"invited" to a disciplinary meeting whilst off sick...
I have been off sick since the beginning of november 07, diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and am awaiting results of a CT scan. My employers have already sent me to the occupational health advisor. He told them that i had medical condition with unstable symptoms and that he couldnt determine when i would be fit for work. He also added that I should not be pressurised in any way whilst off sick or made to feel guilty about my absence.
In the time I have had off sick i have been constantly badgered by my employers, sometimes in conference calls where i have had to answer 2 peoples questioning, rather like a police interview where i would be asked the same questions over and over again such as:
when can you return to work ?
why havent your ct scan results come back ?
what's the diagnosis "this time" ?
(please bear in mind i have now been signed off work for over 3 months with the same diagnosis, i send my sick notes into work stating what the diagnosis is, i ring/email work to tell them exactly what my GP has said to me on each visit)
They have reduced my pay to statutory sick pay even though i am entitled to full pay, when i rang in at xmas to query this the HR director told me that the only way to reslove this is to return to work. The senior finance manager told me they "aren't a charity case"...(as if putting me on ssp is magically going to make me better?? infact it has probably made me worse due to the stress caused by not having any money to even buy prescriptions etc)
I have now recieved a letter from work "inviting" me to a disciplinary hearing in 3 days time for the following reasons:
1-failing to comply with the absence policy (no specifics) 2-aggresive & unacceptable behaviour to other members of staff whilst on sick leave. (no specifics) it is stated that the allegations are so severe i could be dismissed... (no specifics)
I have NOT failed to comply with the absence policy ! i have NOT been aggresive to anyone ! i HAVE been harrassed by my manager and other members of staff completely going against the advice of the doctor that they sent me to see in the 1st place !!(also it was DEMANDED that i went to the occupation health advisor, i later found out that this is voluntary, i had / have nothing to hide but i feel i should have been told the truth ie: given the legal choice).
my questions are:
do they have the right to ask me to attend a disciplinary hearing whilst I am off sick and have been for the past 3 months?
what can i do about the apauling way i am being treated at the moment as i am inches away from just packing my job in? I am now suffering migraines on top of the chronic sinusitis, which i have already told my employers, my doctor has advised me that this could be stress related.
Assume you've 12 months + employment, in which case their treatment of you leading to dismissal [which might well be their mission here] is very much open to challenge at Tribunal.
One course of action might be to obtain a note from your GP that you are unfit to attend this Hearing and send it in with a clear request that they desist this most distressing and unfair harassment of you and you will attend a hearing when your medical practitioner advises you fit but meanwhile [especially in view of the likely delay] can they provide full particulars and evidence of all the allegations being brought against you, including witness statements where appropriate.
You might also raise a separate, formal grievance based on unfair and unreasonable treatment to date; failure to pay contractual sick pay etc.
It's not too wise to resign in these circumstances - let employers make all the [wrong?] moves !
thanks for that, I have only been there 9 months though. does this change things ?
Oh yes that *does* very much alter things potentially !! - but how much notice of dismissal are they obliged to give you ?
until i know what these allegations are, i have no idea.
can i still get this hearing postponed ?
can i still raise the grievance ?
they obviously just want me out due to the amount of time i have had off sick.
really stuck what to do here...
But do you have a contractual minimum period of notice that the employer is obliged to give you in order to dismiss you [except for gross misconduct] ? - this may be set out in your contract / terms and conditions of employment or failing that be what normally is given. Failing that, ask them to confirm what it is and in which document[s] it was originally communicated to you.
yes it is 1 month..
ok, I have been back to my GP and he has written me a not saying i am unfit toattend the disciplinary hearing.
I have forwarded this onto work and requested this be postponed and that they send me all the particulars of the allegations raised against me. They have agreed.
tomorrow i will send in my formal grievance.
what is likely to happen next ? what can you advise ?
You've done all that's necessary, possibly - your own best interests will be much-preserved if you can extend your period of employment past 11 or ideally 12 months - this plus your month's contractual notice would take you past the 12 months needed to qualify for employment protection. But your employer's best interests may be to get rid of you before this happens, in which case you wouldn't have much comeback save getting paid for your notice; holidays, etc.
ok work have sent me all the details of the diciplinary hearing. basically a few of them have got together and spun a web of lies. they have been phoning me in conference calls so one can back up what the other has said, even though they have completely twisted every conversation. the most likeley outcome of this is that im going to get sacked.
if i hand my notice in and stay off sick for the next 4 weeks, would i be right in thinking that technically they cant sack me ?
i think resigning is the only option here.
No you wouldn't. They can still dimiss you. Or they can let it play out and state that you resigned pending a disciplinary investigation. Either way your reference is screwed. Unfortunately, if there are several witnesses against you, then they would be able to effect a fair dismissal even with no other evidence. To be honest, the only way out is if they will trade a good reference for your resignation, but there is no way to force them to do this. Apart from ask.
As has been discussed already, you've no effective protection against unfair dismissal, so they could if they wished just dismiss you tomorrow and you'd have little redress.
One of your options might have been to remain on sick leave at least until 12 [or 11 allowing for notice etc being given] month's employment ticks by, and if you've already sent - in a note from your doctor that you're unfit to attend a Hearing, I'm a bit puzzled that they've changed tack so much as to demand your attendance or do it 'in absentia'. ?
But there's nothing to stop you resigning whilst on sick leave, either, although if employers want to they can quite legitimately record and state in references under 'reason for leaving' 'resigned whilst in disciplinary process' or the like.
Bubbles. You really are a little ray of sunshine in a big bad world ;-)
Our friend has been off sick for several weeks of a relatively short employment. They could quite fairly dismiss him for this alone, but then again, employers always worry about the DDA which they don't quite understand (who does - it's a nightmare!). So you manufacture a good reason for dismissing, collect enough witnesses to make the grounds beyond reasonable doubt, and dismiss for those reasons. Then there is no comeback on unfair dismissal as the service isn't long enough to claim it, which means that the person has to claim (if they have one) DDA - leaving them to prove it was DDA applicable, and even if it was, they still have grounds for dismissal on other charges which are unrelated. An impossible impossible case for an employee to fight, and certainly impossible without union or legal back up.
You see, the problem with you nice senior HR people who try to do everything right and by the book, is that you so seldom meet the other HR people out there! Puzzlement solved?
how do i begin to ask Hr to trade my resignation for a decent reference ??
thanks for all your advice by the way
Sorry - missed your post earlier on. I'm afriad there's no trick to this one. You simply ask them if they would be prepared to drop the charges if you resign.
How long have you worked for the company?If you have worked for the company for over 2 years then you are entitled to sick pay.If you are on long term sick then you are on long term sick.THis means if you are sending your sick notes in and you are keeping your company updated then the only time they can contact you is if they want to get a company doctor to examin you.
If they have failed to do this they have then accepted you sick notes in good faith.
they are not allowed to contact you and discuss work issues until you return to work.
They can carry out a disiplinary hearing in your absence if they did an investigation before hand they could then write to you and tell you they where carring out a disciplinary in your absence.
They would not be able to carry out an investigation before hand because you had not been off sick.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN WITH THE COMPANY FOR OVER 2 YEARS THEN LOOK INTO CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL.
hope this helps let me know how you get on
I have also posted my issues on here for some advice (you might want to read it)
If you have been with the company for less than 1 year they could jus make you redundant with out any recourse.
Why they want to carry out a disiplinary is stupid. From what you have said in all your posts then what this amounts to is bullying.
I would consider resigning due to the fact that you are only getting ssp and you could then claim from the dss stating the fact you are to ill to attend work. your doctor will confirm this.When you resign state the reason as "making your position unatainable" on the grounds that you are being bullied(for no reason).
They have made up a disciplinary on the gronds of what (no specifcts)
If you where pregnant and did this it would be descrimination.
GET LEGAL ADVISE NOW VISIT THE CAB.
NO DONT DO IT THATS WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO DO. IF YOU ARE GOING TO RESIGN PUT IN A GREAVIENCE AND WRIT IN IT CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL.THEY WILL SOON CHANGE THERE MINDS THEN.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
I don't seem to have spent enough time working with darkness !!
But I'm afraid that most of the content of the few posts immediately above is absolute balderdash !
I cannot be nearly as poetic as Bubbles, but yes, the contents of the previous posts are rubbish and whilst, of course, everything on this site is "opinion", these "opinions" are legally and strategically rubbish. Listen to them at your peril.