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Disciplinary while off work from work related stress

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Hi there first time posting so please be gentle!

 

I’ve worked for my current company for 10 years now and have a really good non sickness record and have never been in any disciplinary trouble.

 

However on 27th April my employer stated and investigation into me and the team I was leading, after 2 investigation hearings I was suspended on 8th May.

The company suspension policy recommends 5 working days suspension however I was suspended a lot longer, finally on the 17 working day The stress got to much for me and contacted HR and asked them for an update, 2 days later I got an invite to a disciplinary.

 

The day before my disciplinary I finally cracked and called the sick line with work related stress and got into my doctors a few days later who signed me off for 2 weeks.

 

My employer emailed me to ask if they could contact me yesterday and that call never came despite me looking at my phone all night however they have called tonight.

 

My emplyer asked how I was but then quickly started to put pressure on me by wanting to know when I would be fit to attend the disciplinary,

I stated I have the doctors tomorrow and I would keep him updated as per the absence policy which I have followed to the T but stated I didn’t feel mentally ready at the moment to even look at the evidence against me and I felt I needed to be in a better state of mind to fight this accusation (Gross misconduct charge).

 

I want to fight this and don’t want it dragging on any longer than need be but I have only been off sick less than 2 weeks surely they can’t be pressuring me like this without even getting a occupational health report on me?

 

Sorry for going on but my questions are.

 

1) Can I be dismissed while off with GP’s note through work related stress?

 

2) Has my employer acted reasonable in all of this, given the amount of stress it has put on me?

 

Many thanks

Bob

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Hello and welcome to CAG. I'm sorry to hear you're having problems.

 

 

People should be along later with advice for you.

 

 

Best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi,

Feel for you as it’s not a very nice situation.

They have stated gross misconduct for failing to follow a company policy however I have never signed this company policy in question.

 

Yes I’ve had 3 investigation meetings twice while still at work and one while suspended, I’ve cooperated at every stage of this and have provided evidence to my innocence however I feel they are trying to force me out or hoping I would resign hence why I was suspended for so long

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Hmmm very difficult to suggest what to do - Are you part of a union?

The other guys will help but I would keep all your evidence and back it up. If youve been there as long as you have then potentially you can look at Employment Tribunal but there is no guarantee it would work for you.

 

ACAS might be an option worth reading about.


**Fko-Filee**

Receptaculum Ignis

 

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Thanks for help :)

Not part of a union however I might need to look into it.

Apart from the one investigation meeting while suspended and it’s been recorded in the minutes multiple times that this was causing a lot of stress for me have my company contacted me to even ask about my health, the fact I had to contact them for an update shows how little the company thinks of there employees

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What's the size of the organisation? Not asking you to name 😀

 

(How many employees?)

 

Also to add I know how you feel and can understand work related stress how it would affect you 😀

Try not to be let it get to you (Easier said than done)

 

Do you work in a market area where you can could find a job elsewhere?


**Fko-Filee**

Receptaculum Ignis

 

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Overall size of the company is 10,000 with about 500 on my site.

Yes I’m lucky in my area has one of the lowest unemployment rate in the country and quite often companies have to look for staff from over 30 miles away to employe, So getting another job won’t be an issue however finding one as good pay as this would be but I want to fight this as I’m innocent.

 

Hope things work out for you too Fkofilee know it feels like your up a certain creek without a paddle at times!

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I'm slightly confused- you did it or you didn't. Whether you signed the policy really has no bearing on it. How we might advise you depends heavily on whether you did it or not, and what you supposedly did.

 

They're is no point joining a union now. You can't buy insurance once the house has started burning. No union would represent you at this stage in proceedings.

 

In relation to your questions:

 

Yes, you can be dismissed whilst off sick. I do appreciate your position. Innocent or not, these things are stressful. But going off sick with stress in the face of a disciplinary is classic. Everyone and their uncle does it to play for time being paid before they get sacked. So employers have little sympathy for people who do this, and it adds little credence in tribunals considerations, because they know it too. Broadly, there is only one way to relieve stress - get it over with. It won't get better with this hanging over you, it will get worse. Believe me, I am positive. Which brings us back to - did you do it and what is your defence?

 

I can see nothing unreasonable in any of the employers actions. Disciplinary procedures usually read as an aspiration as too the amount of time it takes, but seriously, 5 working days is ridiculously short in fact, and I can't think of any company who would think they could conduct even a simple investigation in that period of time. This probably won't make you feel any better, but for gross misconduct, weeks, possibly several, is not unusual; and months is not uncommon either.

 

You can't stop it dragging on, and also fight it, and be signed off sick. You are asking for diametrically opposed things.

 

And I think you need to be realistic. Your are complaining that you've only been off sick for two weeks, but at the same time they haven't contacted you to see how you are; but you are saying that you are too sick to discuss the alleged misconduct with them, and they have to leave you alone until you are fit to defend yourself; but they also asked you how you were yesterday! The employer will, right now, be taking legal advice if they haven't already. They will be watching their every move. Nobody is going to talk to you because that risks them being open to allegations of bullying or harassment. Every discussion, every piece of communication is going to be monitored and managed. And scrupulously lawful if they can manage that.

 

So where does that leave you? If you want to fight this, sorry but I'm going to be blunt - you need to get yourself back fit for work and you need to do it now. I'm not insensitive, despite how that might sound, but I have been here hundreds if not thousands of times. The longer you are off, the less likely it is that you will ever go back, and the sicker you will become until it eats into you.

 

If you are not going to go back, then now is the time to offer your resignation, preferably in return for the allegations being dropped and a clean or neutral reference. Whether they will entertain that will depend on several factors, including what they think you have done, the culture of organisation, and whether they are preferring to eradicate risk to themselves in legal terms.

 

What would you prefer to do?

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HI Bob - Currently going through this myself with my place...

You Say Gross Misconduct however what have they put it as?

 

Have they completed an investigatory meeting with you?

 

Sorry to hear that. I hope you are in a union? If you need any advice please feel that you can ask.

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