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Nayfeee

Urgent employment problem, please help.

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Good afternoon members

 

I've used this forum previously regarding financial issues and found you members very helpful and kind. I have an unrelated problem with work that I'd like to ask your help with please.

 

I'll start with a summary of what has happened and then ask my question at the end:

 

1st July 2010: several friend & colleagues at work are suspended from work for mis-use of company e-mails and internet. They're told that an investigation into possible gross misconduct will take place.

 

9th July 2010: My team manager takes me up to HR where I am told by a HR employee that I have been mis-using company e-mails and that an investigation will be held. I am not suspended.

 

15th July 2010: I receive my disciplinary pack inviting me to a level 2 disciplinary on 22nd July 2010. The pack explains that a level 2 could result in final written warning.

THIS IS THE LAST WRITTEN CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED UNTIL 26TH AUGUST.

 

22nd July 2010: I attend disciplinary, face the evidence, offer my mitigation. I made a point of asking when I would know the outcome, it was stressed to me that this would be the same day or following day.

 

After hearing nothing by 30th (over 1 week later, despite me continually asking for updates) I am told by another team manager that I have an 'outcome hearing' on Monday 1st August 2010. I was never told that there would be an outcome hearing prior to this. When I asked what this meeting was for, the managers exact words were: "To find out if it is being resolved at level 2 which is final written warning, or as a lower level 1l"

 

2nd August 2010: Outcome hearing postponed 30 minutes before due to attend. Told it may be another week due to short staffing in HR.

 

3rd August 2010: Invited to Outcome hearing on same day. Attended outcome hearing where I was told that my disciplinary is being placed on hold pending further investigation and that it may evolve into a level 3 resulting in dismissal. Still no suspension.

 

Same day all other suspended staff members are dismissed.

 

4th August 2010: I attend work as normal and arranged a meeting with an employee representative (we don't have a union, the rep is on the employee comittee). After speaking to the rep I voice my grievence with the way this has been handled, cancelling of appointments at short notice etc. and he puts forward the complaint. Advises me that it is still classed as a level 2 until I am notified in writing.

 

Thursday 5th, Friday 6th & Monday 9th August I am absent from work not feeling well.

 

Tuesday 10th August I visit GP and am signed off work with Anxiety for 2 weeks and given medication.

 

Tuesday 24th August I visit again and am signed off for a further 2 weeks.

 

 

Okay, sorry for the wall of text. That's where I'm up to at present. The problem/question lies here. My manager wrote to me dated 26th August explaining that she has tried to contact me by phone several times. I was not aware of this as my phone has been turned off for most of the time, however I did have several voice mails from her asking me to call her which I did not know about.

 

The letter dated 26th basically states that I have an appointment tomorrow at 3.30pm with the Doctor at work for a consultation meeting. It also goes on to state that I must keep in contact for sick pay to continue, and that my sick pay may be limited to 3 weeks full pay due to my disciplinary.

 

Am I obliged to attend the meeting tomorrow? Surely if I am off work -with anxiety because of work- it is not in my best intention to commute there, enter the building where all my colleagues will see me etc. then to be questioned by a doctor even though I've been seen by my own GP?

 

Thanks for any help, and any help/advise you have about my disciplinary would also be appreciated.

 

Again sorry for wall of text

-N

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I have just read that any occupational health appointments must be consensual. Is this correct? Thanks

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bump

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Hello there. I think this cropped up in the last week or two and from memory, the concensus was that a person shouldn't be called in while off sick, especially with stress.

 

Our gurus seem to be a bit thin on the ground at the moment, so please try to bear with us. In the meantime, you could check out the directgov and ACAS websites which have a lot of information on this sort of thing. ACAS also have a confidential helpline you might like to ring.

 

I hope that points you in the right direction for now and that some other caggers will be along soon. Btw, do you think the email charge was fair?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi Honeybee thanks for your reply.

 

I actually spoke to ACAS this morning and they confirmed I can ask for the meeting to be held at a later date. However he did not confirm if I can not attend on grounds of my illness (anxiety/stress) indefinitely.

 

I think that the company are right to discipline us for the e-mail charge, however I don't feel that dismissal is a punishment that fits the crime. I think it's more so unfair that they have now told me that I might be dismissed, after me being assured this would not happen at level 2 of the disciplinary procedure. I also feel the length of time it has taken them to make any decision, and their failure to provide anything to me in writing since my original disciplinary is unfair.

 

Thanks :)

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Hi again, sorry to reply to my own post. I e-mailed work to tell them I could not attend todays OH meeting and I've received a response. I'm pretty desperate for advice on my whole disciplinary and OH scenario as it is definitely making my health suffer.

 

The email reads:

 

"

An appointment with Occupational Health has now been re-arranged for Thursday 2 September at 2pm. You'll be met from Reception by a HR representative and then after the HR representative will contact you to discuss the date for the further investigatory meeting, in light of what Dr ****** advises following his consultation with you.

"

 

As stated previously, I'm off work with Anxiety and Stress- I've had high blood pressure for some time and take daily medication for this also which is being affected by my situation. Having to attend such a meeting at work and be met by a member of HR, pass through Security and be surrounded by colleagues and other staff at work I feel that it would only make my health situation worse.

 

Thanks

N

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Nayfee, I think what has happened to you is quite cruel and completely out of order. It has clearly made you ill. You have been treated differently to the others - and what you saw - disciplinaries, staff being sacked, whilst you tried to continue with your work - was bound to make you ill. It sounds like a cat torturing a bird to me. Or perhaps the better name for it is bullying and in this case it seems the entire company is doing the bullying.

 

Whatever the outcome with the job, you hold onto this - work has made you ill, you didn't ask them to make you ill, you have no wish to be ill - not your fault, and if you should be dismissed, hang on to that thought and go straight to an employment solicitor.

 

I hope the worst doesn;t happen, but reading between the lines, I think the damage has been done in your case - they have succeeded in making you mentally ill. There is a price tag attached to that. If it does go pearshaped, you hang on in there and sue the buggers. And from now on every professional you see in relation to this matter you tell the same story - work has made you ill. Its called a psychiatric injury.

 

You are doing the right thing by staying out of the arena - you'd have gone bonkers by now.

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Hi JackieandWayne, thank you for your reply. Makes me feel better that I am doing the right thing by avoiding being there- I know for a fact it would affect my health more to go in. I lost a lot of sleep before I went on sick leave over this, especially seeing friends being dismissed whilst I was kept there under the illusion I would only be receiving a final warning.

 

Do you guys know if I am within my rights to decline all OH meetings that they put forward to me? Will this affect anything?

 

They have already told me that my sick pay may be limited to 3 weeks full pay, then 3 weeks half pay as the my sick leave started during disciplinary procedure...any advice? Basically I will have no income in another 2 -3 weeks? Will that mean that I've been dismissed since they wont be paying me?

 

Thanks again, all help is genuinely appreciated

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Go back to see your GP and explain to s/he that your employer is making you ill by pressuring you to go and see them. Also, when they call you in again tell them that you are not well enough to travel by public transport and perhaps if they pay for a taxi you maybe able to go and see them. :(

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I will try to get to see my GP tomorrow then and see what she says.

 

Is anything from her going to be enough for me not to have to go through with the meetings?

 

One thing I dont understand is that I am absent from work with stress/anxiety-as being there is causing this. So the OH team want to see me to find out what they can do to help my stress/anxiety- which would be to refrain from being in work?! It's madness, or am I missing something?

 

Thanks a lot :) Will let you know what my GP says.

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OH are just covering their backsides here. Get your GP to state you can only have a home visit (if you would be happy for them to see you at home) and that way it cannot be said that you are being unreasonable. Yes, whatever your GP writes should be plenty good enough for this shower. You would be surprised how irate some GP's can get when they are challenged - my GP rang up an insurance company and swore at them!

 

It is very important, before you see your GP, that you write down a list of all your symptoms. Include everything - have you had upset tummies, headaches, vomiting, hair loss or dermatitus? Even strange niggling joint pains - can all be stressed related. I thought I was having a DVT - when I got to the hospital they told me it was sciatic pain, but no cause for it - psychiatrist me that this is symptoms of PTSD (which I suffer with through bullying at work). It is also important that you test yourself - why can you not go to this meeting - is it fear, stress? Have a good think, because I can tell you now that if you are suffering even mildly with what I have got, or even a stress related illness that hasn;t developed into PTSD, one of the warning signs is that you know you cannot go to a particular place and wild horses won't drag you there. Your Gp needs to know all of this to help make a correct diagnosis and get you the help you need. Most important- it is then all down in your records.

 

I suppose what I really want to say to you is this - stay as strong as you can, do not resign, and you go and get even with them. Know your rights, stick to them, and you sock it to them. I know that many people are going through this sort of hoohah at work and it really is not on.

 

You may think its easy for me to sit here and tell you this, I know all about the financial hardship you will go through like you can't even feed the dog never mind yourself, but if you stay strong, take one day at a time, study whatever you can get your hands on to do with this sort of thing, you will be rewarded. Employers think because they know they are squeezing you financially and wrecking your happy life, that you will crumble. Well, I did not crumble, came close to it at times, but I would not give in and I am in a very pleasant place today, where I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of a legal battle my employers are going to lose. I lost everything two years ago because of bullying, now my former employers are going to replace everything I have lost, and then some....

 

You stay strong and don't let them bully you anymore.

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Hi.... sorry to hear of all these problems. If you do find yourself without income because of your illness remember that you should claim Incapacity Benefit. Submit the forms yourself (we thought that the employer did it when my wife had a problem with a NHS Trust and lost 7 weeks benefit because of it.)

 

Have you a partner to support you whilst all this goes on? Hopefully you do, it might be worth detailing for caggers benefit as it may have a bearing on the advice given.

 

One thing that came out of my wife's illness was that the OH doctor made a big thing about the "Management Processes" that contributed to her illness. This was in relation to a NHS benefit, but it is worth remembering that employers have to use fair processes in the discharge of their duties. I agree with jackieandwayne above, list all the things that were said and done and the dates if you can remember them, if you can't try and put them in event order so they relate to each other. If they have treated to differently to the others and that contributed to you illness then they could be held responsible. Although admitting to the infringement does not help as they are entitled to investigate the matter.

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Hi JackieandWayne

 

Thanks again for the support it is appreciated :)

 

It's funny hearing some of those things that you mentioned. I went to the doctors about something unrelated a couple of weeks back and was told that it was sciatic pain. I've also had a lot of sleepless nights over this and it's putting a lot of strain on my personal relationships and friendships. I do feel that going into that particular building is a big no no which I why I'm so hesitatant to attend the meeting.

 

Papasmurf thanks also, I've got all of the meetings written down and what was said/done in them, all the times they cancelled meetings last minute and changed their mind about things.

 

When I had a meeting with one of the employee reps there I asked why I was being treated differently. He basically said it was because the degree of the 'crime' varied- some had misused websites to find images, some had just misused emails, some had said worse things in e-mails etc. So I am not sure that them treating me differently will be a factor? Although it is because of this that I am now suffering- seeing the other staff dismissed over the weeks whilst I was working thinking I would be okay at the end of it all...

 

Thanks

N

 

 

Edit: come to think of it a few things now come to mind, I've been getting what I can only describe as "mini adrenaline rushes" where I feel a flutter inside of me. I've had headaches, and numbness/pins and needles in the 2 small fingers on my left hand that I thought was down to bad circulation.

 

I will try to speak to my GP today

Edited by Nayfeee

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you need to google PTSD, anxiety and depression. You will find all your symptoms in there somewhere.

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Thanks :)

 

Regarding the comment not to resign- what should I do when my sick pay finishes? The letter they sent to me said it will run at 3 weeks full, 3 weeks half pay and then stop....when it stops am I still employed? can I receive incapacity whilst I am employed? I don't know what to do about that.

 

Obviously I'd like for all of this to be over and for me to be able to get better and find a new job, without having a dismissal on my history :(

 

N

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If you are sick and your GP gives you a fitness note, fill in the back and send it to the DWP and incapacity benefit is paid. I am sure if you search this site you will get stories about IB. Also read up on it on the direct gov site. You are employed so long as you have not been dismissed. Deflect the illness to the bullying and not the 'crime.' If they eventually dismiss you then you at least have a reason to explain to a new employer.

 

What is you personal situation. My wife could fight as she had me for support, monetary and morally, have you any support?

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Well I have a fair bit of debt that I am paying off, having no money is going to have a big impact on this and make my financial situation a lot worse.

 

Currently I am back living with parents which is great, they cannot afford to support me financially but it means if I can't afford the basics they can cover it for me. My biggest concern is that myself and my girlfriend were supposed to be moving out at the end of September. Due to my current situation she's had to move away alone and that's having a big impact on my frame of mind along with all of the work issues.

 

About the IB - when work fully stop my sick pay after 6 weeks, can I receive IB whilst I am employed? Can they completely stop paying me whilst I am employed??

 

Thanks again Papasmurf

 

N

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if this continued investigation is making you ill, and you are being made to go to the interview,

 

i would speak to the company health and safety officer or if you have one, a union rep

 

the next statge after a three is an employment tribunal

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The continued investigation is making me ill. However I don't want to get anything out of them, I just want to be able to work somewhere else and get better so I can do the things I need to do

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I take it you are searching for a new job now then as you want to work "somewhere else"?

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Not actively, but I think that I will have to soon as I can't afford to not be earning a wage. If I received IB of course it would be a big help but ideally I need to get better so I can go to work

 

-N

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Hi there. Just to add that you can receive IB and still be employed. I think it could be ESA these days actually, papasmurf. [i am an active member of the Benefits forum here.] Nayfeee, the DWP are not easy to deal with, but it will give you something else to think about. :) If you have any problems, post on the Benefits forum.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi Honeybee Some of us still have the old allowance!!!! Haven't been called in for that interview yet got that to look forward to. Thanks for reminding me and correcting me too.

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