Employer has just sent me a written caution for being ill with endo!

According to doctors it takes years to diagnose. I have been with my employer a year and have been off 6 times with the same thing. Admitted to hospital for the pain and bleeding. I have my meeting with HR and they had said that she didnt understand why I didnt get it seen to before now. I have been to the doctors almost every week for the paat 18 months with the pain. I feel like tgey treat me different because of it. They have said I can appeal if it falls under the disability or equality of life act. Has anyone else experienced something similar?

50 Replies

I understand hun. Im in and out of hr meetings due to being off. They know what I have and yet it does not matter. Im at risk of losing my job and I dont know where to start. Its hard. My advice is to explain that it has been a struggle on yourside to get the diagnosis and explain what if any treatment you are trying. Unfortunately sick days are inevitable but just say you are trying and see if they have options to help. Hope it helps x

It is illegal to give a written warning before a VERBAL warning. Have they previously given you a VERBAL WARNING?

I would respond to the HR lady's comment, regarding 'why didn't you get it seen to before now?' - with an official letter from your Doctor, which explains how difficult diagnosis it, because it can only be diagnosed surgically, and the symptoms are very similar to that of IBS and other diseases. This HR lady is not doing her job very well, she has NO right to say this to you. Please please please go back to your Doctor, tell them that your HR questioned why you were not diagnosed earlier and tell them you are being bullied, with written warnings. Ask your Doctor to write a letter explaining endometriosis and explaining why it is NONE OF HER BUSINESS to ask why it wasn't diagnosed before - SHE IS IN HR - SHE IS NOT A DOCTOR. I am furious by this.

Please let me know, were you verbally warned about your job before this. Also, go and book a Doctors appt now and get an official letter from them. Cry if you have to.

May I ask, how old are you? How long have you worked there for?

I will try to guide you with next steps but I need to know more. your employer are risking discrimination against you for your disease. This is not legal.

I was given an informal standard settings meeting so yes I suppose you can calls that as a verbal warning. I am going back. I was given an occ health referral to private medical care through my work and that is how I was diagnosed so quickly. I am 19 and have been in the job a year. I have also has to take 2 weeks holiday for recovery from surgery as I wasn't allowed to take it as sick as it would maybe cost me my job.

"I wasn't allowed to take it as sick as it would maybe cost me my job" : this is ILLEGAL!! They have to give you sick leave if you have a note from the hospital, and it is illegal for them to make you work.

I suggest that you speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau ASAP. Also, keep copies of everything - doctors notes, sick notes, letters from the employer etc.

Did your employer know you were having surgery? Who's idea was it to take the recovery time as holiday v sick ? I am disgusted you had to use your holiday..this is illegal i think. I am going to find out more for you.

Yes I told them 6 days before it. They had said that my Bradford factor would be affected if I had taken it off sick so I had to offer to take my holidays.

Sorry for my ignorance but what is the Bradford factor?

I have been off 6 times been hospitalised 3 times out of the 6 and it is 875 which I know is very high

It's one of those blunt, ham-fisted 'tools' that inhuman resource people use because they like to exert power over the staff that actually do the 'work'. Sorry, I have no time for HR people. employmentlawclinic.com/att...

It should not be used in isolation and I think it's only warranted if a worker is being slack, lazy and always phoning in 'sick' on Monday mornings which is clearly not the case here.

I have zero time for HR people too, they disgust me. Even if a member of my family is senior in HR, her attitude sometimes astonishes me. A blunt numbers tool should indeed be used in isolation.

Clearly this girl is ill, being hospitalised 3 times out of 6. What kind of employer is this? Some small time, small minded, hicksville, backwoods, back end of nowhere employer. Sorry just really annoyed by this. Sounds to me like they know Cheddar94 is unsure of where she stands and they are using this to their benefit.

I sometimes feel like my age has a part to play could this be the case?

A bit.. but you need to first contact your local Doctor and your surgeons PA. Break down in tears on the phone if you have to, because quite frankly you are being pushed out of a job not even 1 week post op, during your recovery time. This is outrageous.

I have cried more times than I can count over this to my boss to hr to yhe doctors they have no idea how I feel im 19 20 in a week and this has been going on for 2 year.Constant pain its costing me time with my son and relationship and now my job!

Book an emergency appt for today to see your GP. This is a very stressful situation and your employer sending you letters during the tie you are meant to be recovering from surgery is shocking.

I have just made onefor tomorrow mor

Well done. Deal with this now, and don't let the stress eat you. If you act on it, you will feel better.

Have you actually been diagnosed? If so, ask your GP for a letter explaining the condition and the effect it has on your life.

I was diagnosed on Wednesday from surgery

OK, so there you go, you can now give them a copy of your diagnosis and/or a letter from your GP. They have an obligation to give reasonable consideration to your situation. I believe that now you are diagnosed you could be considered as 'long term sick' for which the law is as follows:

Long-term sickness

Employees who are off work sick for more than 4 weeks may be considered long-term sick. A long-term sick employee is still entitled to annual leave.

As a last resort, employers can dismiss an employee who is long-term sick, but before they can do this employers must:

- consider if an employee can return to work - eg working flexibly or part-time, doing different or less stressful work (with training if necessary)

- consult with employees about when they could return to work and if their health will improve

An employee can take their case to an employment tribunal if they think they’ve been unfairly dismissed.

I have spoken to citizens advice and they pointed me to acas and they said of I falls under a disability they would have to reconsider if I isnt then I can appeal but it doesnty mean to say anything will change

I don't think Endo officially falls under a disability. Other members on here know more..

HAYLS and SCOOTEEDER are very good. You need to know your rights. I think the 'TORY' government recently changed legislation making it easier to fire people who have been employed for under 2 years, this legislation leaves people like you and all if us on this forum in a very precarious position.

Personally, I think your employer is intending to fire you. I don't mean to stress you out, but you need to be realistic. They will argue you are unfit to perform your duties, this is why they are following process, and its why they have given you verbal and written warnings. If you take any more sickness, they clearly intend to fire you.

Please go and talk to your Doctor, and call ACAS now to see what your rights are. It sounds like your employer is ticking all the boxes right now, in preparation for you losing your job. This is just so upsetting. I am so sorry and wish I could do more.

If you have any formal meetings, I think you have a right to be accompanied by someone. Do you have someone who can accompany you to an HR meeting?

Ive had an HR meeting and this is how I have been given my written caution. They had just said than if I am absent again in the next 6 months I could be dismissed

Endo does, all illness that are consistent for 12months or more with no improvement is covered under disability act and equality act 2010. If you pay into a union I would advice to bring a good union rep into the meeting. If you are not in a union then ask a colleague that you trust to come into the meeting with you and ask them to take notes of the meeting on your behalf.

Also, when did you have your surgery? How long did the Surgeon want to sign you off for? Did you tell the surgeon that you are only allowed to take holiday?

Did you have the surgery last week? And you just received this letter? Your employer is not even giving you time to recover from your laparoscopy, which is quite irresponsible and I am sure HIGHLY illegal.

You need to call your Doctor ASAP and get a letter to them. Your employers are preventing your recovery, if you had the surgery recently?

I'm sure we can fight this. To be honest, you may as well fight it, it sounds to me like you have nothing to lose with your current employer.

The problem is I don't think you can take an employer to tribunal if you have not worked for them for more than 2 years, again, typical Tory policy.

I had my HR meeting on the 28/02/14. I had my surgery on the 5th of this month. I told the dr about I would have to take it as holiday because it would my bf if I didn't. He said its 2 weeka recovery time so I have 2 weeka off. I am goingy back to the privacy dr who done the surgery and get him to write a letter to my employer

Yes please do. You really have nothing to lose here. You need to make a point and go out fighting if you have to, and if you can't convince them that what they are doing is wrong.

When did you receive the letter, TODAY? So you had surgery 5 days ago and they are sending you letters? This is illegal. They are compromising you recovery and actually your physical and mental health here. I'd have been beside myself had i not had the support of my employer when I had my surgery.

I think they are doing this because they think you won't have the balls to react.

The letter came this morning. I have to go back to the hospital on Wednesday because my wounds aren't heading and I have been told stress has a part to play in the healing process

I really feel you have been treated so badly your HR lady ought to come on this forum and see how this condition affects the lives of so many women.

Bradford Factor is a dreadful way to handle anyone with chronic illness.

You can be off 6 months and it's one occasion, you can be off 6 individual days and you're out of a job because that counts as 6 occasions.

It should be illegal to judge anyone which a chronic illness by the 'Bradford Factor'. It is discriminatory and under the Equality Laws it should not apply and I wish someone with some clout in government would heavily fine any company caught applying the Bradford factor to anyone with chronic illness.

cheddar are you in a union? If not then join one asap. You need their support and will get their support to the bitter end - even if you do lose your job you have excellent ground for appeal, but you will need Union support. It doesn't cost much and it is well worth the investment.

Call ACAS too. Explain to them that you had surgery last week and were diagnosed with a Chronic Pain disease, ENDOMETRIOSIS.

Explain to them that your employer would not allow you to take sick leave to recover, that you have had to take holiday.

Explain to them that you are being bullied and are not recovering from surgery because you have just received a written warning from them, just 5 days following surgery - so your employer are acting against DUTY OF CARE responsibilities and are actually putting your recovery on the line.

Out of interest, what stage of Endo were you diagnosed with. Just out of interest. Not that its important.

ACAS is on 08457 47 47 47 for free and confidential advice

Here is a bit from their website.. regarding dismissing employees...

"Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. In most circumstances employees will need to qualify before they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal:

at least one year's continuous service for employees in employment before 6th April 2012

two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012.

However, there is no length of service requirement in relation to 'automatically unfair grounds'."

That last sentence in KEY here.

I will give them a call and let you know what they say thank you for all your advice

Ask ACAS - does your Employer have a Duty of Care - despite you being employed for less than 2 years? I believe your employers do have a DUTY OF CARE to you. What they are doing to you, 5 days after surgery, is actually very aggressive. You really need to get your GP to contact your surgeon as your surgeon will NOT be happy to hear this.

I just have to pop out but I will be back soon. Let me know how u get on.

Hi cheddar94,

Yellowrose has provided some excellent advice. The key thing for me is the aggressive behaviour of this inhuman resources woman. She is interfering with your chances of making a full and speedy recovery and therefore sabotaging your ability to return to work and live a healthy life. She is abusing you when you are vulnerable and in my book that amounts to bullying.

I think it would be advisable to consult management other than HR as they might not be fully aware of what is going on and only have her side of the story. Something like this affects staff morale and therefore productivity and I don't see why you shouldn't keep this from your colleagues. In some ways they have a right to know how their company views them but that"s up to you whether you want to keep this private or not.

When your doctor sends his letter get him to copy to management as well or send directly to them and copy to HR. You can suggest a few words to insert along the lines of what I wrote above if he's ok with that i.e.

"The letter sent to my patient is interfering with her chances of making a full and speedy recovery and therefore sabotaging her ability to return to work and live a healthy life." I'm sure he will find a good way to express this.

Some companies provide free legal advice service via a third party. It is confidential and your employer does not have access to anything you discuss. I was thinking that if your company offers health insurance then this might also be in your package. Some bank accounts also have free legal advice. Check with your bank.

Good luck and do let us know how you get on and what you learn from ACAS. Continue asking questions here and we will try to support you. x

Hi, thr management already know what is going on I feel like I cant take to them. They are all saying they are sympathetic but they aren't. I have used the health insurance which they forced me to use even though I have to pay the excess which right now I dont have the money for. I phoned Acas ans they have said if it falls under a disability then they are discriminating against me but of it doesn't I can put in a grievance about the way I have been treated but the man on the phone said it probably wont come to anythimg..

Hi cheddar94,

Perhaps you could try to negotiate with them. At the moment, all they have to go on is you taking intermittent time off and very poor knowledge of a complex disease. You have just had an operation that was designed to deal with this. Your doctor must have some sort of estimation of success rate for the operation he just did. e.g. 10% chance of it returning in 5 years is what I was told. This prognosis needs to be in his letter. What HR and management need to recognise is that they need to base their decision on the future outlook and not the past experience. They are not acknowledging that you have had an operation to correct the situation. Ask for some time to get over the operation and see how things go

What line of work are you in? Would it be better to try for a job elsewhere and start with a clean slate? I know that feels 'wrong' in many ways but sometimes it's better to cut your losses and strike out in a new direction with positivity than get wrapped up in a negative fight. By all means fight your corner but it might be worth keeping in mind as an option.

I have to agree with Brownlow. Could be worth raising a grievance and set up a meeting with HR and management to discuss what has happened - if you really want to keep the job.

Where are you located? Do you have someone knowledgable of al this that could accompany you to the meeting. To me, it sounds like they are bullying you because you are young and have difficulty defending yourself.

It may not be worth it though, to me, the things they have done so far are so inexplicably bad that I think they are intending to part company with you.

Was your lap diagnostic or operative (did they just diagnose or did they treat it). Id be interested to know what type of company you work for.

I have always used holiday after my laps even with a sick note but only as sick pay is ssp and I couldn't afford to lose the money

Hi Cheddar,

I was diagnosed with endo 2 and a half years ago and unfortunately it has come back again so off for a laparoscopy in a few weeks to find out how bad it is. Am in constant pain and have been off work for the last 2 weeks because of the pain.

I am in HR (thankfully a nice hr person, they do exist) and you definitely have grounds to raise a grievance. No employer should treat anyone with a chronic condition like they are treating you but unfortunately it happens a lot!!

The advice from others above is great but one thing you should remember is a) your not alone and b) no company should be dismissing you on grounds of illness! If they do you would have a case for tribunal but to be honest it is a lot of hard work and does not always pay off!! What you really need to do is get yourself away from any stressful situation endo is bad enough and you don't need your employer being unsympathetic and causing you more stress.

What industry do you work in? Is it private or public sector.

Would be happy to discuss further if you need anymore advice.

Just written above message but had to change my account so this is the account to respond to me if needed.

Hi AMcP,

It's really heartening to see your reply. I think many of us have been victims at the hands of HR people and have been badly treated hence some bad feeling! It seems that the HR person is not only letting cheddar94 down but also the company.


Try and get your union involved and yes it should come under the equalities act

good luck xx

I feel your pain darling. I am in the same boat and yet I work in a health care setting were nurses are my line managers and still I get the same treatment as you. I too had to take holiday following my lap and had to take extra because I ended up with an infection. My boss actually asked to see my wound to assess the infection. Well that was too far for me. I refussed and she backed down. I think so many people are oblivious to endo. I work in a nursing home so I am go go go all the time and yet I can sit there I tears doubled over and nobody bats an eyelash. Discusting. But I need a job so I cant argue

I am so, so sorry to have "wimped out" on this one! I would normally attempt to help, and to answer questions like this... however, reading your story brought back so many bad and painful memories, I am on the verge of tears just writing this. I was hounded at work for nearly 4 years as a result of my symptoms. What's worse, is that I did not even have an accurate diagnosis at the time, because my Gynaecologist had not noticed, or not acted on 2 reports by other specialists (one in his own Gynae department) who suggested I had Endo! These reports were made in 2008, and I was still in my job at the time. By the time my Endo was correctly diagnosed in 2011, I had utterly given up on work - I don't think I could have faced my insensitive and thoughtless colleagues even if I had wanted to. Just getting up in the morning to go to work made me physically vomit, and I had ended up crying, shaking and being sick on a number of occasions at the thought of yet again having to explain time off for medical appointments, but being no closer to a clear diagnosis! I had experienced more than one occasion where my symptoms had clearly been active during work time (I have very humiliating diarrhoea and bowel symptoms); I'd spent hours in the loo, my employer sent me home - only to discipline me for time off upon my return to work!

I'm really, really sorry about not offering much help. Still, it looks like the other ladies on this site have everything well in hand, and you are guaranteed help and support from them. DO stick in there. DO get your Doctor's support. DO get support if you can from a Union, and talk to ACAS. DO make it clear to HR what your diagnosis is. DO get yourself clued up as to your rights in terms of possible disability, and long term sickness.

I wish, with hindsight, that in my case I had known more clearly what was actually going on. That I had asked to see my medical records as soon as I was concerned about symptoms. That I had asked earlier for a second opinion. That I had not felt obliged to persist, and stick with treatments that I knew were not working, such as the Pill and Mirena. That I had demanded to clear up any confusion. That I had asked sooner for more tests ... ANYTHING. I still cannot say whether that would have changed anything. I mean, at the end of the day, I would STILL have had Endo. I would STILL have needed the surgeries that I have had (maybe not so many, I'm not sure). I would STILL have had symptoms, and needed treatment. BUT at times I do feel that if I could only have explained better to my employers a clear diagnosis that had been confirmed - instead of being, as I was, utterly in the dark about things, and just SO, SO confused... I might still have had the job that I worked SO DAMNED HARD for.

Still, I guess I have no more right to moan than anyone else. As you can see, there are MANY women on here who had to fight for their jobs, and many more who have had to give up work. THAT is the reality of Endo. If the job means a lot to you FIGHT until you can do so no more. And if, after all that, you are still receiving NO support - accept that the problem is NOT with you, rather that you re TRULY in a job that will never change, and working with people who have NO concept of a supportive and inclusive working environment. In my experience, jobs like that are best walked away from. NEVER easy, but trust me, you do NOT want a job that actually CONTRIBUTES to making your illness WORSE.

Again, REALLY SORRY if I'm no help at all. I do feel for you, and I truly wish you all the very best. Like I said, the other ladies on here have it covered...

Best wishes,


Hi! I am one of the blunt minded Senior HR professionals that you are discussing.

Cheddar 94 I am sorry that your company are not empathising with your situation. Yellow rose makes a couple of good points about asking your Dr to write to your employer, have you seen the OH advisor at work? HR should take their lead from OH specialists as we are not medical professionals..

You may be covered under the Equality Act and disability provisions but would need to know more about your case.

Bradford Factor points are used as triggers for investigation in most companies that use them and it highlights any employees with potential attendance issues.

It is not illegal to issue a written warning with out issuing a verbal warning, it all depends on company policy and rational etc. not sure if you are uk based??

I agree with Yellow Rose in relation to your employee saying that you must take holidays... If you are sick that's what you are and should not be made to take holidays.

I would refer yourself to the OH department at work and state that you are willing to discuss your case with medical professional and that you are willing for them to contact your GP.

Check to see if you fit in the disability provisions under the Equality Act.

I empathise with you as I am having similar health concerns and am recovering from surgery.

Good luck

I have had exactly the same problem - I've been in and out of HR meetings. Had to take my week off for a Lap on Holiday. At first my work agreed to work from home, now I am not allowed to because it was for a couple of days every month. I work for a construction company which is predominantly men, so they have no sympathy/understanding. The head of HR is a horrible woman, got put on a verbal warning over Christmas. I find it disgusting that we are treated this way - I think more should be done to make employers aware of the illness. Good luck with your appeal. xx

agree with those suggesting you join/involve a union x

I'm also having the same sort of issue.

I started my job in August and I told them at my interview I was sick so they knew before I started.

My sickness was high (dr note for every single day) so I had a meeting with HR, they gave me a target of one sick day in 3 months. I broke that so I had another meeting with HR where they set me the same target.... Iv been off for 3 weeks now and I'm pretty sure I'll loose my job when I go back. I work for the NHS you think they'd understand? Also I'm waiting for my laperoscopy and they have told me to take it as holiday so it doesn't go against my sick record.

Iv been applying for this job for 6 years, it will destroy me to loose it :-( x

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