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Problems with work

Hi guys

I have a huge problem and I need to have a rant!! As many of you are aware I have been signed off work since mid November with asthma and related complications. I have finally got a diagnosis of acute allergic bronchial asthma. I have seen Occupational Health and they agree that I am unfit for work at present. My boss is gunning for me - I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school. I have been BASICALLY housebound since mid November. I play clarinet and saxophone in a couple of local bands, one is marching band. I have been up to band since mid November maybe half a dozen occasions at most and purely on as a social thing - get me out the house - if symptoms allow try to play. I can only manage a few bars without getting completely out of breath. In April the band chairman persuaded me to attempt a 10 minute marching gig to see whether I would be a) fit to play at all this season and b) for me to gage if i could think about returning to work after the Easter break. Unfortunately I was seen by a colleague and there is photographic evidence of me taking part in this gig. In addition, another so called colleague who used to play in the band and hasn't attended a rehearsal in a year turned up one night I happened to be at a rehearsal.

My head sent me an email stating that basically I and my doctors are lying about my condition, as i stated that I was basically housebound. And that he had evidence,photographic and what other people have told him that I am able to play for long periods of time which is a load of rubbish.

I am so angry and hurt about this - that people are so narrow minded and petty to go out of their way to stir up trouble. I was having a good day symptom wise the day of the gig - it was a short gig - and I just wanted to see how my body and lungs would react. As it was I was unable to play and march and I had to use my blue inhaler loads after and I was extremely tired in the days that followed. I haven't attended a rehearsal or gig since because of my symptoms.

I have very little quality of life as it is surely on good days I should be allowed to try do the things I enjoy doing. I am now too scared to leave the house in case someone sees me.

I have been called to have a meeting at the end of the week with my head - which I have requested doesn't take place at work as I have to catch a train, bus and walk about a half a mile to get there. He wasn't very helpful on that front. Luckily my union branch president is attending with me.


13 Replies

Not quite sure what to say to help you other than to explain what you have said here to your boss and explain the variable nature of your asthma. Your union rep should be able to make sure that your boss sticks to what is appropriate and legal. If in any doubt I would get another opinion from someone who is legally trained in employment law.

I can sympathise with being signed off work since novemeber with your asthma as I have been signed off from work since september and sitting looking at four walls all the time does your head in so I can understand why you want to do something you enjoy, when you feel well enough to try to do it as with the asthma these opportunities can be few and far between. I hope your meeting with your boss goes well for you.


Ditto all malawi said. Pity the photographer wasn't around on your bad days or caught you using the inhaler loads at the band. Good to know you will have someone with you at the meeting.


Thank you Malawi2 and Granny Mo for your support. xxx

I'm just so angry and hurt by it really. Whatever happens I don't think I will be returning to work there, which is a shame because I love my job, the team I work with and of course the children. Sad really that one person feels the need to cause trouble.


I can empathsise with how you feel totally - I am primary school teacher - I have had horrendous problems with work and have just come to the difficult decision that I am not going to go back to work at my current school, my union are helping me negotiate how to do this - very difficult and complex.I am going to take some time out and try and get asthma under better control before attempting to return to fulltime teaching. I haven't been able to work since 17th feb - have had multiple admissions to hospital including ITU but school have not always been that helpful. I can understand both sides I know schools need someone that is reliable and going to be able to have the energy and puff to work with the children - most days I know that at the moment I have neither of these but they also have a legal obligation to make sure they can make the adjustments for you to return to work safely for both your sake and the sake of teh chidlren you work with. Good thing you have union support. Ask for a copy of sickness policy read it see where you are in the timescale of the policy and then just make sure you do what is right for you PM me if you want some more info or some support.


Personally I would not give in my notice as situations can change. You never know in a couple of months time your boss/person in question may change jobs with a new school year starting in September or be promoted and you may end up with another boss who is more considerate. I have had it before when I was working with someone I did not get on with (as it turns out no one else did either) and the person in question annoyed several of the team leaders and was transferred to a different department.


Good luck and let the union do the fighting for you and put your point across and take any stress of you.If you love your job and ok with it apart from when asthmas is bad see what they come up with .Good luck and hope whats best for glynis xxx


Once again thank you all for being so supportive. I will of course keep you posted on any developments. Keep well.

Rach. xx


I have same sort of meeting next week...not looking forward to it. Union tried to avoid me having it but I have to. I am hoping that it will all be sorted soon.


Ughhhhh how I can empathise when it comes to work-asthma problems!

If you've got Occupational Health on your side, then your manager is completely out of order!!

I'm glad that you've got the union supporting you, but when it comes down to it, how can the head argue with what your doctors and occ health are saying?!

I hope it all works out well for you

Dawn x



Met with union rep today who was great - basically my boss can't dictate what i can and can't do outside of work, especially as have supporting medical evidence. Hoorah!! On downside visited doc been signed off til I see specialist again in August, and given more smarties. :(

Thank you all so much for your words of comfort and support.




I'm glad that it worked out! So glad you have your union on your side and supportive doctors. I also hope your asthma takes a turn for the better at some point, so you can get back to working with your students.





I am so ANGRY. Sorry need a rant - haven't slept. Had meeting yesterday afternoon with my head, union rep and someone from HR. Basically the photographic evidence he had of me playing at the gig in April (see original post) wasn't even of me it was another player in my section lol. He said that playing may have made my condition worse - um medical research states that playing an instrument can help asthmatics with their symptoms and I have only done it when I feel physically able. I am now too scared to go out so am now TOTALLY housebound and the little bit of quality of life I'd held onto has been taken away as a result of this whole situation. He completely disregarded medical evidence stating that his daughter had had lower results than that. Ignored IgE serum levels of 769 and basically made me feel like I was making a mountain out of a molehill.

I had hoped once meeting was over I would be able to put this behind me but I'm no further forward - I still don't really know what he's playing at.

Sorry - rant over. Is there some legal action I can take against him. The stress and worry isn't helping my asthma.

Thanks for being here guys ... you are all truly amazing.


Sorry to hear it didn't go so well.

What did your union rep say? Did they point out what OH and your doctors had said?

Maybe wait a few days and then when you are feeling a bit calmer have a meeting with the union rep about where you go from here! Maybe you could speak to OH?

What is your head like normally? Does he normally make an effort to understand and is he sympathetic with other people? Does his daughter have asthma as well?

I was interested in the bit about playing in your band because my last employer did have rules about what you could and couldn't do on sick leave! But I had assumed that was just during working hours.

Take care



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