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Next stage - job gone. Where do I go from here?

I haven,t posted for a while as I am trying to deal with imminent changes in my life. My employment is about to end - great. I have finally found a job in my working life that I love and I am being forced out of the door. Most people will tell me I am protected by law but honestly I have not got the wherewithall to fight it. I promise you I really haven't. There are too many complications. And I really cannot manage them all in my brain. Prior to encephalitis I would be up for the fight, but also prior to encephalitis the situation wouldn't exist. I make mistakes at work and also forget to do essential tasks and as I am a lone worker and solely responsible for our administration services across a large area covering a number of counties I can genuineley see that my employer has a point. The annoying part of all this is that I am still intelligent enough, it is just that my motor neurone skills and memory or lack of it, can often let me down. I care enough about my job and the clients we serve to accept this but it is so hard to say good bye to it.

It is ironic as the office is physically moving in 3 weeks and I still keep forgetting to hand my notice in. ( there is a pattern emmerging here....) I think that this is because deep down I don't want to do it! Or it is simply the current adage - I forget! My boss won't let me travel the extra distance (30 miles plus) to the new location so therefore I will have to go when the office closes its doors on the last day of its current location.( My boss is waiting for my letter of resignation which we have discussed and she has asked me to do. This was done verbally and I agreed verbally - keep forgetting to do it) To be very honest I agree - the thought of driving that distance in all weathers makes me very nervous and I genuinely am concerned that this extra pressure on my working day will lead to a road accident and increased forgetting of tasks to be done at work. My boss has also said that she will pay me for the last week of the month when I am not attending work because the office has moved and for the reasons above I am not able to be there. My husband retires at the end of May and we will be relying on my meagre p/t wages to feed us - well that was the plan.

Looking for and obtaining another job with my condition is nigh on impossible and the dole office (don't know the current title) will not pay me any unemployment monies if I leave my job. Could I appeal their decision? Does anybody know? Sureley these are exceptionial circumstances? Not too sure that exceptional circumstances exist in the world of employment legislation and money entitlement. This is so unfair - I have worked my whole adult life with only a break of 1 year when I had my children and it would be nice to think that the state could care for one of its hard workers who has fallen on difficult times. Guess that is cloud cuckoo land.

Sorry folks for moaning , but I am just more than a little lost with this one. I know other people have far more worries than me and live with greater disablities than myself but I really do not know where to go with this. Any suggestions will be welcome.

Clare

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Am so sorry to hear that you are having to leave your job Clare. I haven't been able to work since I got an ABI from bacterial meningitis, cerebral abcesses, strokes etc. I know nothing about employment law but wouldn't it be better for you if you boss made you redundant so that it is not you who has 'left your job'? That way then you might be entitled to benefits sooner?

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Hello Strawberry - I know she is not going to make me redundant as the job in itself is not redundant - they will employ some-one else when I leave as the role will need to be filled as some one has to do this job. I do not understand the legal side of redundancy in any great depth but what I do know is that the role itself has to be redundant. Thank you so very much for your very quick response, I really do appreciate it. My main problem is how long would I have to wait before the state asists me. I am 60 years old and could be dead before they recognise me!!!!!! Only joking. You have a loveley day - the sun is shining here so I am either going to "play" in the garden or pop over to see my grandchldren. Motto for today is "worry about tomorrow when it comes". Take Care Clare x

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No I don't understand employment law either! When did you have Encephalitis? I am similar age to you. Enjoy you time with the grandchildren.

Caroline x

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Hi Caroline

I contracted encephalitis 2 years ago and have just about managed to hang onto my job in that time. So I guess to some degree I have been lucky. My my you have been through the wars haven't you? We must chat some more - just got a lovely feeling you and I will get on. Off to see the grandchildren now. My daughter has told me to forget about my work issues and just enjoy Easter Sunday - so I will do as am I told and worry about tomorrow - tomorrow! Clare x

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Regarding benefit from your description you would have to have "Good cause" to leave your employment, to receive Job Seekers Allowance (unemployment benefit), "Good cause" is not prescribed so a dispute is possible.

Another option may be Employment Support Allowance (sickness benefit).

The situation you describes has so many facets you really need face to face advice, an experienced adviser would love to get their teeth in to this.

A CAB may be able to address all these issues, Welfare Rights for benefit issues and you may qualify for Legal Aid concerning the employment matter, as discrimination may be present and Legal Aid is still available for discrimination matters.

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Thank you so very much Sealiphone - you are a godsend. I was unaware of "Good Cause" so with the help from my daughter we can look into this in more detail. I am being realistic , however, and not expecting a guarantee that this will work for me. Can I please ask you to clarify who would be an experienced advisor and where would I find one - CAB? or the job centre itself? (hardly likely , but worth a guess). Once again many many thanks for your interest and response. Clare

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During the Golden Period of CAB 1990- 2013 many bureau could deal with such complex issues, now it varies greatly it's all down to the changes to Legal Aid and lack of funding locally. So if your bureau isn't able they may know another agency who cover such issues.

The Job Center will have a Disability Employment Adviser who can help with employment issues, although I've not worked with any for years, I wouldn't be surprised if this has reduced funding as well, the ones I've know were all excellent.

What I would regard as a experienced adviser are harder to find now, most I've know have lost their jobs, a lot now work for a Welfare Rights service due to the above. Again if your area has such a service will depend on local councils.

Some of the Headway groups also have advice available, the last one I provided advice to also had paralegals who gave decent advice.

Unfortunately it comes down to were you live, however a fantastic resource regarding discrimination is the Equality & Human Rights Commission website.

equalityhumanrights.com/en

Lot's of information concerning duties of the employer.

Anything else just ask, I could probably right a dissertation around all this but I'll stop now.

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Clare take Sealiphones advice this needs a bit of effort putting in to fight.

Dont just hand your notice in thats the easy way out for your employer but not you.

You will be the one coming off badly from this and you cant affird to. Please say you will seek advice.

Janet x

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Thanks for that I didn't make it clear, if CH56Twin is going to leave work and doesn't want to challenge employer, the background to that may be detrimental to a JSA claim, so definitely get advice before terminating employment.

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Hi Janet

Yes I will seek advice - going to tell my employer tomorrow when she skypes me - which she will do with "Where is your resignation?" Then off to see a solicitor/ CAB the following day. Clare

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Have occupational health been involved?

Other options that could be considered and I can't remember the legal wording but it is something like being dismissed on grounds of incapacity to fulfill all of the role.

Early retirement due to disability.

Both of these would mean that you would not have to resign.

Did the employer look at a possible job share? Or reasonable adjustments?

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Thank you Janet - yes I will seek advice. My biggest problem is ME. This damned memory problem keeps tripping me up everywhere. I have really good intentions to deal with life and its issues but on the final hurdle I just fall by simply forgetting. One of my main issues is I cannot defend myself on a one to one basis, because I lack the confidence to follow through my often very valid points, because under any pressure I will forget what I have said 5 minutes ago - please believe me this is no exaggeration and is extremeley frustrating. My meetings with my manager are via Skype so there are no witnesses or support for me when I have those conversations (lone worker) and Looking at this situation here in my bedroom right now I see the absurdity of the situation I find myself in. I was a good union rep many years ago and would shudder at this situation for any other individual. But for me now I am very much pretty useless at defending myself. This is not a sob story it is simply the truth and my own current inadequacies are very maddening. Clare

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I can fully understand being a union rep and not being able to deal with your own situation even without your TBI symptoms. I've know experienced advisers who've needed help, as stress can make anyone struggle when it's there own situation.

I know Skype calls can be recorded, although I've no experience on how to do this, this could definitely be an advantage for both the employment matters and benefit claims.

Early retirement is a contractual matter and if your contract has such terms you need to be very careful as taking this could effect both benefits, employment unfair dismissal/discrimination claim and occupational pension rights.

Again best not to commit yourself until you've received face to face advice.

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It is hard to deal with stuff like this when your memory is shot to pieces. Best to do everything in writing.

First thing would be to check your contract and see whether there is a clause in there that requires you to work anywhere the employer says. This is important, but not critical in your case because of the other issues. Then write and explain your concerns regarding the long drive in relation to the impact of a post-encephalitic brain injury. Ask your employer what 'reasonable adjustments' they will be making to your role now that they have moved the office to enable you (as a disabled person under the Equality Act) to continue in your post.

If I were you I would make some reasonable suggestions that would work from your perspective, such as 'virtual' or distance working, so that you don't have to travel; changes to your hours; or a redistribution of and changes to elements of your role.

They will need to then respond to that. If they don't feel that there is a financially solid/operationally solid business case to make such 'reasonable adjustments' then they need to terminate your employment (with the required notice period) on grounds of incapacity or make you redundant on the basis that there is no longer a job for you on your current terms and conditions (i.e. at your contracted place of work - depending on whether you have a mobility clause in your contract or not).

You can then take that notice of termination of employment to the jobcentre and your situation is then not down to you - which, by the way, it isn't and shouldn't be (as I think you are aware, hence your 'forgetful' reluctance).

Your employer may want to take appropriate legal advice when presented with such a request. They can afford to - you can't. Nor can you afford to be forced out of a role without the protection the law affords to people in your situation.

CAB provision has been decimated by the government's austerity cuts. If you can find an adviser they are great. Otherwise if you search your local solicitors you may find some do a 'free hour' surgery. My thoughts above are based on my own experience and my career in local government management but I am neither a HR professional nor particularly up to date (I was retired myself 7 years ago on medical grounds!) - so please check with an advisor. Best of luck.

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Thank you so much malatete- your advice is gold dust to me. I have previously suggested to my employer I do work from home but she dismissed this idea immediatley. Personally I do beleive that my role could be done from any where and that indeed an office is now not required due to new technology which they have introduced in the last few months (No more paper work). Indeed myself and a volunteer have taken the very first steps in introducing this technology in a real work exercise. Conclusion for me is that they simply want me out. Having said this with the encouragement from good people like yourself on this site I have now decided that as unpalatable as all this is to me I will "encourage" my employer to dismiss me. I will post with the outcome when a conclusion comes about. Clare

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My thoughts and prayers will be with you - be assured that your rights are indeed worth fighting for! Looking forward to the next instalment.

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I know very little about employment law too but my hubby has some experience. By not allowing you to travel the extra distance for the job they are making you redundant and therefore your exit from the company should be treated as such. Strongly suggest you seek legal advice before resigning as you could end up losing out on a host of benefits and entitlements by 'giving up' your job. 😔

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The brain not functioning well is very worrying - bankruptcy, career ending, divorce, family breakdown and suicide are common

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Hi there! Please do not resign if possible sit it out on your employers sick pay package until it runs out is there a possibility of ill health retirement? I had to leave my NHS employment or got the ‘sack’ due to ill health last year. But was lucky enough to be able to take my pension at the ripe old age of 47! Look into Employment and Support Allowance too ask your daughter to ring Jobcentre Plus for you they will help! Hope it works out 4 u Kate 😀

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Apologies if I am repeating anything the other guys have said. I am quite fatigued today and not fully 'switched on.' I just wanted to say that alot of us (including me) end up losing our jobs despite being intelligent (which you see yourself as and it sounds like you are, your job sounds quite demanding!) Unfortunately it is part and parcel of a brain injury that we cannot do it all.

Commuting is very tiring, and as your recognised, it would be un-wise for you to drive. Good luck.

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A similar thing happened to me after my BI. I took some legal advice and left under a compromise agreement. This meant they basically paid me a lump sum to go away ...and meant I couldn't bring any dismissal claims against them in future. It was a reasoanbly pay out and only slightly less than I may have been awarded in a court had I been able to fight to that level...but I was cognitively absent at the time and it was a good route for me.

It only took a total of two external meetings - one with a legal advisor and after meeting with HR and manager, a second one with a solicitor who checked over the agreement to make sure it was fair.

They also allowed me to design my own exit - I chose the no fuss route...to leave work as normal one day midweek and simply not go back AND they paid me full pay for the remainder of that month after I left.

It was definitely worth taking advice and did not affect my benefit entitlements at all....

I hope you can find a solution to suit you. I know how tough this stuff can be when you don;t have the oomph to handle it.

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I completely understand what you mean about not remembering. That happens to me a lot. Because I now can't processes verbal speech like I did before, if someone is speaking to me from another room or talking with their back turned I can't adequately hear them, then I not only don't remember what they said, and then my brain says I didn't hear them at all. This happens with my husband all the time. If it's important information some is trying to share with me I have learned to start carrying around a notebook to write things down. You can't even imagine how many notebooks I have filled up since the accident.

As far as your employment, I'm sure it's too late for my comment, but, since they told you that you would not be able to go to the new location, technically you shouldn't have resigned, they let you go, so you should have been able to collect unemployment.

But, it's ok to be upset about the situation. Any time I realize that a part of me has changed from the accident, it causes me to grieve the loss of that part. I don't grieve for long because all over my house I have pictures of my inspiration: T.o B.e I.nspired. TBI, in my house no longer stands for traumatic brain injury. Hope that helps.

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Hello Everyone

Just thought I would give you an update - I guess patience pays off. Might seem like bad news to some but I am being made redundant. Yippee.

I moved with the job to a new location some 35 miles away from home a month ago and have travelled on the very busy A55 every working day - very stressful and includes up to now 2 or 3 near misses on the road. Not to mention the additional travelling time which makes my working day longer. I am truly exhausted. My boss came to see me today and offered me redundancy. I have to be honest i got emotional and cried, but who cares because now I can access benefits. Looking for another job has not yet resulted in finding a replacement job and I have had no alternative but to make this tiring journey. I have areal sense of my boss not being entirely truthful with me and get the strong vibe she just wants me gone and her offer today confirms this. If you remember she has offered me no support since my illness to support me in my job and was expecting me to simply hand my notice in when the office relocated.

This new situation gives me some breathing space and I feel like a new person this evening who is able to relax more. Looking forward to a restful nights sleep. Thank you every one who has supported me and offered some very useful pointers - i am truly grateful for your support. Clare

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Hi Clare, I’m very glad to hear everything has worked out for you and you are happy with the decision. I’m also glad you didn’t give up, no matter how difficult for you, well done you, you did great 😊

You’re employer wasn’t right to try force you to hand in your notice, they have a duty of care to you while you are their employee, under health and safety law. They also knew this and by you standing your ground, they had to do the right thing by you. If you’d handed in your notice, you’d have lost all your employee rights and given them a very easy, quick and cheap way out.

So, you have been fantastic and all the extra effort paid off. Good luck with everything, you deserve it x

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Thank you Erin - sorry I have not sent my response earlier but I have not accessed this site for a while as I have been distracted by work issues. I am very grateful to yourself and all the lovely people on this site who are very supportive and most importantly - understand. You have a lovely day on this beautiful sunny and warm day. Clare x

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