Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)

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  1. #1
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    Default Absence from work due to health problems + 2 disciplinary meetings and harassment

    Hello everyone,

    I do apologise for the long post, but I feel rather desperate for advice.

    I've been working for my company for about a year and 2 months now, and last year November, I had a breakdown. I was diagnosed with depression and a few mentality issues and also anxiety. I've been diagnosed with depression a few years back but I had brilliant help and got through it. I informed my employer straight away, apologised and explained that I really do not feel able to work and my doctor said the same and has put me on a high dose of medication and a course of counselling. However, my sicknote had ran out and I honestly didn't realise so I didn't have a new one to give them before the current one had ran out, so they immediately sent out a letter asking me to come in for a disciplinary meeting, which I did, and I bought along the latest sicknote. When I was approached by the deputy store manager, he told me he cannot have any conversation with me until I hand in my sicknote, and no one would listen to me as I wanted to explain myself. When I gave them the sicknote a few minutes later they said that everything is fine now and I can go, so I had no meeting. Since then, i've had phonecalls asking when will I be back and that my department is failing because of me and they need me back. It makes me feel awful. They don't understand that I really need to get better and i am not ready to come back and I can appreciate the arguement on both sides but I feel like I am being victimised. I was told the new store manager is very keen to meet me, and I know why, so he can give me a piece of his mind. Then last Saturday, I gave in my latest sicknote, which started before the previous one had ran out so I knew I was covered, but this Wednesday, I got another letter asking me to come in for a meeting to discuss my absence as they haven't recieved my sicknote. I just rang my HR department who said they do have my sicknote and I was asked why am I not back at work yet, they want me to come back now, and now I have to go in for the meeting tomorrow. I feel so sick with worry that my whole body is shaking. I know in the meeting it will be me alone facing three people as I'm not in a union. I feel so scared and nervous to go, I can't bare it and I know I won't be able to explain myself properly because they just wont give me a chance, I know how they work. I'm not doing this on purpose, and I haven't worked since November, so Christmas was nonexistant due to not much money, If I could work, I would, of course I need to pay the bills. Would it be terrible if I don't go tomorrow? I really can't handle this.

    I apoloigise for long post, thanks in advance


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Absence from work due to health problems + 2 disciplinary meetings and harassment

    Yes, I am afraid that at this stage it would be terrible if you didn't go - you could be dismissed. The only way out, and it may be too late now, would be to ask for a postponement, explaining why you cannot cope with a meeting - but as I said, it is very late in the day to be asking for the meeting to be postponed. It isn't at all unusual or unreasonable for an employer to contact / meet with an employee who has been off sickicon, especially where this has been for a number of weeks. In fact, they do have a legal obligation to discuss with you any way in which they can assist you in returning to work - simply because your doctor has said that you are not fit to return to work does not mean that they should not do so. They also may have sickness absnece policies which would come into play after such a length of time off sick.

    I realise that this is a very difficult time for you, but I think you should also bear in mind that your mental health issues may be making you feel more vulnerable and scared than you may have reason to be. The new store manager may want to talk to you, yes - but it is simply your guess that he or she wants "to give you a piece of their mind". You don't know this. They may, equally, want to know whether there is anything they can do to help you back to work - perhaps by discussing with your medical people whether reduced hours or something may actually help you. You do not know that they do not want to do this.

    But at the end of the day, you are their employee, and so they do have some rights and obligations to consider your position. If you keep refusing to have this discussion then you are at greater risk of them coming to the conclusion that your job should be terminated - and that won't help you either. I would suggest that you try to talk to them - maybe making some notes before you go to help you remember what you want to say or ask about, and to help you feel more confident about it. It may then be that your fears about them are confirmed, and then with more information we may be able to give you further advice. But right now there doesn't seem to be very much to go on in terms of them actually doing anything wrong here. It might be a good idea to take a work colleague with you if you are not in the union - if just for some moral support.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Absence from work due to health problems + 2 disciplinary meetings and harassment

    Hello SarEl,

    thank you for your advice. I understand what you mean. I don't want them to think i'm being un co-operative. I appreciate your comments on my mentality making things to be worse than what it is, but my work place truly is a horrible place, all the staff feel bullied by management, and i have experienced it myself, but I will definitely write down what I want to mention and bring it with me to the meeting, which I am going to. I just hope matters do not get bad.

    Thank you again, I appreciate it very much



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