boss gives me.

    Thanks again for your advise. I will let you know how things go.


  4. #4
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    Just to add, I think it is important to point out that your work is UP TO DATE, so that should reduce his "disruption" theory somewhat.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2005

    I don't think legally they do have to give you time off for doctor's appointments? If I need to have one I have to use my sick leave to do it. Or maybe you are already doing this? If so then I'm not sure why they have a problem with it...

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2005
    Perth Western Australia

    Are you not able to start work earlier or work later on the days that you have appointments to make up the hours that you are missing due to the appoinments. This way you are still working the same amount of hours in the day, just at different times?

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005

    Kylie - I either use sick leave or else just don't get paid for the appointments. It's just the time I'm missing that bothers my boss.

    Ali - I'm an estimator at a mailing house, and quotes are sent to me to be done throughout the day as they are received by sales and account managers, so coming in early wouldn't necessarily help. But the person who will be taking over while I'm on maternity leave started about 5 weeks ago, and I am in the process of training him, so even though he still has a lot to learn, at least he is there to pick up some of the slack while I'm not there.

    I haven't had any more run-ins with the boss since the initial incident, I spoke with my immediate supervisor and she understands (being a mom) that I'm going to do what I have to do and will attend all necessary appointments. I finish work in 4 and a half weeks anyhow, so not much longer to worry about this.

    Thanks to all who have replied to my post


  8. #8
    Platinum Member

    Nov 2004


    This is a bad situation and I hope it doesn' t get worse for you. If you are using sick leave, it shouldn't be a problem or offer to work a little extra to cover the time you were away. Remember, your health and your baby is your biggest priority so please don't let it stress you. Hope you can come to an understanding with your boss and at least your immediate supervisor sounds like she is more human than the GM.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Feb 2005

    Has this manager not heard of the Sex Discrimination Act? It is illegal to harrass or discriminate against someone on the grounds of pregnancy.

    He has no right to intimidate you about your appointments. You have been honest and upfront with him and your work is up to date. He is the one who is in the wrong.

    Just make sure you keep a record for yourself (just notes in a diary would be fine).