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Hi there!

 

I'm really concerned because I received a letter for a disciplinary meeting next week, reason: absence from work and no attendance for a meeting on the 11. May 2014.

 

I've been off sick since April '14 and always called in to inform them about my sick note and sent it on the same day via post. On the 5th May the assistant manager (managers brother) called me to arrange a meeting to "come back to work". I had an accident and because of my hip pain, I'm not able to sit in a car for long (the company is around 20-25mins away). I told him, that I cannot attend a meeting at the company, but we could discuss this over the phone. The assistant manager declined my idea and wanted to speak to the manager again.

 

I never received a call again and because my sick not is probably extending I thought it would be fine as long as the manager wouldn't contact me.

 

After I received the letter I called the company to explain that I don't agree with "absence from work" and tried to explain the previous phone call, but the assistant manager (managers wife) said "you can discuss this with the manager next week" and "if you cannot attend, you may be dismissed"

 

Would this be a unfair dismissal because I'm off sick and cannot attend? Besides that the reason is absolute nonsense?

I'm still in probation period, does this matter?

 

What should I do?

 

I feel a bit lost now.

 

Thank you very much for any advice!

 

Edit:

If it comes to the worse and I get dismissed from work, will our benefits be affected? My partner is receiving ESA, I send my SSP1 form yesterday to get paid for my sick days.. so am I claim ESA too as long as the sick note lasts?)

Edited by Lebleuet
another question

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Hello there.

 

You've posted in the media section which isn't designed for advice. I'll move this to the employment forum for you and leave a short term redirect for you to follow.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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@honeybee13: sorry about that and thank you for moving it!

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Not a problem, I'm just trying to help you get replies about your problem. :)

 

You need to ask your questions about benefits on our benefits forum, the guys here may not know about that side of things.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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thank you very much, I'll write another post in the benefit forum!

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From what you have said I feel that your biggest problem is your length of service. For any employee it would be true that you can quite lawfully be dismissed whilst off sick, for longer serving members of staff it would have to be carried out through a proper procedure - in accordance with a formal policy which follows clearly defined stages. If unable to attend a formal hearing into the absences, and if no reasonable alternative was possible, then in theory the meeting can be held in the employee's absence. The procedure would normally set goals for improvement or a timetable for return to work, ideally based on medical evidence and a doctor's report if necessary, and might result in various stages of warning leading eventually to dismissal.

 

This can happen whether or not the employee provides fit notes to cover the period of absence and would normally be considered dismissal on grounds of capability - the inability of the employee to fulfil their contract where the absence is covered by a fit note, or for misconduct where the employee has gone AWOL.

 

In the case of an employee with less than two years service however, the employer can quite legitimately skip some or all of the steps described above. You can be summarily dismissed for unauthorised absence, dismissed for capability or simply 'let go' having been deemed unsuitable during a period of probation. The employee has no legal recourse unless it can be proven that the dismissal was for a protected reason - age, race, religion, sex etc.

 

In your position I would certainly be looking at any possible means of either getting to the meeting, and if needs be discussing some sort of phased return to work, or trying to arrange a mutually convenient place to meet away from the employer's premises, because it does sound as though they are unwilling to allow you any more time off, and the fact is that as they are running a business, they would feel justified in replacing you if needs be.

 

You mention an accident - was this a work-related incident? How long exactly have you worked there?

 

I am not a benefits specialist but I would imagine that benefits would not be a problem since you would not be making yourself unemployed.


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@ Sidewinder

thank you very much for your detailed answer! I have to agree that the length of my employment is the biggest problem and I understand my employers view. I started March '14 and was off sick since April '14. The accident wasn't in work, but I have to be honest that I always had problems with my hip (surgeries etc) and fell down the stairs on this hip again. Probably I should never start this job, but after looking for a job for 4 months I had to do something. I would like to work again, but unfortunately I don't know when I'm fit for work again.

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Don't take this the wrong way but you've managed less than 50% attendance in two months since starting, your employer is actually being more careful than they ever need to be, 99 out of 100 would have just finished you without even asking you to attend a hearing. I'd be very surprised if they didn't dismiss you pretty quickly now.

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Don't take this the wrong way but you've managed less than 50% attendance in two months since starting, your employer is actually being more careful than they ever need to be, 99 out of 100 would have just finished you without even asking you to attend a hearing. I'd be very surprised if they didn't dismiss you pretty quickly now.

 

No worries, I absolutely understand this. I was wondering as well why they didn't dismiss me earlier.

It's only a speculation but I think there was something wrong with the phone call on the 5th May and that the managers brother never told my manager that I cannot attend the meeting, but would like discuss it over the phone -> I never had a phone call from the manager and now they want the disciplinary meeting because I didn't attend the meeting?

 

I will try to contact my employer again and hope that I can reach the manager directly.

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