Signed off and worried

Hi there,

I've been signed off for at least a fortnight as of today. Since being diagnosed with asthma in May I have been struggling to get it under control and as a result I'm feeling really tired and run down.

But before that, I was already pretty tired and run down, as I have to commute 3 hours a day for work and there are big problems at my workplace. Pretty much everyone is ill from something and there's someone crying in the toilets at least once a week.

The problem is the directors - they are really bad managers and they have not been particularly understanding about the time I have needed to take for going to the doctor and so on.

It all came to a head last week when I admitted to myself that I just couldn't go on like this anymore, and my doctor has signed me off. However, when I phoned my boss about this he didn't say much, sounded angry and also sent a company-wide email telling everyone I had 'been signed off for two weeks for personal problems'.

I don't know how to sort this out. My previous attitude was that I was lucky to have a job in a recession. And I currently feel too exhausted to do anything about it. I'm hoping that the time off will be good for my asthma and my state of health generally, but already I am scared about going back to work because everyone has been told I have 'personal problems'!

I'm hoping that people here will have some experience of how to deal with employers - I don't want this to be any more stressful than it already is.

6 Replies

  • please don't worry too much

    I hope someone on AUK will have be of some help, I used to work for the civil service and began to have health problems I was really healthy and athletic before that. My boss was a hard liner and rang people at home to ask when thy would come in etc. I never ever wanted to be sick because of this entrusion. So when eventually I had health problems you can imagine what it was like. So I went above her head and spoke to head office dept to ascertain what I could do about my issues. They send me home to rest and arranged a transfer to another office. Which where much more understanding. I had a great few years with them. I don't know if that helps you.

    Please take it easy, gill

  • i have been on a off work like anythingg.... They just have a deal with it you are protected under the disability discrimination act.... just have to take you time and dont rush back until you are ready to please them otherwise you will end up taking more time off!

    Just have to be honest with them about your asthma what makes it better and worse.... I have a plan at work if I become unwell and all the manger know about nebs and epipens and how to look after me! I am lucky I have nurses on site and they make sure I am fit to work!

  • gamba,

    Dont worry about your job at all,you need the time off to get sorted a little

    and rest up.

    If your bosses have a problem they will send you to occupational health and

    they are realy nice and will make sure your employers are helping you and altering

    your job to make it better for you.

    Asthma is coverd by the DDA disability discriminations act and can not finish you for it.

    if it is a real problem for you and carnt help alter it for you,they have to try find you a better job or pay you off.

    If you do end up with occupational health get your union in from day 1.

    Hope its not scared you its just what ive been through with other probs on top and came out

    the other side smiling and all sorted now,dont stress out about work just get your self better

    and see your doc or asthma nurse for help/

    Its that time of year we all dread and my asthma has been realy bad through summer and winter

    harder than ever.

    Good luck,welcome pm me any time .

    take care of your self and dont worry .love Glynis xxx

  • Hi Gamba,

    Firstly I hope you are feeling better. Take some rest and let your body heal. I have been off a LOT with my asthma, my last absence being over seven months continuous absence. I wouldn't worry about a two week absence. However, I WOULD make a complaint about the email regarding the reason for your absence. That, in my opinion is really awful manners, if not in HR! I would make an official complaint and ask them to rectify the situation. You are covered by the DDA so long as your asthma has serious effects on your ability to do day to day tasks. e.g. washing, dressing, walking etc

    Once you are feeling better, and only when you are ready you can go back to work. I would suggest contacting Access to Work. They are a government organisation who offers support to keep you in work. I get free taxi's to and from work and have a special chair because of another problem I have at the moment. They send out an occupational therapist who assesses you at work and works out the best way to support you, and they are very friendly. You also get your own advisor who helps you when you need it, or should your circumstances change.

    When I have been off on long term sick, as long as I am keeping them informed and sending them in the doctors lines then there hasn't been any problems. You may find at some point you go on to ssp, but how long that is depends on your companies policy.

    Take it easy and spend the time recovering. If it looks as though you might be on long term sick, it might be useful if you feel up to it to take a look on the direct gov website about your rights as a disabled person at work.

    Keep your chin up


  • Thanks everyone for your kind words and your advice.

    It's good to know that I have rights in this situation, it's just a shame that my employers are being so negative about it. But they just don't have much experience in handling things well or very much emotional intelligence. It's a small independent company, so we don't have HR or belong to unions. But I have been told that I will have a return to work meeting when the dr says I am fit for work, to discuss how I'll go back, so that sounds OK.

    It's funny being told to stay off for so long. Yesterday I felt like I was bunking off, then today I was short of breath and knackered all day.

    Sometimes I just can't believe this is happening to me. I've never been ill in my life before and this is pretty scary.

  • Update

    Hello again. I'm feeling much better today. Yesterday I had a whole day symptom-free for the first time in ages (and I went to a dance class), and I feel really good today too. I think this resting thing is working!

    Thank you everyone for being so supportive here and through private messages. I'm so glad I found this forum.

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