Shocking work situation - update on page 5
Felt the need to post for some views on this shocking work related situation.
As most of you are aware by now, my health is not the best at the moment as a result of my recently diagnosed heart condition. Overall the prognosis doesn't look too good and subsequently my partner and myself have been struggling to cope with this situation and the fact I may not be around very much longer.
Add to this the fact that neither my partner or myself have any family or close friends to help us through this and I have to admit that it's been tough, extremely tough, for us to find the strength to keep going.
And just when you think things couldn't get any worse - we lost our beloved pet dog at the start of this week, dying quite suddenly as a result of an undiagnosed stomach tumor.
As fellow pet owners and dog lovers will appreciate, the death of a family pet can be hard enough to deal with for anyone, but happening at this time and given everything else that is going on, it appears to have come as a the proverbial 'straw that has broken the camel's back' as far as my partner is concerned and she has completely fallen to bits.
Already feeling she was losing me, the dog appears to have been the only thing keeping her going, indeed, given that it has been only her, me and the dog for the last 11 years, it's feels pretty much the same for myself.
But, with him gone and fearing that she may soon be losing me, as she has put it she feels like their is nothing left and literaly begged me at the start of this week to drive the car off the road on the way home from the vets so we could all be together once again.
Since then she hasn't eaten or slept, is crying constantly and appears absolutely inconsolable. I also concerned that any thoughts of suicide are no longer crossing her mind. At a loss as to what to do, Ive obviously got her to see a doctor, who has given her some sleeping pills and is arranging for her to speak to a counsellor to discuss all the issues that are troubling her, including the loss of our dog.
Given the state of her emotional health, the doc has also given her a sick note for one week and asked to see her again in a weeks time.
She's actually on annual leave this week and is due to return back to work on Monday. Not wanting to leave them in the lurch she called her boss today to give her some warning that she's not likely to be in on Monday so she could arrange the necessary cover.
Her bosses response;
"We've all lost dogs *****, but you're a member of a team and whilst you've been able to enjoy
your holiday, you need to get back to work on Monday so that other members of staff can enjoy theirs."
My partner - "But I've been to see a doctor, I really don't feel well enough to return and I have a sicknote..."
Her boss - "Well if you hand the sicknote in that's your choice, but I'm expecting to see you at work on Monday and if I don't, well, you need to think about your continued employment..."
End of conversation.
Overhearing this conversation and gobsmacked with her employer's response, I gave her boss a call back myself to ensure that she fully understood the situation and how my partner was feeling, i.e. near suicidal.
When I eventually got through, I calmly explained just how my partner was feeling, explaing it appeared to be more than the loss of our dog that was troubling her but that this had appeared to act as the trigger bringing to the surface a whole load of issues that had been troubling my partner for some time, including my ppor health.
"I'm not bothered by that, if she has problems she needs to speak to her doctor and get the appropriate help. You're call is not helping and I don't appreciate you getting involved, in fact I'm not preapred to dicuss this matter with you any further other than to say, I have a business to think about and I have to be firm."
(it's an NHS doctor's surgery)
"I have to draw a line and I can't afford to support a 'problem' employee with a history of repeated and prolonged absence"
(she's been absent two days in the last year taking care of me when I came out of hospital and was last absent for a 'prolonged' period of time of three weeks a year ago which was actually the result of work place related stress, harrasment and bullying by this very same manager!!)
"I've already spoken to ***** and made it quite clear that I expect her to return to work on Monday and if she doesn't, I'll have to be firm and take the appropriate action"
To which I asked will that be to get occupational health involved?
"No, that will be to dismiss her"
Me - "So even though I've gone to the trouble of explaining the current state of her emotional and mental health to you and that her doctor has deemed her unfit to return to work and given her a sicknote, you want her to return to work on Monday regardless? I'm sorry but that is unlikely to happen"
Her - "Well if you're telling me now she won't be returning to work on Monday then I'll get her file out right now and start the appropriate proceedings, but again I'm not prepared to dicuss this any further with you, I want her to call me herself tommorow to let me know her final decision"
End of conversation.
Needless to say, I ******* fuming with this response and her attitude and right now, my partner is thinking she has no choice but to return to work on Monday or face losing her job, which to be honest we could not afford, as well her employer knows.
I'm by no means any expert on employment law but surely this kind of behvior can't be right? Pressuring a sick employee to return to work, particular one in such an obviously poor mental state (as explained by myself and my partner was also in bits when she spoke to her on the phone herself) for threat of losing her job.
I'm hoping to speak to ACAS about this tommorow and we're also going to self refer my partner to the NHS's occupational health team who have had previous involvement last year with this employer relating to the stress at work case, again this being the same manager that was responsible for that (which makes me even angrier at the fact that she's now trying to hold this stress realted absence which she caused up as an example of my partner's poor attendance).
So, once again I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place knowing what best to do - allow my partner to return to work on Monday (which quite frankly she's not fit to do) with a possible larger impact on her health or stay away from work, lose her job and face the consequences of that financial loss. A bit screwed either way methinks!
But you have to agree, given the circumstances this is an absolutely shocking response from her employer, no?
post edited by Osagi - 2009/07/20 20:00:27