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The UKFibromyalgia Forums • View topic - Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.



Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Moderators: perseus, *Lisa*, FluppyPuffy

Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby paulfoel » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:33 am

This really does defy believe - especially so since wifes employer is the NHS.

Wife has been off with fibro now for about 4 months. Meeting with manager. Hes how it went:-

Manager: So when are you coming back?
Wife: I don't know yet. Im still seeing GP and consultant so we'll see how it goes.
Manager: So are you ever coming back?
Wife: I can't predict yet. We'll see how things go.

Then wife says payroll tell me Im half pay soon but I can use accrued annual leave to cover this but remain on sick leave. Its in the trusts sickness policy.

Manager: I can't let you do that.
Wife: Its in the sickness policy.
Manager: I've got people here working hard whilst your on the sick and they can't have leave whenever they want. I'll only do this is you give me a plan of when you're coming back.

Honestly, you couldn't make it up. As you can imagine, wife is even more stressed today which, as you all know, does not help matters. Im so annoyed.

Needless to say next time, any sickness meetings will be held with union rep and HR rep in attendance!
Last edited by paulfoel on Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby Ali170 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:09 pm

Hi love,
How disgraceful, this is a short reply as I'm going out, but yes, never go into a meeting like this without representation, they have a duty of care towards your wife, and cannot speak to her like this, I would complain about this individual to their line manager, HR and the union.
I hope she gets to the point where she can return to work, maybe on reduced duties, which they are duty bound to offer her, in the meantime, wish her luck from me.
Take care, stay strong, xxx
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby LibbyWick » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:27 pm

Totally outrageous! Possibly even unlawful. Full on bullying, no borderline about it. I think your wife needs to take this further. Presumably she has a formal diagnosis and can produce written proof. I'd suggest a chat with her GP (who could do a letter explaining the condition) a and visit to Citizen's Advice and/or a phone call to Brian Barr solicitors. Good luck to you both.
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby u37mr » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:49 pm

Hi, i worked for the nhs and have fibromyalgia . Your wife needs to get in touch with occupational health and get a copy of the capability policy. I had about 2 years of sickness absence and throughout that time it was managed by occ health.
Am afraid to say it but management are generally terrible but they have to, by law work to thr capability policy. HR should be doing all they can for her too.
i ended up leaving on grounds of ill health but not before trying every feasible option i.e reduced hours/admin duties etc. They should even be able to offer redeployment .
if they dont follow the capability policy then they dont have a leg to stand onlegally should you wish to take them to court .
I'm really sorry your wifes manager is useless, i was lucky enough to have one that cared but there are options for her.
Try the nss website and look up all the hr policies related to this. Hope that helps xx
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby paulfoel » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:54 pm

Thanks all.

This was her direct manager by the way. Shes had previous meetings with the departmental manager (her managers manager) and shes just as bad but knows what she can and can't say (she just hints).

Currently waiting for Occ Health to get involved (huge waiting list for this). In terms of documented proof, shes been under consultant who works for the same NHS trust so all they've got to do is ask him! Its all cut and dried in terms of diagnosis too....

Not the first time shes had this sort of treatment from manager. She was hospitalised twice when pregnant a few years ago in the hospital where she worked. Manager did not even bother to walk two flights of stairs to come and see her. But waited until she was out of hospital two days and then phoned to ask, so when are you coming back then?

Im sure they think the law does not apply to them and they have special permission to treat staff as they see fit.
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby Zia2014 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Hi,

Okay, I worked in HR in the NHS for years and dealt with long term sickness and ill health retirement. Unfortunately the NHS are one of the worst employers I've worked for in regards to this, what a massive irony.

Apologies for the fragmented reply but not thinking totally straight atm.

Do you know if ill health retirement has been considered? HR would need to get a quote from the pensions department, should take a week or two (from memory). That would be useful in order for you both to consider what to do. Have HR spoken to your wife at all or is it all through the manager?

Wife needs to say she can't consider what a phased return or other reasonable adjustments would be needed until such time as she has been reviewed by Occ Health. Ask HR to communicate with wife directly on this one.

The manager sounds typical I'm afraid, they are under huge pressure to reduce sickness and some are better than others. They probably haven't read the sickness policy, my last Trust's ran to over 100 pages :crazy:

I suspect she gets 6 months full and 6 months half pay, Section 14 of this: http://www.nhsemployers.org/~/media/Emp ... ook_fb.pdf

Should help, although it depends whether her Trust has chosen to do their own thing regarding sickness. That should be in her contract under the relevant section or on her Trust website (HR bit). Might be worth seeing if there is a "fast track" process near you, I admit I know nothing of those so that must be fairly new.

"After investigation, consultation and consideration of other alternative posts, and where there is no reasonable prospect of the employee returning to work, employers will have the option to terminate employment before the employee has reached the end of the contractual paid sick absence period..."

This is why the manager is pushing, they need to make decisions and have a minimum number of meetings with her before the end of the year, otherwise full pay is re-instated. That rarely if ever happens, but they are on a ticking clock iyswim. If your wife can given some indication she MIGHT be ABLE to return if they consider reduced hours, compressed hours, etc etc (all within the flexible working policy, so look that up too) then that would buy her some time and less aggro.

It doesn't say about the use of annual leave during a phased return although we did it many times, as did I once! So that would be within the local policy.

Get her union rep on this and get them to get all these policies. They will be dealing with numerous cases and won't know it's your wife that wants to read them all.

Oh also on the Agenda for Change link check out section 36. It's not the norm but it might be worth your wife considering taking a career break - gives her a rest and chance for diagnosis, treatment etc, plus keeps her on the books and then if she does get better she can return. If not she can resign, although no ill health retirement. It is unpaid as well.

Anyway hope that is of some use, sorry it is all over the place but hope it helps. Let me know if you have any questions/PM me :)
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby paulfoel » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:50 pm

Thanks Zia for the great advice.
Yes she is on 6 months full then 6 months half pay.

Its been 5 months now so half-pay starts soon. It must be a local policy thing but there is definitely the facility to use up your leave then go back on the sick if you know what I mean and it all counts as just the same sickness. So you're still off just on leave so getting full pay for a bit and it delays half pay. Seems like a good idea to me because as shes on sick shes still accruing leave so its got to be used at some point but it sounds like manager hasn't read this.

In terms of going back, yes she wants to speak to Occ Health. Shes very keen on going back (or at least trying) on reduced hours in a different job. Unfortunately, her current job involves lots of being on her feet etc so shes resigned to this fact but there are plenty of jobs a bit slower paced she could do.

BTW - any idea what minumum meetings is? they've been pushing for one a month which seems a lot.
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby Zia2014 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 5:13 pm

Yeah as far as I remember (it was a few years ago now), we allowed this, but it was at the discretion of the local trusts I think. This is from NHS Employers:

http://www.nhsemployers.org/your-workfo ... sickness#7

Section 7 being particularly relevant, but not binding in any way. The alternative is she would either take it on her return or be paid the outstanding if she left, neither of which is uncommon. But I think her union rep/HR should advise on this as they would know what is the norm in her trust. There is no reason not to allow it, and it helps with returns, so I don't know why some trusts are less open to it than others.

Occ Health and the unions will know all about redeployment, and in this case it should be considered. There will probably be a redeployment policy (the nhs love their policies), do you have any idea how large a trust it is, ie. how many employees? If big enough, I bet there will be other jobs, and part of a reasonable adjustment would be to let her train up into a new role if she doesn't already possess all the skills/quals for it. There is a limit to that however.

Hmm one a month sounds like a lot! Her union rep again should be able to advise, as should the local policy, but I have 3 meetings in my head. That was if we were going down ill health retirement and over a max of 12 months. There is nothing wrong with more often but only if there is something to report!
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby madchickenlady » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:49 pm

I work for an NHS trust and so far have been treated ok, when I first got ill I was referred to occy health and they came up with a plan to help me be at work, this has worked really well until this year, I have been much worse this year for some reason and this led me to be off work for 6 weeks, I have just gone back and had a return to work meeting with one of my matrons, I've gone back on a phased return of 7.5 hour shifts instead of my normal 12 hour for two weeks and then I might be doing a third week of shorter shifts but I have to use AL for this, one of the weeks I was signed off was supposed to be AL so I can claim it back and use it that way

When I went back to work on Tuesday the matron was very sympathetic, he told me to take it easy and that if I thought I was struggling to let him know and I could go home, the other matron who is in charge is not so sympathetic so I try to avoid her if I can, I am on formal monitoring for my sickness levels and have a meeting once a month with my matron and HR, the purpose of these meetings is supposed to be about discussing ways to make work life more bearable and not to intimidate people, I think that so far I have been very lucky about the way my managers have handled my sickness, I am due another meeting with HR so will see how it goes

Occy health have told me that because Fibro is a chronic illness I am protected under the disabilties act
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby gizsam » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:00 am

you arent alone, i too work for the NHS , and have been there , i am currently on half pay, which isnt that bad, and somehow i sailed though the ESA minefield and have been placed in the support group, i am still in shock!

I am in the process of being finished and looking at ill health retirement.

I think once a month meetings is to much as well, with the help of the union i was able to put a stop to it.

You can PM me if you want , i have been though hell with work.

I may be to type more later, not good at the min.

Take Care

Cat xx
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Re: Unsupportive employer - bordeline bullying.

Postby paulfoel » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:15 pm

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