Fibromyalgia Action UK

Disciplinary hearing at work.

Hello

I was wondering if any of you ever had anything like this happened before.

I have been at work today and my partner messaged me I have a letter in the post saying I have a disciplinary meeting at work coming Tuesday cause my employer complained I had too many days off which stated, 17days from November to November. I work 4 days a week. They know about my fibro and chronic fatigue I have been with them for 4 years now.

I have only provided them with a print of my medical records which was given to me by my previous doctor. I wonder if that is enough to prove I have these conditions. It states there I have fibromyalgia and mild chronic fatigue. I was never asked by my employer for anything else to prove this.

I had to change the surgery due to the move and my current doctor is in the middle of doing refferal to pain clinic and I had my blood done recently again. But she doesn't know me well so I'm not sure if she will provide me with a supporting letter.

I am very worried because my company is small and this meeting is going to be led by people from HR private company who was hired by my boss. I am scared they going to try to catch me on everything I say.

I have never had this problem and I'm not even sure what I can do here I have only weekend and no doctors or CAB is open and have to be back to work on Monday.

Has anybody have any advice please I'm desperate.

Thank you

Kami

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Hi there Kami, I am not an expert on this but can not see why you can not get your GP to write you a cover note. It does not matter if they know you 10 days or 10 yrs all your latest and recent results will be on the GP's computer. They usually charge for this service just tell them what you need.

The other thing you could do which i have done often in the past with no bother at all. Write a note to you practise manager asking for a a copy of your test results and remember to put the dates of the tests you want the copies from. You can then take these along to the meeting .

Good Luck and i hope all go's well {{hugs}}

Mo

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Thank you for your reply will contact the doctors on Monday and fingers crossed will be able to get it asap :) hugs

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Contact ACAS first and then CAB

Write a letter to your employer and give t to them on Monday morning. In the letter you can say that you would like more time to prepare for the meeting and consult with some advisors and you think that 2 working days is not a reasonable amount of notice. 3 working days would be the min I would expect.

Also is it a disciplinary meeting or an investigation meeting? They should hold and investigation meeting and then review the conclusions of this and then arrange a disciplinary meeting.

ACAS will help you.

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Lovely thank so much. I will look into this options and definitely writhe the letter and contact acas :)

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I think it's investigation as it states it's been investigated by HR that my manager complained about my absence.

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I agree totally with this. You need to confirm that it is an investigatory meeting and that you need more time to prepare and get advice

Good luck

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Thank you yes will be postponing. Will email HR to state one working day is not sufficient time.

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I would suggest you take someone with you for any formal meetings as a witness as well.

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I can only take a member of staff and none of those people are sensible to take I have only 3 options or a member of union party which doesn't exist

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Hi i only work 2 days a week and have lost 8 days off sick due to fibro and recently being disgnosed with occipertal neuralgia, my employers and not very understanding ! So what i did was to give copies of both letters i received from my consultants with my diagnosis to my manager to put on file. Also i have regular meetings with occupational health who also support me. I appoligise for spelling fibro fog lol ! Good luck take care xx

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No occupational health has ever been in the picture where I work also I am just being referred to pain clinic and doctors said it's going to be difficult as it is as NHS is busy. Unfortunately I have no letters from consultants :(

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Hello

Ok, in the first instance, your employer should have referred you to occupational health, so that they can find out what is going on with your health and the things that you are doing to try to stay in work (e.g. Resting on your days off, physio, referrals to pain clinic)

You are covered by The Equality Act, which states that your employer must exhaust all reasonable adaptations to your work to try to keep you there (e.g. A comfy seat, change in work hours, etc) If they require advice regarding this, that is when they should involve HR. HR can then meet with you to see what changes you require, which they then report back to your employer. They then decide if the changes are reasonable adaptations.

What is your sickness policy? It is normally if you have over a certain % of your working time off sick, that should trigger a meeting with your manager. There should be stages to your sickness - stage 1 is the initial meeting with your manager, where they discuss what the problem was and how they can help you generally, in the workplace. Stage 2 is where they refer you to occupational health and HR & then act upon their advice. Stage 3 is then where they look at your 'fitness for purpose' (e.g. are you physically able to do the job). It normally takes approx a year to get to stage 3 and that would be if you continuously had time off sick.

As other people have said, do ask for more time to prepare (e.g. Get medical reports/evidence) and to also ask for clarification as to what stage of the sickness policy you are at.

This is only from personal experience - I went through all of this with the NHS. Even tho you say the company is only small, they should still have this sickness policy in place.

Best of luck x

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I have just received my staff handbook yesterday so about to study it today. But from I saw when I browsed through is similar to what you have written about stages. Meaning they haven't even bothered to speak to me.

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And thank you for your reply :)

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Hmm after reading all of the comments below this as well, if they did dismiss you, you can take them to 'unfair dismissal' court proceedings. If you don't even have a formal contract, that is illegal. Also, being given the staff handbook only yesterday beggars belief. Even though they're a small company, they still have to work to legal policies.

If they are overstaffed & have chosen you to dismiss, again, that reeks of unfair dismissal. Unless your standard of work is below acceptable, then they have to show why they have chosen you, and if this is because of sickness leave, due to your disability, then you have them under the equality act. If they had followed the sickness policy to the letter, then they would be in a better position, but as they have gone about this completely incorrectly, then the law is on your side.

I would also advise taking someone to the meeting, just so they can be a witness and your employer/HR cannot say you said something, when you didn't.

Also, keep a note of any meetings that you have (and any that you've had in the past, if you can remember!) At each meeting, ask what stage of the sickness policy you are at (they should inform you of this in the letter to 'invite' you to the meeting, but it shows you know what you're on about).

Finally, if you live in Coventry, send me a message and I'll come with you!! I love to fight employers like this 😆

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Hello

Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately I live in Norwich so a bit far I'd love to have someone like you with on a meeting haha

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Well I hope that things go along ok and am always happy to help :0)

Take care & best wishes x

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Fibromalgia has at least been recognised as a lifelong illness. This was only recently. Look online and get a print out of this to take as well. Your company might be looking ling term and seeing that you will be taking time off intermittently ling term If they are a small Company they may not be in a position to fund any temporary fill in staff. If you look on your Contract there may be something about it. I know this is happening in loads of Companies. Its a pity you attention a Union because a Union Rep could have fought your case. Look at the website Bullying in the Workplace. There might be something on there that will help. It is a very good site. You can't be sacked with one Disciplinary surely. Usually. It is a verbal warning. Then a written warning and the third time terminated. Do check your contract. All the best with this. Xx

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Unfortunately what I think is happening is that the company has too many employees atm and they pushed me out of every job I was doing and now they give me 'scraps' and it is their way of saying they want me out. I have a contract that was never extended apart from verbal contract. My boss doesn't 'belive' in contracts.

Thank you :)

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That is illegal. It doesn't matter what your boss believes, the law states that a contract has to be given. You could report your boss for failing to give you a contract. Seems like he is trying to avoid his responsiblities. CAB and ACAS are the first people to contact, alternatively an employment solicitor could advise. Whatever happens, don't quit. Make them dismiss you. it will put all the aces in your basket if it comes to suing them.

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Wow! Yes, as Midori says above, Simmeke83, that is totally illegal! They definitely aren't allowed to say they "don't believe in contracts". Please fight this in the way others have suggested here. Sorry you're having to go through this, especially when you're ill, but they can't bully you like this. Good luck!

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I'm not sure they can start with a disciplinary meeting. They MUST give two warnings, the first verbal, (which I know it sounds daft), which they must give you written proof of giving it to you. The second is a written warning, before they can take disciplinary action, at the THIRD warning. I believe this is a statutory law that they have to take. If you go before this HR company, I'm sure that they will confirm this. Good luck. D

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Thank you. Well this is what I thought as well always. I think they want to get rid of me.

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They might, but if they do, you need to make them pay. Don't go in alone, or you have no witness as to what is said. Also Citizens Advice can be helpful and it's free. D

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You could ask for a C.A.B member of staff with you if and when it goes to disciplinary. Contact them ASAP. Good luck x

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You can ask for a delay of the interview in order to get your facts/paperwork together before you attend This will give you more time to see your Dr or even see the CAB

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Hello Thank you. Yes I will be trying to postpone it. :)

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You can request more time as it is in your interests to be properly prepared. You need a copy of the company's sick policy and from that you can work out if they have gone through the stages (processes) of the policy correctly. You are allowed to take someone into the meeting with you but I really think in the first instance you need to have time to arrange this and get a copy of the sick policy. This meeting appears to have jumped all the 'normal' stages and gone from one to four without paying attention to following the sick policy. If you feel you need to attend I would see if at that meeting you can halt the process, to request more time to prepare and go through the company's sick policy. Also I agree with the comment from admin that the GP will support you with a letter regardless of how long you have known them, although if I am really honest GP letters have less and less weight now. Check if your company have an Occupational Health department as they can support you better in the work place and also make recommendations to your employer. 17 days in one year on 4 days per week probably exceeds most companies sick leave policy of 10 days but you are supposed to have meetings after every episode of sick leave and there is a process to follow, such as the stages of the sick policy. Please don't let yourself be bullied into thinking you need to go ahead with the meeting until you have had a chance to prepare. Also if this company have bought in HR they can buy in Occupational Health, as under the Equality Act you can be classed as disabled, which may sound extreme but it protects you a bit with your employer having to provide you with reasonable support to carry out your duties. Hope this makes sense and good luck!

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I just looked at the cab website re disaplinary help at work,

1 they should have sent a letter outlining the problem, which gives you the chance to speak informally. (as they've not done this they've gone straight to the formal route)

2 Write a letter and speak to Manager, Hr on Monday, you need to rearrange the meeting as you need time to prepare.

3 Definitely have someone with you, even a family member friend Not necessarily work colleague.

They should take notes.

4 If work knows about your illnesses you can be covered by the equalities act, they should make reasonable adjustments for you.

Definitely do not be pushed into this rushed meeting, are you in a union?

Make sure you have someone with you

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Hi Kami

Sorry to hear this, you must be very nervous and totally understandable.

I lost my very first full time job for having too many days off ill with recurrent tonsillitis, many many years ago now. At the time it didn't particular upset me so I just got another job, but 24 years on, I'm a lot wiser and I now know that there are things you can do, and that they cannot just rid you for being generally unwell.

Firstly off I were you I would write the GP a letter requesting him to write a letter confirming your illness and diagnosis, and attach a copy of the letter that your employer sent you. He'll see how urgent it is from that. Put it in an envelope marked Very Urgent and post it through your GP practice door on the way to work,if they're not open.

Because they are springing this on you so quickly, there's not a huge amount you can do to prepare, but you could take tonight and tomorrow, printing off some facts from FMUK website and Google explaining about chronic fatigue, though in fact it should be covered on FMUK website as we do suffer chronic fatigue as part of the condition. If you got some information about the condition, the employer might be more understanding and empathetic.

You could also print off some information about Disability Discrimination from Gov.UK website and Diability Rights UK website, as well as unfair dismissal, and keep it all in your bag. If they turn nasty and tell you they're 'letting go of you're as some do, take the bundle out of your bag, hand it to them, and say "I'd like to leave you with this", and then when you get home, make an application to The Employment Tribunal.

Here's a link if they do sack you, gov.uk/dismissal/what-to-do...

Hope things go ok and please let us know how things go.

Claire x

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OMG I am so overwhelmed by the support everyone is giving me here I am sorry I haven't replied to every single post I'm in the process of research of all those things every single one of you have advised me. I am so grateful for your help and mental support I will keep you updated on the outcome. Thank you again so much glad to know there are people out there than are so kind. Sending lots of love to all of you ! :) XXX

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Hi hunni, take a deep breath, you’re okay and you will be okay. Lots of brilliant help here. I was lucky and had a Union to support me, but I did keep my job.

Insist you have time to arrange things, even if they say ‘can they just have a little word?’ Don’t fall for it, take someone else in too! With FM stress makes us less able to think clearly and remember what was said.

They are more likely to let you be if they can see you are not going to be a pushover. You can stay nice and polite but if they insist on this meeting, go but don’t stay. Don’t sit down. Just respectfully say you need time to prepare, as stated in your email, and please email you the new meeting time and date. Then leave.

Only talk to them via email, letter or with company, like a friend. Print every email. Keep everything noted. Time and date too. Keep in a folder at home.

Forward emails to your partner if you can’t do this. You need to build evidence. All my emails too personnel had my initials on the title line so I could track them. They could see what I was doing.

We remained friendly but they were surprised that I stood up for myself. You seem a gentle person so maybe they think an easy target?

All the best

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Hello just a last bit I need to know . Is fibromyalgia regarded as disability in UK and where can I find such information to print for them.

Thank you

Kami

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Hello

Fibro is regarded as a disability, and it will be covered under The Equality Act, under the disability section, as fibro fits the criteria.

Also google fibro U.K. Disability - there should be several reports/news items stating that fibro is now classed as a disability in the U.K.

See also:

nhs.uk/conditions/fibromyal...

google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc....

The Equality Act:

legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/20...

I hope they help x

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Hello

Just letting you guys that were interested how did my meeting go. I am not pleased with it didn't have much chance to explain myself they just shot me with lots of questions, unrelated as well to upset and provoke me. Now waiting for the decision. They gonna contact my doctor and decide if they want to reduce my hours. Also they tried wrong amount of days sick on me and she had one Sunday put as my day sick which is absurd. I never worked weekends. It all caused me such stress I feel like a zombie. Now at work they give me awful tasks to do in a freezing warehouse :( Thank you for all your help xxx

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