Endometriosis UK
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Feeling pressured by employer - again!! Please help!

If you've read some of my previous posts about my employer, I'm having more hassle.

Okay so they've been okay about my reduced hours and I've been incredibly happy with working shorter shifts and it's done my pain & fatigue a world of good. But, I can't help but feel I'm being pushed into going back full time. They keep saying how a phased return isn't a permanent thing and I know that but I really feel I am not physically able yet to do a full weeks work which is 37.5 hours with 9/10 hour days. Right now I'm working 4/5 hours and that is plenty but this week will be the end of my phased return 2 weeks and I'm terrified to say I need another week.

So I've been doing fine with my shorter hours, haven't had a single day off since I started back. But, today, was the worst day in a while. My whole body ached and my pain was so intense it is making me physically ill. I had to call in sick this morning. So I called as soon as I was awake and left a voicemail only to find a message a few hours later from a colleague telling me one of the team leaders (the one I've previously had problems with) will call me. This is not my team leader and not the woman who I left the voicemail with. I feel like I'm being punished for being ill. It's not like I'm calling in sick with a cold, I have chronic pain!!

I am terrified of going in tomorrow and being ambushed.

I cannot lose my job over this, I can't afford for that to happen but I'm terrified it's going to.

I have no idea who is above our team leaders so I don't know who else I could speak to.

I'm terrified.

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I have similar problems. Going back full time tomoro. Work for NHS and they are the most uncaring re management.

Do you have occupational health or a union? They shouldn't be phoning you while you are off sick as its just adding more stress.

Are you able to speak to your team lead and explain the pressure is making your symptoms worse? Xx

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I'm not sure, I'm sure there will be a union but I don't think I'm part of it!

I have no idea how to ask to speak to someone higher?

I feel like they just don't care. They hate the fact I'm on morphine and I feel like they're just looking for any excuse to fire me :( xxx

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Hugs. First of all. Your health and recovery is THE most important thing. Try not to anticipate the worst, it's unlikely to happen.

Even if it did. Ultimately if they decide they want to fire you you can't stop them, so there is no point sweating about it. It's worth though keeping evidence of conversations etc to support an equality act discrimination claim if you were to be minded to.

The main thing is there is no point in letting yourself get anxious about it, it will just stress you out and aggravate your symptoms.

Don't be afraid to say you need a more gradual phased return, this is a positive thing returning which you can use in your defense. it's about ensuring that it is a success which of course both parties want.

And don't be intimidated by the wrong colleagues contacting you. It could be an innocent availability thing, ask why if definitely not innocent, you can flag that it seems inappropriate, due to history or heirarchy and if it's distressing ask it not to be done again. ( If they do, there is evidence for you)

Keeping the conversation fact based and outcome focused ( your successful return) should put you in a good position.

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Thankyou for your comment.

I'm trying not to overthink and overanalyse the situation but that's just what I do!!

The main thing that is aggravating me is they knew full well my health when employing me, it was actually the woman who is giving me so much grief who done my interview so she knew full well.

I was naive about the recovery time needed for surgery and I admitted that to them but they way they treated me, it's like it's my fault.

I really feel like I ament ready to go back full time yet but I'm feeling very forced into doing so.

They keep telling me anther colleague who was off long term sick only had 2 days of phased return hours, it's like they're making me feel guilty? X

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Keep calm and if you suspect they're trying to make you feel guilty, let it go right over your head. This colleague with the shorter phased return, did they have the same health issue? I doubt it...so the two situations are completely different... Mentally chuck it in the ignore bucket.

Gx

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But you're right, I want to be in work!

I don't want days off but some times it's necessary but ultimately I do want to work! X

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I just called ACAS for some legal advice and I had the most unsympathetic operator on the phone basically just saying until I get a diagnosis it is just "women's problems" and chronic pain isn't at all a disability so yes I can be dismissed... Just when I thought this day couldn't get any worse!!

I am terrified to go in tomorrow :( xx

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I don't think that's correct actually and the person was an arsehole.

The whole act is about impact severity and duration. You rock those you are covered. Women's stuff can go wrong medically and need for a procedure indicates severity. That's like saying a man impacted by prostate is just having "man's troubles" and extremely sexist. CAB may be more useful support source if you've a decent one.

I read the guidance notes pdf on the equality act website and you don't have to have a formal diagnosis. But the duration is important. Will try to find the link. But again don't let the situation get to you plan what points you want to get across. Write it in a letter if need be. What you need. Why you need it. The link stating medical recovery facts as supporting evidence. Build your case. Fact by fact so they cannot dispute it. Whatever it takes to keep calm and avoid anxiety and avoid emotional reactions in the moment.

You will be okay.

Don't take any of it personally. They are just pushing for an early full return out of desire for corporate productivity.

If you are making progress even if slower than hoped they have no grounds to dismiss, and there is a strict process in terms of official warnings before they can get to that point.

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I couldn't have put it better than Starry! My boss is woman and lead nurse and still treats me like im complaining abt a bit of cramp!!

I have RTW today but really don't care as when I thought abt it I realised this is the quality of the rest of my life so nobody will stop me in my treatment and recovery. Think it should be classed as disability but unfortunately not yet.

write down what you need to say and stick to it. Tell them you've had to write it down as very stressed and nervous.

Honestly the worry will make your symptoms worse so try take each day as it comes.

let us know how it goes xx

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So document the things that they say that are exerting pressure on you. If need be, politely call them out over it. Each health case is unique and it is entirely inappropriate and unsupportive and counter productive to adversely compare you to a different persons case as HR professionals they should know this. They may simply be behaving as corporate robots and not be aware of the effect they are having. You could give them sections of this pdf to enlighten them which describes the 12 week internal healing process and variables influencing pace of recovery centerforendo.com/is-my-end...

If they persist after flagging your concern then you know they do have an agenda.( More evidence for you)

I would feel exactly like you do, don't be hard on yourself. XXX if need be go see a GP, I found them to be helpful in being prescriptive about phasing returns which again will give you evidence of why you need to pace yourself to avoid a set back.

I have yet to brave my rtw. Still 5 weeks off.

Big hugs X X X X X

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Thankyou for commenting!

I'm very nervous. I don't know how to approach a meeting with HR? Do I tell my team leader I want to see them? I still feel so new and I feel like they are really pressuring me as I'm still in my probationary period.

I just feel like giving up :( xx

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I would try to keep it informal. But if it gets official eg HR plus your manager then you can always ask for an advocate to be with you for support. In advance write down the points you want to discuss and the supporting facts or examples. It will be fine.

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I don't even know how to start the conversation? I imagine I'll have a RTW tomorrow with my team leader and that will probably just be her telling me I ament fit for work :(

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Do you know who the HR person is? Can you phone them and say you want to flag some concerns with the way your manager is handling your return to work and ask to have a meeting to discuss how to resolve the concerns you have in order to get a successful rtw outcome.

Don't let it be a big deal in your head.

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Thats awful xx I was sacked 4 weeks ago via text message after being off 3 days unwell. They havent a clue!! x

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Oh goodness that's terrible!!! X

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i know i couldnt believe it ❤️

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That's horrible, and probably illegal. What are you doing now? Have you had any advice about this? x

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I was in hospital last week i took anaphylaxis shock after taken mefanemic acid that the doc prescribed for my periods but im seeking legal

action after what my ex boss has done as i have two young kids and a house xo

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That's terrible! I'm so sorry your employer is being so vile after what you've been through. Good luck. I hope you're feeling better now? xx

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thanks so much xo im getting there it was very scary my blood pressure went down to 40/30 thank goodness for fast acting doctors xo but been suffering panic attacks since the shock in fear itl happen again. but slowly getting over that :) xo

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It may help you feel less panicked if you write and keep a small laminated card with you that states you cannot have mefanemic acid. Also, you can download apps on some smartphones where you can store your health information. Some of these allow users to bypass log-ins for emergencies (although I don't know how used they are). What about a medical bracelet that you can wear every time you go to a hospital? You can get them made for whatever you need. I know how it is with the NHS, you have to say the same things over and over and information simply isn't stored. I have some severe medical allergies, so I keep all my information in a pack and hand it over when I have an operation, then demand it back afterwards! At least I know if I'm unconscious, they can/should refer to it. I'm glad you're feeling better now and hopefully if you can take some control of your information, you will worry less. xx

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thank u so so much!! thats all really helpful!! my mums sorting a medical bracelet for me as my brother is a diabetic so he has one so just sourching one for myself. thank you for your really kind messages xo

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xxx

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Hello, Stacey,

You've had good advice so far, but I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you're feeling pressure from work. You should not have had any contact from your employer while you were off ill, and this is a breach of your employee rights.

Also, the person from ACAS was completely out of order and should never have said such a thing to you. I suggest you call again and speak to someone else. I've found them to be most helpful in the past. I think you got a bad apple that time.

I suggest speaking again to ACAS for advice with your 'chronic illness' - which you have - and as your employer knew about your illness when you were hired, they would struggle to sack you without repercussions. If you're told you don't yet have a diagnosis and therefore without a 'protected characteristic', you can get a GP note stating that a diagnosis is pending. I had this exact situation when I was diagnosed 'in principle' with cancer (when they are pretty sure but waiting for lab results) and that was accepted until I had the confirmed diagnosis.

Also, UK employment law requires employers to make reasonable adjustments and allow flexible working when possible. If they force you to return full-time next week only to have you go off ill again, they are damaging your health and are probably in breach of the law. Small companies tend to be the worst (in my experience) for simply ignoring laws.

As others have suggested, speak to a union and see if they can also offer support.

If you'd like to PM me, I would be more than happy to help find a union in your field of work that could help you.

Don't let them bully you. Bullying is illegal. Look after yourself. xx

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Some links

Equality act disability guidance

equalityhumanrights.com/en/...

Advisory service run by equality act:

equalityadvisoryservice.com

Workplace adjustments info

equalityhumanrights.com/en/...

Note employer cannot dismiss you for needing a reasonable adjustment.

Link to guidance

equalityhumanrights.com/en/...

Guidance on definition of disabled under the act for qualification for protection

gov.uk/government/uploads/s...

A summary of your rights

gov.uk/government/uploads/s...

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Speak to the company itself or whoever is higher than the person who is giving you problems. I had the same issue and now it's solved

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Just a little update ladies!!

The team leader who I'm having problems will called me.

She said that I need to bring in all my medication tomorrow for my return to work meeting.

She also said they can write to my GP and access my medical records if I got them permission. She said if I could go to my GP and get a report of some kind saying how this affects me and the plan for the future.

Also, she said they will be sending me to occupational health for an assessment.

And finally, she said I did not make them aware this would be a long term thing at my interview. I said at my interview I was under investigation for having endometriosis and I would be having a laparoscopy and that's why I was saying I would need time off. How can that not be telling them?

Ugh!!

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Sorry, why do you need to take your medication in? And they want access to your medical records?!?

As for the final comment, they have google don't they? You told them, it's up to them to figure out what it means for them.

Edited to add - write all this down. Dates, approx. times, what was said.

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I don't know, she just said to take all my medication in? And yeah they said they will write to my GP!

Exactly!! I couldn't believe she said that? I definitely said endometriosis!!! Xx

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OMG! I would ask them why they want to see your medication. It's really none of their business.

Again with the medical records, why do they want to see them?

I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable than me will be along in a minute, but it sounds very wrong to me.

One of my managers told me that my other manager 'didn't understand' why I needed a laparoscopy and I'm still kicking myself for not saying 'well, with all due respect, she's not a doctor so is it realistic that she would understand every medical condition?'

Otherwise you told them the situation, that's it.

Keep your notes, keep calm and don't be bullied into divulging info you don't need to.

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Basically to prove I'm sick!!

Just feel so unsupported!! Xx

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When I was being hired, they asked if I had any medical conditions and I said I was being treated for endometriosis and she laughed at me and said that it wasn't relevant at all???!!!?? People just really don't get it! Keep your head up chick, try not to stress about it all tonight, get some good rest and go in organised! x

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Omg!! That's awful!! Thankyou, I will do x

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Most people do not realise what endo means. They think you just take the pill or something and that's it. They don't understand the pain, fatigue and myriad of other symptoms. They can't get their heads around the multiple surgeries. It's a hormonal problem to many or 'just' endometrium in the wrong place..

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They can request your medical history but you have to give consent and you can request to see what they are sending to your employer before they do. You can also ask for them to take things out if you think it will make your employer view you unfavourably. They can also request a list of your meds, but they have to give you a reasonable explanation for why they are asking for it. It might be for health and safety reasons. I'm not sure what you do but if they are unsure exactly what meds you are on, it will be harder for them to make reasonable adjustments for you to ensure you and your colleagues are safe. Hopefully occupational health should be able to give your employer reasonable alterations to your job to make it easier x

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I totally understand how you feel I am going through the same thing , my phase return has been 4 weeks , always speak to hr have occupational health assessed you ? Are you in a union ? These things have helped me to have a leg to stand on , but I have still had a lot of problem , on of my supervisory team said , we all have pain full periods , I was in total shock I am still so angry now . I am actually realising I need to find a job with less pressure and closer to home I currently have a huge commute, I really hope you get sorted don't get stressed, your health and happiness come first ! Stay strong , things will all work out x

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Thankyou for commenting! I'm the part of a union but I'm looking into it. My team leader said something about sending me to occupational health! Xx

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