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terminated employment on the grounds of capability


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hello.

 

i have worked for this company for 3 years, im employed full time, in the transport industry, the company is a very large employer.

 

i have been off sick with stress/depression and anxiety since may 29th 2012, a few weeks ago, i took in a sick note, and the boss called me into the office, he told me that he would be setting up a meeting in a week or so, with the union, where if he was not given a 'return to work date', my employment would be 'terminated on the grounds of capability'.

 

i received a letter a few days later, the meeting was held 15th July, i was sent out from the meeting quite a few times, and i discussed the situation with the union (unite, which i am a fully paid member) the union told me just to give him a return date of 5th september, and they would take things from there, so i did, even though i knew i was not fit to return to work at the time of this meeting, i thought i might be by the 5th sept, so i was kind of ok with this date.

 

i did go into work yesterday, though i was not feeling right in myself, i have been taking citalopram (anti depressant) for about 18 months now, and i have felt that these tablets have not helped any with my depression (i have a fairly complicated world) i felt that there was no point continuing with them, i stopped them about 3 weeks ago, i went to see my doctor last week to get a 'back to work' note, and after talking to him, he asked me to think about a pill called fluoxotine, i think is prozac, though only a small dose. i was unsure, but i talked to a few people and came to the conclusion that it would be ok, so long as it was a small dose.

 

i had to have a blood test today, and while i was in the doctors, i broke down, and she signed me off sick for 2 weeks, telling me to take the prozac and come back and see her in 2 weeks.

 

i took the sick note into work, and on the way there, the boss passed me in a van, he has this stupid rule that you cannot hand in your sick note to a supervisor, but you have to hand it to him, as i was only a few yards from work i carried on, handed the note to the supervisor, who objected, i didnt care, i had handed my note in and it was up to her if she took it or not, or just left it there for the boss to collect when he came back.

i set off back home, not far from work a car pulled up in front of me and the admin jumped out, shouted at me and told me to come to work tomorrow, a meeting had been set up at 10am and the union would be present.

 

i understand that if i didnt return to work i would be sacked, with 3 weeks pay and any holiday pay paid to me. and ok, i returned to work for one day, i do see this day as irrelevent and will not change anything, and i do believe that i will be dismissed tomorrow. (being that the union guy i have requested will be there)

 

i accept that.

 

but, i did not think that you could be sacked while you were on sick, and even though work say they have tried to help me, they really havnt done anything to help me, yes they have sent me to the work councilor, who has advised them to change my shifts, to late shifts, as my husband is in america and these shifts fit with his timezone, so we can still communicate with each other, fitting round his work also. my boss has refused to do this, the councilor has also asked me to do a few things to help myself, which, i have done everything i can, from stopping smoking to listening to NLP mp3s.

 

since i have started with this company, i have been harassed by other members of staff, turning up at my house, sending me messages, pinning me against the wall and kissing me, asking me if they can call round at 130am (this was a supervisor) being asked for bl**j*bs, and the list goes on. i have given them no indication that i am in any way interested, i have been ripped apart on facebook, my personal life discussed, of which a lot of it is just gossip. i have kept myself to myself, and i dont socialize with people i work with. and other than talking to my husband about it, i have kept my mouth shut about these incidents, other than the facebook one, which i wanted my boss to do something about, and he didnt. ive not said anything to anyone, because i felt i was already alienated at work and i didnt want to feel like this any more.

 

i recently sent my boss an email telling him of my problems, but it seems he has not even read this, or if he has, he does not care, i have been in this industry for 16 years and i have never worked at such a place like this, i have never had to put up with the same rubbish as i am having to deal with now.

 

i just wanted to go to work and do my job, which, i love the job to bits, but, unfortunatly, attitudes suck.

 

my husband is 3500 miles away from me and i came back here 3 years ago, because my dad was ill and died a month later, and we have been trying to get myself back over there, although this is getting closer, it is also getting harder, because my husband is also hearing this crap from work, from me, it is also putting a strain on our marriage.

 

i felt so lucky landing employment within two month of me returning to the uk, and i only came to this city because it is a big city and the wages are much better than the city i am from.

 

i now feel let down by my employer and as the meeting is tomorrow, in less than 12 hours, i have no idea what to do.

 

any advise would be nice at this late hour.

Edited by honeybee13
Editing in some spacing for ease of reading.
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Hello and welcome to CAG. I'm sorry to hear about your problems, it sounds tough for you.

 

I think you may get advice even at this late hour if the guys are able to get here and hope they are around this evening.

 

My best HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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short answer: you can be sacked while on the sick

 

long answer: I would expect the harassment is leading to your stress. have you put in a grievance about it? If not get one typed up now! It sounds like you waant to leave anyway - this may a) delay the process while they investigate or b) give grounds for a claim later - or more likely the threat of a claim, which may lead them more down a comproise agreement route.

 

Document as accurately as you can dates times events and any witnesses or other evidence.

 

Then get your CV typed up and sent out. No one should have to work under those conditions.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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thank you, both of you.

i think my time with my employer is done, if i put in a grievance of harassment then there would be no chance of me continuing to work there. and if i dont, then the harassment is not going to stop and the boss has his excuse to get rid of me anyway.

i really wouldnt mind if i were a big trouble causer or jobsworth, but im not, what i would give to just carry on and do my job and be left to it.

the email to the boss that i wrote, also could count as a grievance, which i asked him to keep it to himself (for now) but, i guess, depending on how things go tomorrow, i will decide what happens with that email, possibly post it to HR too, in which case, my time in this city would probably be done also.

i really do not understand why some people have to behave like they do, i left school nearly 30 years ago, and i feel like i am walking into the playground every day.

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Sorry to hear about your situation.

 

I think you should raise a grievance, note on it that you raised concerns to your boss (both your email and the concerns you raised about Facebook) and that nothing was done. Be as specific as you can as to times and dates of incidents, staff involved and witnesses, and also the effect that this has had on your health. Send the grievance to HR and maybe consider sending a copy to someone more senior than your boss if there is a Head Office. Before raising the grievance, be clear as to what brought on and exacerbated the stress - are there any underlying factors outside work, is it the harassment at work, or is that the company's approach has made things worse by treating you as the one with the problem when you complain or are off sick?

 

I think that it might be difficult for you to return to work at the same place after this, but you might be able to settle on a compromise agreement. Its probably the case that you wouldn't want to return anyway, and if you feel that the situation could cause more harm to your health if you stayed than if you left, I would suggest trying to negotiate an exit.

 

Remember though that what has happened is in no way your fault, its the fault of the people who have been bullying and harassing you. And have a think before you move away from the city you live in - this type of situation in the workplace is thankfully rare and not everyone behaves like the people at your current employer.

 

I hope that you find another position and that your health recovers. In situations similar to what you've been through, I'd personally like to see the law allow your boss to be taken to court on criminal charges for this as it appears has either negligently or deliberately damaged your health. At the very least, he needs to be properly trained in recognising stress and the impact it can have on people.

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What caused the original stress / depression that resulted in you going off sick? Was it work related or related to your personal "complicated" life?

 

Personally I think the original reason is the most important.

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mm the reason is and isn't important. It isn't for them letting you go. It is for raising an industrial injury claim against them later. But that is going to be tough if you have not formally complained and given them a chance to fix it.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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mm the reason is and isn't important. It isn't for them letting you go. It is for raising an industrial injury claim against them later. But that is going to be tough if you have not formally complained and given them a chance to fix it.

 

the boss knows, but i asked him not to do anything because not long after the problem started with facebook, i was alienated by quite a few people i work with, if i had taken it further i would have been alienated even more.

each time i go into the office i am told i am a grass, even though i have not said anything about anyone, they are just paranoid. i went for an interview for promotion about 6 months after i started and i was smartly dressed, i was accused of being a spy from the depot, here to weed out the bad guys...i so wish that were true!! lol

every day it is like going out into the playground, management see it happening, so does the union, but no one does anything.

i got an email from my boss yesterday morning, saying that there would be a union rep there, but, the rep was someone who saw everything that went on facebook and in the depot, and never did anything to try and stop it, everything that goes on in the office ends up out in the playground, so there is no confidentiality, i could not say anything about anyone if i wanted to.

i replied to the boss requesting a different union rep, and that as i hadnt even had 24 hours notice and i was chased down in the street, i asked him to reply before 930am, which would give me time to walk to work if this was sorted out, i never got a reply. so now i have no idea where i stand.

the email i sent him a few months back, which says a lot of stuff, but not everything, i am considering sending it to HR along with some more info about this, because since that email was written, more stuff happened, even though i have not been in work.

anyways...i do go on and on...

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to be fair, getting a union rep there is your job, not your bosses, and you talk to your union to arrange it.

 

don't send stuff "for info" to HR. Send stuff with a clear statement of what you want done abut it and why, in summary (no rambling or opinions :-) )

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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im curious as to what is the correct way of informing you of a meeting.

i know it isnt being chased down in the street by the admin, without 24 hours notice.

do you have to be informed by letter, with maybe 7 days notice? is this the correct way? or is it irrelevant?

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investigatory - any way at all

disciplinary/attendance - in writing with reasonable notice advising purpose of meeting and right to be accompanied

welfare meeting - any way at al

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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