Threatened with written warning at work

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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby Zia2014 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:23 am

dazzleship wrote:hi

I'm afraid I don't have much advise to offer because I really don't know the legalities of this sort of thing, but I just wanted to say - I thought people with fibro were covered under the disability /equality (or whatever its called) act which means that they can't penalise you for sickness relating to a disability? if so I don't understand why you are getting warnings for having time off?

or am I very wrong? :-?


Right I am on the computer so can type now :-)

So, the first element: The Equality Act 2010 (and it's predecessor, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) basically say that medical conditions only qualify as being covered under the Act if they have a significant effect on day-to-day activities, which most people with Fibro would say they have.

The Act also requires the condition to be long term, ie. lasting or expected to last more than 12 months. Again, I can't imagine Fibro would not qualify under that rule.

Having said that, when I was being investigated for (for example) hormonal problems, if it had turned out to be one and one pill would have 'solved' it, then it would not have qualified under the Act. Therefore, although I've had Fibro since January, it was only over the summer that it was suspected and in October that it was confirmed. So I could not say I was covered under the EA until my diagnosis had been confirmed.

I am using myself as an example to show how it's not always straightforward, especially for employers if they don't know or are unsure of a diagnosis.

The second element: What employers are required to do. They should (and most do) try and make "reasonable adjustments" to help you. Now this is a key phrase because it is not defined in law. But reasonable rests on what size the organisation is, what resources it has (eg. money), how easily it can for instance provide a chair, whether it can allow you to go part time/change your role. This is important because a lot of small and medium sized organisations do not have the resources to provide endless adjustments.

Another "reasonable adjustment" that *can* be put in place is to alter the trigger points for sickness. So for instance we once had someone who was allowed to have a higher level of sickness, BUT was not allowed to be off sick all the time. And this is really important - a lot of people that I have come across in my working life think coming under the EA means you won't be challenged for absence, but that simply isn't true. Sickness policies can and will be used against people still, it might be that they are modified but they can still be used, you can still be given warnings and you can ultimately still be dismissed fairly - as long as the organisation can prove that they did everything they could.

This is not meant to be scary, but I see/hear this a lot and think it's important that people understand what it really means.

To help you, there are some things you can do:
- consider going part time
- consider another role with less physical and/or mental demands
- contact your trade union rep and occupational health as soon as possible - they are really experienced in these matters and will help you. OH can tell your employer about your condition
- ask questions on here, I don't mind helping

I hope this gives me a bit of help to people, as if you know what it means and how to deal with it I think these sorts of meetings are less scary.
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby GayleRuth1978 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:38 pm

Hi Zia2014,
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us!
I work for a very large global IT company. As I said my manager has been excellent he has organised a specially fitted chair to help with my back. He organised a call with OH who were great, I already do part time hours. Its not that my job is physically demanding - quite the opposite in fact but it does make me extremely stiff and sore.
I'm not sure if there is anything else that they can do? He has mentioned an allowance for absence but I think the thing he struggles with is the unpredictability of fibro and the fact that one day I can be fine then the next as you all know can be completely different.
He is really trying to understand and has gone as far as requesting leaflets from he hospital and reading up on the NHS websites etc.
What I find the most stressful is worrying that I might be poorly or have a flare and have to call in sick then sure as anything that's exactly what happens......
Thanks again
xxxx
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby Zia2014 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:00 pm

Hi GayleRuth,

No problem, I like to help :)

They have already done some adjustments which is good. One other thing they could do for absence is adjust your personal 'trigger point', ie. that point in absence at which they say you need to have a formal meeting/return to work (or however they do it at your place). However, it is unusual for places to do that and in particular difficult for something like fibro because it is so variable. They could simply increase it to more days/occasions (it is normal for 10 days/4 occasions over a year so a RA would be say 15 days/5 occasions).

Did OH suggest any other adjustments?

Perhaps if you get nervous calling in (as I and I suspect most people do) you could ask to contact a nominated person, someone who you like and trust. I've seen that happen before.

Another adjustment could be that your duties are varied, so shared out with others or one colleague takes one part of your role to spare you a repetitive bit. It's hard without knowing exactly what you do though! If you get stiff and sore another RA could be to allow you to get up and move around on a regular basis, take more breaks than other people etc.

Another RA could be to allow you more flexible times, so for instance I am often very stiff in the mornings and if I could start later that would help me.

Another one, quite left field this, is to allow you to take a sabbatical if you have a flare. This would have to be applied retrospectively and I've never seen it in action, but in theory there is no reason why not as otherwise it would be recorded as sick. A lot of organisations have an issue with sickness not being recorded as such, but I'm in two minds. Worth asking though?
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby madchickenlady » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:11 am

Hi, thanks for the info it's really helpful, I work for my local NHS trust so it's a big organisation and so far they have made adjustments for me, I think my next step will be to reduce my hours but I can't really afford it so I'm using that as a last resort, I have had to take the day off today because of a flare up and now I'm getting stressed out about what will happen

When I had sickness review meeting they told me they weren't giving me a written warning at that time because I had an appointment with the pain management dept pending so they said I was actively managing the problem and they would monitor me, the upshot of that appointment is that I am being referred to the pain rehab team to look at how I manage my pain and maybe give me more advice

The consultant I saw also told me I that the problem with my left leg is bursitis of the hip and I have got an appointment to have a steroid and local anasthetic injection in February , I havent been able to tell my manager this because my pain clinic appointment was on the 22 of December and then I was off over Christmas and they don't work the Christmas period, I will however tell him when I go back this time
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby GayleRuth1978 » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:10 pm

Hi Zia2014,
Thought I'd give you an update on how things are going at my work.
My manager had a meeting with HR and they have confirmed that as I have fibro (I supplied confirmation from the hospital) that it is classed as a disability.
He wasn't sure if because I work part time (3 days) that I should have half the absence allocation but HR have said no it should be full and they have doubled my personal allowance because of the fibro - he says I've not to worry about it he realises that when I phone in its because I absolutely cannot make it in.
To say I am relieved is an understatement. He has done everything he can to support me and I told him how grateful I am.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment of many for a fibro programme at the hospital so I'm feeling a little bit hopeful for the first time in ages.
Thanks again for your time and advice.
xxxx
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby madchickenlady » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:30 am

That's good news, I am seeking advice on this now, I am having counselling sessions via our occy health dept at the moment and he mentioned something about me being protected under the disabilities act,when I go to my next session I am going to ask for advice, I am also going to ask my Union about my rights as well
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby dazzleship » Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:27 am

that's great news GayleRuth I'm glad to hear it :-)

madchickenlady - I hope you get a similar outcome.
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Re: Threatened with written warning at work

Postby Zia2014 » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:51 pm

Hi both,

Madchickenlady - sounds like your work are good, giving you a chance to see specialists etc. Too often they jump in and issue warnings etc before giving people the chance to find out what will happen. Also, see my post about the Equality Act (it's a sticky), might be useful for you to know the facts on it.

GayleRuth - glad to hear your good news! It's surprising how something that seems so small (reassurance about phoning in) can lift a weight. I feel the same even though I've been on 'both sides' as it were! So glad you're feeling positive :)
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