Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Disciplinary hearing for exceeding absences allowed within 6 months.

Hello everyone. I have just come across this website as I am gathering info to face disciplinary hearing I have been summoned to despite my absences being related to fibromyalgia. I had an "unexpected" so called "investigation" with my area manager 4 weeks ago, and since "his impression was (right from the start, and I believe must have been for quite some time) that THE SITUATION IS VERY UNLIKELY TO IMPROVE THEREFORE I AM REFERRING YOU FOR A DISCIPLINARY HEARING".

The notes taken during that meeting clearly state my situation, and how all my absences were caused by my fibromyalgia condition.

I received notification(by email) of the disciplinary hearing on Monday 27th August (Bank holiday), telling me to attend on the following Thursday. I postponed, twice...any help out there please?

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Hi, I’ve had about a month off in past year and my work sent me for occupational health appointment and I’m still waiting to hear from work as I know they had the report but they are questioning it due to lack of helpful advice! However on the report the occasional health doctor did put that in her opinion I would be classified as disabled under the equality act 2010. So from what I understand they now have to help keep me in work. (I suffer from Fibromyalgia, possibility of something else too as my inflammation levels keep rising and exhaustion wipes me out so on steroids at the moment, plus SAD)

Not sure if you could ask your work with a referral to occupational health to see if there is anything they can do to help keep you in work?

Maybe also take someone into the meeting with you do you have a rep? Or know someone who you know is understanding and aware of the health issues. Not sure if you can take just anyone in though.

Sorry can’t be more help. Hopefully others on here can assist further x

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hi there, thanks for your reply. It always helps QUITE A LOT just knowing "this is not just happening to me"...I have been referred to the fibromyalgia clinic (I'm in London), provided employer with relevant info as well as extracts from the clinic website, where it's clearly stated that I would not have been accepted had I not previously been given diagnosis of fibro. For anyone with any brain, that statement alone would be more than sufficient to confirm that I do in fact suffer with fibromyalgia, hence I have a disability, hence all those absences (which aren't even that many). Funny enough, the option of being referred for an occupational health assessment was never on the table, despite my suggestions. I work in retail, for a big, well known chain on the high street.

thanks again for your advice x

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Hi, you certainly aren’t alone in this situation and I have read of others in same position as you/me on here. As I’ve been told by different people the trouble is because it’s not something people can see they don’t understand what it’s like and instead of asking to find out more they instead think it’s nothing and we making it up. So not only do we have to battle with ourselves to just get out of bed we have to then battle the negative things people say.

Hopefully someone else on here can be of more help. But please note you are not alone we are here to support each other because we understand! Just wish it was easier to get others to understand and help us more. Because we want to work and live a normal life as possible. X

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Agree, agree and agree! yes, the point is precisely that. "how can it be hurting when it cannot be seen". the ignorance of many adds unnecessary grief to what is already hard enough to live with...thanks luv x

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Hi I had a lot of time off work with fibromyalgia and stress and yeah I ended up in capability hearing I have now been put on a final warning even though occ health my doctor and union stepped in I have reduced my hours at work to try help with my absences but was told that the company cannot afford me being off sick (just to put this in perspective I work for one of the big six energy companies for more than 10 years and I work very hard and have always been praised as one of there better members of staff ) but they have not been understanding at all one of the section managers had expressed an opinion that fibro is just in your head there is nothing wrong with me just an excuse I told the union raised a grievance and was moved from my area but nothing happened to her I am happy in my new team the hours are better but still in a lot of pain every day and yes I still struggle with 16 hours but 40 was just to much for me money worries have been sorted out with the help of step change if it was not for the fact that 2 days a week I can try and act like my life has not change I would stop work all together . Do you have a union rep that can attend the meeting with you and what kind of work do you do?

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Hi. thanks for your reply. I work in retail, for a main "healthy living" company (not sure I can name it). I work part-time, 16hours a week, in the shop, very close to my house. No, I do not have, nor do I know, a union rep, nor have I even enquired the option. This all sprung on me on 2nd August, and then the email "inviting me to a disciplinary hearing", which I received on Monday Bank holiday (Monday just gone). As far as I have been reading up to now, it doesn't sound to me they have any ground whatsoever, especially since the notes taken (from the area manager) during the investigation meeting on 2nd August, shout out, very clearly, that my absences are all related to my fibromyalgia. Moreover, those small changes that would make my life easier (hence avoid absences), do not entail any major effort from neither the company nor for the other staff members.

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If you are in a union, you have a right to have a rep with you at the meeting, and they have to reschedule to accommodate this.

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Hi TriciaW5, thanks for your replies. No, I'm not in any union (wish I was), and wouldn't even know where to start with that with such short notice. For the time being I feel I can work, I just don't get the whys of all this unnecessary stress...

The hearing is on Monday so I won't have enough time to find/contact any union..xx

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If you have enough information and support now, OK.

But you could join this weekend, if you want to, and talk to someone first thing on Monday (I used to be a union rep, retired now).

Here are two of the largest unions in the UK plus a list of all the unions in the TUC:

usdaw.org.uk/Join-Us/Good-R...

gmb.org.uk/join/why-belong-...

tuc.org.uk/unions

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I don't, not as far as union rep are concerned. Many thanks for those links, I'm going to check them out now. have lovely weekend x

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Hi Scarlett - If you work for a healthy living company - at least the one I saw - then this situation is even more absurd and unfair than ever. They of all people should understand.. Here's hoping for the best at your hearing...

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thank you so much sweetheart. how lovely it is all this support so many of you, people that don't even know me, whilst people that do know me are being so incredibly adverse and nasty xx

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It seems to me that we are in an odd place now. Everyone is so convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong. It's disheartening to say the least. It also helps if you are talking to people that understand what you are dealing with, and there are not actually that many of us... I read a statistic that said 5% of the worlds population has FM, but not sure how they derived that number. That is about 1 out of every 20 people. The likelihood of your co-workers having it is pretty small, so there you go. We on the other hand understand 100% =)

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Have a union rep with you at any meetings or a trusted work colleague, this is your right. Never attend alone and do not feel pressured to resign, let the procedure run its course. Good luck xxx

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Hi Lou1054, thanks for your reply. unfortunately I don't know any union rep, and the hearing is this coming Monday. as far as work colleagues are concerned..people tend to "play deaf" when situations of this kind arise....xxx

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I must admit I felt much more confident yesterday....when I began to believe that, since Fibro is a recognised disability, there's very little, if anything at all, stroppy employers can do to further complicate our lives....the more I read here though, the more I think "little did I know...":(

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Hi Scarlett7, Please give ACAS a call and they will advise you. Do not resign, there is a procedure your employer has to follow. How long have you worked for the company?

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I have worked for this company since december 2015. I did give ACAS a call couple of days ago, and it was the most useless. after about 20 minutes of me explaining the situation, the lady on the other end simply said "you still don't know what they're going to say", and there was me reading to her AGAIN the actual email where the points that will be discussed were listed. Her conclusion was "wait til you hear what they have to say", which to me doesn't really make any sense..

thanks for your reply x

I've been doing a very extensive, thorough research since I got that first email last Monday, and all the info I so far came across is that this behaviour from my employer is simply unfair and against all aspects of the Equality Act 2010. Am I wrong?

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Have work asked for any medical reports from your GP?

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I have given them copy of my appointment at the fibromyalgia clinic, and also forwarded to them relevant info from the clinic website, where it states "referrals will only be considered upon diagnosis of fibromyalgia already confirmed.

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Have a look on CAB disability illness list. Look at section: Showing you're disabled under the Equality Act

I am no expert, you need to ask CAB for advice. 😊

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yes I have done so...hence this situation sounds more and more absurd and ridiculous, according to all I've read I would ve thought they're clearly acting against few articles of the EA, are they not??/

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Sorry only way to post this article on bbc news. Maybe someone can copy the link and post again. Fibromyalgia: 'Like red hot lava radiating through my body'

bbc.co.uk/news/stories-4536...

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which is exactly what it is like....

thanks Minty 1972 x

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Silly phone is oiled only let me paste the link in the reply box. I am always in pain but have managed to block most of it out

Maybe the lady that is on this group in a hearing with her employer can use this as it was on the bbc news today

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i am playing that link right now. I have spoken to that lady, Louise, over the phone, and i am member of her group Illuminate freedom. its on facebook. she runs support groups in Islington.

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Mad Apple phone would not let me post anywhere else but I am sure many will be watching

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when I spoke to her she told me about this documentary being in the making

check out Illuminate freedom on facebook

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Welcome to FMAUK Community Scarlett7 ! :)

Hope you've been finding your way around the site OK and I see you've had a few replies from our lovely members about work issues.

Did you know that FMAUK have a Benefits Advisor who can help discuss work related issues with you, so I've posted the link below with the contact information should you wish to ring/email her;

healthunlocked.com/fibromya...

As a newbie, I notice your post is not locked to this community only, it will generate more replies if you remember to do this as most members prefer to answer locked posts. Here's a link about how to lock posts if you would like to do so;

healthunlocked.com/fibromya...

I hope you find this to be a supportive online network

All the best

Emma :)

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HI Emma. thanks, much appreciated.

I joined fibromyalgia action uk few months ago, and I've noticed the two sites are linked. yeah I will definitely look into the link for the adviser right away...somehow I have begun to panic after reading all the posts...:(

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I am so sorry, I've been through this and it is unpleasant and tough, but you need to try to think through what you want. It's easy to just keep pushing, and exhaustion makes it hard to stop and look again at your life.

Don't think about money for a minute and consider these questions:

Do you feel you'd be better off healthwise stopping work and claiming ESA? Would you like to stay in your job but reduce your hours? Would flexitime help?

If you really want/need to stay in your job, then are you in a union?

Make sure you know your rights as a disabled person to reasonable adjustments.

citizensadvice.org.uk/work/...

I hope it goes well.

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Did they inform you in writing of this hearing and did they give you the option of having a friend in the hearing with you ? They are not allowed to dismiss you unless the following has been adhered to 1 verbal warning 2 Written warning 3 Final written warning ALL in writing. There must be a period of a minimum of 3 moths between each warning to give you time to either improve or resign.

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Hi Heliboy911,

sorry I missed this reply yesterday. thanks for the info, very helpful x

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Do Not Resign, it will cause all kinds of problems with claiming JSA. DWP will say you have made yourself 'intentionally unemployed' and will impose a waiting period for you to get benefit. With a child, this would be disastrous to you.

As you have worked at the company for more than 2 years, they cannot just sack you, or they can be in a whole world of trouble under the Equalities Act. There are procedures they must follow. They must make reasonable adjustments to your working conditions (but this can be a red herring; what they consider reasonable may not be the same as you hope). They should be able to send you to Occupational Health for an assessment of your ability to keep on with work. If possible, ask for a letter of support from your Doctor.

Do you claim any benefits. this could help you in your dispute with the company? Fibro on it's own doesn't necessarily classed as an automatic disability; it depends on how it affects your everyday life.

After you have this meeting, get back in touch with ACAS, also contact CAB. Remember they can't just sack you. There have recently been several quite high profile cases of people whose companies have tried to sack them getting Media attention and sometimes monetary payouts afterwards.

Hope this is of some help.

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hi there. sorry i missed your reply yesterday (as quite few more, it appears). Thanks for the useful info. Yesterday I got really worked up and upset about all this, and I was practically crippled last night with excruciating pains. which makes me wonder, should they not be liable for this extra stress, that is in fact aggravating my condition right now?

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Hard to tell; It can be construed as mental distress at being disbelieved, but it's hard to prove, unfortunately?

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