It’s hard enough managing work from home commitments when you have a young child – or children – on board, but it’s even more difficult when your employer gives you no leeway for this.
But this was the unpalatable situation one British-based mother-of-two was forced to deal with – and worse still, she was apparently sacked for it.
The working mum – an account executive and blogger – said that she was fired from her job after her boss became fed up with interference from her kids during work calls, it was reported in The Sun newspaper, adding that she had been working from home since March as a result of the pandemic, juggling work and child-minding duties.
In a story published in ScaryMommy.com, it was revealed that the work-from-home mother was frequently required to take business calls from her employer in relation to new clients, but despite her best efforts her boss became more and more frustrated by hearing children in the background during the conversations.
“He instructed me that on business calls with clients he did not want to hear the kids in the background. He stated over and over that it was not professional to hear the kids in the background on client calls and that I had to figure out how to keep them quiet,” she explained.
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“The pressure from my boss was creating so much stress. The kids were always interrupting, and the baby wanted to nurse all the time. They constantly had to wait for me to finish getting something done so I could tend to their needs. My heart broke.”
Eventually, after several months and attempts to vary her routine to accommodate the phone calls, the situation came to a head and the employee went to HR department to clarify the situation. A phone call was subsequently arranged, but the mother claimed she was told that they “should part ways” because she clearly wasn’t happy with the situation. Hardly a model response from HR.
This is a stark contrast to the HR leader who, as the pandemic and work-from-home became de rigueur for many, who posted on LinkedIn that parents working remotely should “stop apologising for kid-noises in the background while you’re on a conference call”.
According to Candace DiCresce, senior director for safety & wellbeing at Rogers Communications, advised that interruptions from children during WFH should not be considered unprofessional, rather it should serve as reminder that everyone is “sacrificing so much to make this work”.
Parts of this article first appeared in the HR Grapevine website.