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In my workplace the Bradford point scheme is being used to bully harrass and discipline workers who are genuinly ill..

 

My attendance is good but after my recent 1week stay in hospital I was asked for a sick note and then interviewed and warned about Bradford points.. If I am ill again do I stay off of work or run the risk of disciplinary action.

 

A co worker was involved in a car crash and due to time off work over it has been disciplined.

 

another co worker had mouth/throat cancer and due to a few spells off of work over it is now on a 6month verbal warning..

 

Can this be legal ?

 

Geeg22

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Sickness can be viewed very unfairly and harshly at times.

 

A friend of mine had a nervous breakdown because of work and then made a Tribunal claim but a month after the time span.

 

Despite his illness, and proof of it, the Tribunal still struck out his claim as out of time!

 

Incredible.

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I have no idea about bradford points but i do know that you shouldn't be disciplined for taking time off while you are sick if you have a sick note. If you fall sick again i'd go see the doctor, take time off and see what they say.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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I agree with Jenschnifer that you sholdnt be disciplined while signed off as sick/ unfit for work.

 

 

your employers will probably be entitled to conduct a disciplinary hearing if you are absent from work regulary and they can show that there is a pattern to your absense. ie you take a friday night off every week and you are seen out with your friends on that night. however if you are genuinely ill and signed off on a Form Med 3 ( sick note) from your doctor then your employers should not discipline you nor should they threaten you with disciplinary action.

 

it may be a good idea to check the acas website at Acas - Home as they have information on this type of issue and how you and your employers should deal with it and your rights at work.

 

your employers actions appear totally unreasonable and it would appear based upon the info you have provided that should they dismiss you for being sick then you would have a strong claim at an employment tribunal

 

again i would check with acas

regards

paul

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I have no idea about bradford points but i do know that you shouldn't be disciplined for taking time off while you are sick if you have a sick note. If you fall sick again i'd go see the doctor, take time off and see what they say.

 

Not as clear cut as that I'm afraid.

 

A former colleague of mine used to do a lot of 'dangerous' sports in his spare time-rock climbing, pot holeing etc. Nothing to do with work.

 

However, as he was off sick a number of times, due to falls or whatever, and had doctor's notes, he was warned several times by his employer that his absences were interfering with his work and eventually they sacked him.

He got advice from a lawyer about a claim and was told he had no reasonable chance of success.

 

Employment law is never what it appears.

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Hi, what is the "Bradford point" Scheme?

 

i assume that it is a recording system which records sickness, is this correct?.

 

regards

paul

Yeah Bradford point scheme was designed to evaluate who is worth keeping if u were to make redundancies.. However many companies now use it to discipline employees who are off sick

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However, as he was off sick a number of times, due to falls or whatever, and had doctor's notes, he was warned several times by his employer that his absences were interfering with his work and eventually they sacked him.

He got advice from a lawyer about a claim and was told he had no reasonable chance of success.

 

Employment law is never what it appears.

 

That is true but the OP says that there was good attendance prior to the stay in hospital.

Any posts submitted here on the Consumer Action Group under the user name GlasweJen may not necessarily be the view of the poster, CAG or indeed any normal person.

 

I've become addicted to green blobs (I have 2 now) so feel free to tip my scales if I ever make sense.;-)

 

 

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Not as clear cut as that I'm afraid.

 

A former colleague of mine used to do a lot of 'dangerous' sports in his spare time-rock climbing, pot holeing etc. Nothing to do with work.

 

However, as he was off sick a number of times, due to falls or whatever, and had doctor's notes, he was warned several times by his employer that his absences were interfering with his work and eventually they sacked him.

He got advice from a lawyer about a claim and was told he had no reasonable chance of success.

 

Employment law is never what it appears.

thanks for your reply it helps to get other views

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Not as clear cut as that I'm afraid.

 

A former colleague of mine used to do a lot of 'dangerous' sports in his spare time-rock climbing, pot holeing etc. Nothing to do with work.

 

However, as he was off sick a number of times, due to falls or whatever, and had doctor's notes, he was warned several times by his employer that his absences were interfering with his work and eventually they sacked him.

He got advice from a lawyer about a claim and was told he had no reasonable chance of success.

 

Employment law is never what it appears.

thats true.. but at least ive had a whine lol

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That is true but the OP says that there was good attendance prior to the stay in hospital.

 

I see your point but it could also be just one off too depending on the injury and the job.

 

A delivery driver may have a serious injury outside of work where he loses a leg. Is it fair for that employer to then sack him?

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I see your point but it could also be just one off too depending on the injury and the job.

 

A delivery driver may have a serious injury outside of work where he loses a leg. Is it fair for that employer to then sack him?

 

 

yes, so long as the employer explores all other options for an alternate position first then it would be reasonable. the situation as described by geeg22 as it stands it would be unfair for the employer to dismiss or discipline based upon what we have been told at present

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Hi There

 

My opinion FWIW regarding the colleague to engaged in dangerous sports.

 

When you take part in dangerous sports YOU are making the decision to take part. Therefore if you break a leg or end up in hospital - you were the one that made the decision and therefore YOU are responsible for your actions.

 

However, sickness generally is unavoidable ie how can somebody know if they are going to get sick? That is a chance that the company takes when they employ someone. Using this type of system when illness is genuine is appalling.

 

If you are not fit to work and will never be fit to work then the employer and the employee should come to a decision together. However if you are placed in hospital due to your own actions and this happens continuously then I would say that your employer has a right to sack you if you refuse to change.

 

As I said, my opinion FWIW.

 

Gemspan

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Another point worth mentioning is the Duty of Care.

 

an Employer has a clear duty of care to their employees in ensuring that their actions (or lack of actions) do not have a detrimental effect on them. (there is significant case law on this)

 

in this case it is fair to say that the employers actions in disciplining or threatening to discipline an employee who has been unwell could breach that duty as it is likely to cause stress

 

equally an employee has a Duty of Care to the employer so therefore an employee who is not fit for work should not attend work as they would too be breaching that duty, especially if they had an accident at work as a direct result of them being unfit

 

 

just some thing else to ponder

 

regards

Paul

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In my workplace the Bradford point scheme is being used to bully harrass and discipline workers who are genuinly ill..

 

The Bradford points system is archaic and very few companies use it still. It was set up by Bradford city council funny enough in the 80`s. To catch the Monday morning gang and works well for that purpose. However many companies either do not understand the system or miss use it.

 

My attendance is good but after my recent 1week stay in hospital I was asked for a sick note and then interviewed and warned about Bradford points.. If I am ill again do I stay off of work or run the risk of disciplinary action.

 

Ask to see the companies policy on sickness, ask to have the Bradford points explained to you. Ask how many points triggers the sickness policy.

 

Were you offered the chance of appeal? All companies should have an appeal system in place so genuinely ill staff are not penalized.

 

You say you had a stay in hospital, in your case any company should remove the points for that illness. If you do not have an appeal the put a grievance note into management and raise the point that you have had good attendance before your stay in hospital and should not be penalized for being genuinely ill.

 

If they will not remove the points or letter of warning then you have a right to escalate the grievance to higher management.............do so!!

A co worker was involved in a car crash and due to time off work over it has been disciplined.

 

 

another co worker had mouth/throat cancer and due to a few spells off of work over it is now on a 6month verbal warning..

 

Same goes for your co workers BUT ONLY if the company never offered a right to appeal the warnings.............if thats the case then they should also raise a grievance letter.

 

Can this be legal ?

Yes it is legal to use and yes a company could sack someone because of this system.Mind i have defended many guys threatened with dismissal under Bradford points and in every case the company has given them one more chance. Its rocky ground if ever taken to a tribunal, no ones really sure who is right and wrong here.

 

Most companies have stopped using the system ( Bradford city council too ) because of its unfair trigger point and the fact it makes lots of extra work to manage the system.I bet i could even name the company you work for because i believe they are the only large company still using it in the UK.

 

 

Geeg22

 

Hope this helps

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Off topic but here goes.........There seems to be a misconception that you can not or should not be disciplined or sacked for being ill.

 

This is not the case, even with a sick note a company can discipline or fire you if your level of sickness is too great.

 

A sick note is ONLY an explanation of why you are not in work and NOT a right to time off work.

 

Yes a company does have a duty of care and 99% of companies do not what ill people at work where they might be a Hazard. However if a persons level of illness gets to a point that its detrimental to the company they most defiantly have to right to dismiss you.

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Hi there

 

Yes, I completely agree but ethical companies would go down a route of interviews etc., would they not? It would take some time for a person to be sacked in normal circumstances if the illness were genuine, would it not?

 

Kind regards

Gemspan

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Yes indeed but there is no hard and fast rule on how much sickness a person has before a company will dismiss.

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Well for a start any illness you have off due to industrial injury can really be as long as you like. Any company that disciplines someone ill to injury of other done at work is asking for trouble.

 

 

Someone really should define "reasonable".................it gets misused far too much !

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work for a large company (I wonder if it's the same cal37?!) and it's part of my job as a supervisor to record attendance/absence and conduct interviews with those returning to work.

 

The points system was only introduced where I work this year, and it's a useful tool to remind people that we are trying to be fair, but we have to ensure people don't take the mickey.

 

It's not fair on the rest of the team if the same person always has Sunday off (bag lost, broken window, car broke down, overslept and missed alarm etc.) or if another has family problems and always blame them for their absence, but the word from other departments' staff who know this person is that there is nothing wrong with their family and it's a way of trying to beat the system.

 

On the other hand, we have someone who has a terminal illness and another who has confessed to being an alcoholic.

 

We help where we can and we do listen to genuine cases (no I'm not a doctor and if someone has a sicknote then it's usually a case of No Further Action), we offer referals to the company medical staff and can transfer staff between shifts/departments if it helps with transport issues or childcare problems or personal issues.

 

What we have to do though is treat people fairly, no more than we expect to be treated ourselves, so if people have genuine issues then of course it's not straight down the disciplinary path, but for people who constantly abuse their colleagues with the extra workload, then the Bradford points system is an easy way to show people how obvious they are being at taking the mickey!!!

 

Anyway, off to bed as early start :(

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Having implemented Bradford factor scoring to absences in our company a couple of years ago it has really made a difference to casual and persistent absenteeism, but it does have to be applied evenly and transparently.

 

The whole point is that it is triggered not by length of absence, but by the frequency of absence. A worker sick for one period of three weeks during a period will score 1 (for the number of absences) x 1 (multiplied by itself) x 15 (total number of working days absent over previous 52 weeks) = 15 points. A colleague taking the same number of days off but in 5 separate periods each of three days (not enough to need a sick note) would be 5 x 5 x 15 = 375 points.

 

By setting a reasonable threshold at which the Bradford factor will trigger an informal discussion as to why that employee's absences have increased in frequency this can have benefits on both sides. From the employer's point of view, it has the effect of the worker knowing that absence is monitored and after all it is only a slight sniffle and not worth taking a sickie. Alternatively, the employer might not know that for example Joe Smith is having problems at work (or indeed at home) and action can be taken to improve his working conditions, (or cut him a little slack while he sorts things out at home). It is therefore an opportunity to establish reasons for absence, and for a caring employer to use this information appropriately. It is, of course, also possible that Joe Smith likes a drink on a Sunday and has phoned in sick on several Monday mornings.

 

'Reasonable' in this situation can only be defined as the average absentee rate for the company concerned. In the first instance the employee should have an informal discussion to discuss the level of absence and to provide an opportunity to disclose any reason which may have led to the increased score. The employee should be set an improvement target, which could involve retraining if it is felt that lack of job satisfaction has led to all or part of the problem. If improvements are not made, with no explanation on the part of the employee then the process is escalated ultimately to the company's disciplinary procedure.

 

A caring employer will use such a scoring system sensibly - certainly not for bullying or harassing staff with genuine reasons for absence. At the end of the day however, there is a business to run and persistent absenteeism can cause a major problem. However caring the employer (and I know well that some are not at all so) there is no obligation to be sympathetic at all costs. Providing that it is done through correct procedure, even staff on long term sick can be dismissed.

 

In the OP's case, it may sound extremely harsh that the colleague with cancer has received a warning, and that the OP himself has been warned that even though the absence was genuine, there may be disciplinary action in the event of future days off work sick, but this sounds like fairly even handed treatment. Put another way, suppose that the the colleague who had a car crash, has a week off now, then another couple of odd days for hospital follow ups etc but escapes an attendance review for his time off work. Fair enough perhaps as it is in a relatively short period of time. The colleague who has cancer however is having longer and longer spells of absence, work has had to be covered on overtime, and the illness is now costing the company money so they instigate disciplinary proceedings and eventually dismiss the worker. Once again, harsh as it is everybody can understand the employer's position. Suppose that the colleague with cancer is female though, and knows that the car crash victim was never even spoken to about his absence? This opens the door to an allegation of discrimination.

 

It is the best way we have yet found to make sure that everybody is treated equally. There can be no argument for discretion as inevitably at some point one person's discretion becomes another person's discrimination, and sadly can be expensive in a tribunal!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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As the HR manager in a medium sized organisation (250 employees)I fought to have the Bradford Factor removed - we operate on a case by case basis for managing sickness absence. Any long spells of genuine sickness i.e. hospitalisation, substance dependency or mental health are treated individually and with sympathy. The persistent latecomers and "monday morning hangover's" are easily identifiable and dealt with appropriately. We also have an Occupational Health service nurse who screens all employees regularly and offers a confidential service to those who need it.

 

The Braford Factor is an easy way for HR departments to overlook the root cause of absence - they only look at the numbers and react accordingly!

 

Sickness absence should be managed on a case by case basis while still adhering to dicipilinary policies.

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As the HR manager in a medium sized organisation (250 employees)I fought to have the Bradford Factor removed - we operate on a case by case basis for managing sickness absence. Any long spells of genuine sickness i.e. hospitalisation, substance dependency or mental health are treated individually and with sympathy. The persistent latecomers and "monday morning hangover's" are easily identifiable and dealt with appropriately. We also have an Occupational Health service nurse who screens all employees regularly and offers a confidential service to those who need it.

 

The Braford Factor is an easy way for HR departments to overlook the root cause of absence - they only look at the numbers and react accordingly!

 

Sickness absence should be managed on a case by case basis while still adhering to dicipilinary policies.

 

I fully appreciate that it is possible to overlook root causes for absence, which is precisely why we brought in Bradford on the recommendation of ACAS following a training course held by them. It was made clear that any system which relies on management discretion was a fast track to a discrimination case. Staff are still treated with sympathy and consideration is given on a case by case basis whether esacalation is appropriate, but the benchmarking allows us to more easily identify areas of concern. Granted though it can be relied on in some organisations as the be all and end all and this could lead to problems. In our organisation however, it works far better than the old system whereby individual line managers held responsibility for measurement and management of absence. This was creating a problem whereby some staff were getting away with sickies where others with more genuine reasons for absence were not - possibly a side effect of being a multi-site operation with no centralised HR management at that time.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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