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I have recently left my employment after being told that I would be going onto formal disciplinery following a period of sickness.

 

To cut a long story short, I tendered my resignation in February of this year following sickness caused through excessive hours worked which I had not originally signed up for.

 

I took the job on the understanding that my hours would be worked over 24 hrs and discovered on starting that they would be worked between the hours of 6pm and 8am. This meant that all my hours worked were worked in darkness. I live on my own and couldnt afford not to keep the job on so I agreed to "try" it and see if it worked. After 2 weeks I got shingles. When I went back to work I told them that my doctor had told me I was ill due to the hours I was working and asked if I could have my hours reduced to 18 per week. Was told no but was advised they could be reduced to 24. In the meantime I had to keep working the 37.5 hrs per week (sometimes a run of 60 hrs over 6 days falling in 2 weeks!). After 2 weeks I asked when my hours would be reduced and was told it was going through the system. Asked again after 3 weeks and again after 4 when I was starting to feel very ill. At the end of 5 weeks I finished a long run of days, backs and nightshifts. I went home in the morning and collapsed on the kitchen floor. I was in bed for 3 weeks and was off work for 8 suffering from exhaustion.

 

My doctor told me that I would have to leave or I would become very seriously ill. I wrote a formal grievance letter and tendered my resignation. At the time my grievance was that I did not originally start the job thinking that I would be working between the hours of 6pm and 8am but opted to do 37.5 hrs after being given sample rotas to chose from. These turned out to be rotas from other offices that worked 24 hrs and not the one I would be working in. I feel I was misled initially. Had I known about the hours which we worked I would not have chosen to work so many hours and, in fact, may not have accepted the job.

 

I never received the outcome of the formal grievance but they managed to talk me into coming back and doing 24 hrs. After 3 months I got acute sinusitus which then went into a viral infection and was off work. I decided at that time that I would definitely leave as my health was more important than this job. It was clear to me that working every night had had a serious affect on my health.

 

I then calculated that I had been underpaid by approximately £1300 over the time I had worked there. There is more to it but I put in a claim for this money. They have now informed me that I owe them for 14 days when I should have been on no pay and was getting half pay.

 

My argument is that I was given the wrong information relating to shifts and hours of work. I chose a shift pattern on the wrong information and this made me ill. I advised them of this and they agreed to reduce my hours. 5 weeks later they were not reduced and I collapsed with exhaustion. There was no mention of me going on to half pay or no pay at any of the meetings I had relating to my grievance and therefore I think that the organisation failed in their duty of care to me and I should not be financially worse off due to their incompetence. Even their occupational health agreed that it was the hours that were making me ill.

 

I am planning on taking an action against them for breach of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to claim for the pay they docked from me and also for my time spent in trying to sort this out. Would I make this claim to the small claims court? I cannot take it to a tribunal because I was only there for 10 months. Could I also sue for breach of contract and claim compensation from them?

 

I think they are trying to frighten me into not claiming for the £1300 I believe they owed me. Should I have my pay docked if their working environment is the reason I am ill?

 

Thank you for your help. Sorry for the long post.

 

Gemspan

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HI,

have you visited http://acas.org.uk and/or Website of the UK government : Directgov

These may have specific info for your problem.

I'm not sure but they may have a section where you can contact them direct to explain things further.

Please note that although my advice is offered, you should consult your legal representative before taking ANY action.

 

 

have a nice day !!

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