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employers support during long term absence


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I am after advice on what I should expect from my employer and what they should expect from me.

 

I do not wish to name my employer or the occupational health provider as anyone at my employers who may come across this forum would easily be able to identify who I am and I wish to avoid aggravating the situation by bringing the name of my employer into disrepute.

 

The basics of the issue are that approximately three months ago I was the victim of a road rage attack that left me with damage to my sight in one eye. Part of the damage is permanent but is unlikely to cause serious long term issues with work and the remaining damage should in theory settle although it is currently not responding to treatment and is preventing me working.

 

I was off work initially for a few weeks and then decided I did not like being off and wanted to return so I could establish a sense of normality after the attack. Before returning I voluntarily went into work and met with my manager to request a few simple adjustments were made to enable me to return. These were simply things such as adjustment to light level at my desk and extra breaks from screen use. It should be noted we are a paper less office so screen work makes up 100% of my work for 7-8 hours a day. It was agreed that these adjustments were reasonable and would be put in place. During this meeting I was told that my portfolio of work had been kept up to date in my absence.

 

I returned the following week at the agreed time to find the adjustments had not been made and my work had been very badly managed in my absence resulting in me having to spend two days just sorting out the mess that had been made of my work. I was mostly ignored by my manager for the first 24 hours then he approached me to advise that they were still in discussion with HR about making the adjustments. A few days later I was informed they would only make adjustments if instructed to do so by my gp in writing. At the same time they pushed my work back up to the full level I had been doing before the attack making it impossible to keep up with my work whilst working at a reduced capacity caused by my injury.

 

The next day I contact my GP and booked the next available appointment, which was a week away. Working without the required adjustments had by this time caused my vision to deteriorate to a point where I could not use a screen for more than an hour. I again approached the management to request the adjustments be made now with the GP letter to follow. At this point I was told that as the attack happened outside of work what did I expect work to do for me. I was also told that it was a high-pressure job and if I could not cope I should go home. I again stated I did not wish to take time off and that with reasonable adjustments I could try and continue working. The management again refused to make adjustments and ordered me to self certificate sick leave until my doctors appointment.

 

After leaving the office I contacted the HR department directly and explained the situation and requested that they speak with the local management to establish what could be done in assisting me back to work. They subsequently involved an outside occupational health company who contacted me for consent forms to obtain my medical records. I returned these forms a month ago but I have heard nothing further from HR or occupational health and when I tried to contact Occupational Health directly they refused to speak to me.

 

When I attended my GP I was signed off and referred back to the eye hospital for further treatment. Now two months later there is no change as the eye hospital are trying to establish the full extent of the damage to my eye and how best to treat it and I am still unable to work several months on.

 

I have had no contact from my employers to check on my progress or to offer any support which has left me feeling very let down and isolated. I have made a point of calling in every couple of weeks to update them and remind them that I want to work with them to find a solution to enable me to return to work as quickly as possible.

 

Whilst I am currently being paid in full under the terms of my contract this will end soon at which point I will not have sufficient funds to live on with a family to support and a mortgage to pay which is causing a great deal of worry.

 

The employer is a large company employing in excess of 10k people globally with the majority being in the UK. I have been employed by them for over a decade. In the last 6 years I had only taken 2 days off sick prior to the attack. I have never been disciplined for anything and my performance is always graded as above expected level.

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Those people who are likely able to advise will look in on you later in the day after they have finished their day jobs. :)

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1. union member?

2. any adjustments you can make yourself to help eg tinted glasses?

3. are you willing to submit a formal grievance?

 

at 10k employees they have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments and the bar for "reasonable" is quite high for them!

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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Thanks for the quick responses.

 

I am not a union member.

 

The main issue appears to be an increased sensitivity to bright light which causes my vision to go very blurred in one eye making it impossible to follow the text on the screen. I have tried reducing the screen brightness which helped but the main thing I requested to try and help was to turn off one light directly above my desk which would not have affected any other staff. Other people who suffer from Migraines have had this done in the past which is why the refusal came as a surprise.

 

I am activily trying to avoid a formal grievance as I still need to work with the management once the dust has settled on this incident. I have also seen from other peoples experiences that formal grievances are not handled well in the office and often result in poor treatment of the person complaining later on.

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I am afraid if you aren;t willing to complain formally, and management aren't willing to talk to you, you have very few options.

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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if you main issue is the lighting then i suggest you read hsg38 (lighting at work)

 

very boring but that is the document which will help if you need to raise a grievance

 

also as you have access to a pc (by the fact of your post here) play around with the settings at home and learn how you can change the lighting and also screen colours of the software you are sat in front of (e.g outlook, word, excel etc.)

 

Then you'll know what to do at work

 

Not only may it help you resolve these issues but it shows you have not just sat back and expected your employer to sort it out for you (this is how they often see it)

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Windows has a high contract mode, which makes the screen black on white. This perhaps could make screen viewing easier. To turn this on press left ALT, left CTRL and print screen simultaneously. To turn this off, repeat the action.

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