Employer insisting I work overtime

Hi all,

Sorry for the long post...

I have AS and am currently on Enbrel which has been a godsend painwise. I still suffer fatigue and the exhaustion is hard to manage.

I am a Detective on a child abuse unit which is very demanding. For the most part I juggle my health issues well and sustain full time work will low absence levels. I also work as much overtime as I possibly can. Sadly I lost my dad 3 months ago and my partner lost her nana 10 days ago. I was already exhausted but have kept going.

Last week a job came in and I asked not to be kept on because I needed to be at home for my partner and additionally I was struggling myself. This was ignored and over the following 4 days I worked 15 hours overtime. On the third day because I had again asked not to be kept on my DI made a point of only keeping me on to complete a task resulting in being 4 hours later off. I have since spoke to her about this and she said she didn't have any awareness of my medical condition and apologised for her action. My line manager was working alongside her and hadn't mentioned the reasons why I didn't want to stay on only telling her I wasn't a team player.

She has now suggested that maybe I am not up to the job and should consider an alternative role.

My partner has also given me an ultimatum stating she is fed up of my job coming first, she wants me to leave totally or we split as she says I'm stressed and shattered and never there. I am the main wage earner so I am now worrying about all this and seem to be struggling with what I assume is anxiety- (pain in chest, fluttering in chest, nausea) and seem to fear of going into work tomorrow and also am hardly sleeping all of which are making me even more tired!!

Do I just walk away from it all, I've even had dark thoughts as I can't see a solution that will work on every level?

Lisa x

9 Replies

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  • Have you seen your HR department? It strikes me that your disability is not being considered at all - not surprisingly in such a pressurised job.

    But longer term, perhaps you should consider a job which is more flexible to your own medical needs.

    Perhaps spend some time writing down what your qualifications and experience would be useful in any employment. Take a step back from the emotional aspect and think about what you CAN do.

    I know that after diagnosis, I had to take a decision to change the type of work that I did to something that did not involve night work and very long hours - but I found that (although for some years I had to combine three part-time jobs!)

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your reply, 😊

    OHU were involved to consider a reasonable adjustment to my shifts which was agreed by my former line manager. Current manager trying to push me back to the team shift (2 hours difference finish time on a late shift) but the force doc has said I do well to maintain what I do and he doesn't support any amendment back to later shifts.

    HR not involved as I haven't had sick time off (tend to use toil or leave when had to take time off) to envoke stage 2 of absence policy.

    I guess I don't want to feel beaten by the condition but also realise something seems to have to change..

    As a cop I don't have many transferable skills as all training is related to my role in safeguarding etc..

    Thanks Lisa

  • Hi Lisa. I too work in child protection (social

    Worker) and have had a very different experience. Initial referral to OH saw much the same as you, reasonable adjustments etc. I think the thing that had the bigger impact, was managements understanding about the protection offered in being covered by disability act.

    If I were you, I would be having the conversation with initially, your line manager re recommendations made by OH and the fact that AS ( which I have) falls into disability legislation and that as an employer, they're duty bound to make and Maintain reasonable adjustments that support you in your role. If there is no joy there, you may need to go above their head.

    My point is, I guess, is that this can be managed, and with appropriate support you should be able to fulfill your duties.

    The issue with your partner is something you may have to

    Consider separately. It seems a bit of a difficult ultimatum.

    I don't know whether I've helped at all, reading it back but just wanted you know that things can change with the right support in work, although sometimes you need to push for it and also, to let you know that your not alone and things, dark as they seem just now, can get better.

    Take care and be kind to yourself.

    Marie

  • Hi Marie

    Thanks for ur reply, it does help to know that others have had a similar experience with an employer but that youhave been able work thru it and maintian your role.

    I think you may be right re speaking to my line manager, he isn't particularly an understanding individual and we don't have a lot of time for each other but never the less I am sure he will follow policy and process if he's presented with the fact that I don't want to create any issues but that I want to be supported to carry on my role.

    The key issue for my partner is the forced overtime, I don't want to work it and it makes me exhausted and grumpy (apparently lol) but the job is one which doesn't give choice something someone who isn't in the force can seldom really understand I guess?

    Thanks again

    Lisa x

  • I understand. I guess we are somewhat different in social work in so far as we have an out of hours team and that helps.

    Given OH have made suggestions re your hours it may be possible that you go on with your approach re not wanting to create issues and negotiate that if you must do overtime then it can be no more than once per week/ rotation.

    Also highlight your commitment to team- little sick time with a significant disability, the fact that you've pushed through pain to be the fullest part of team but this has impacted negatively and in order to maintain your duties, as is your wish, then OH recommendations re hours need to be edhered to?

    If this were to happen, hopefully this would support your relationship also.

    I really do wish you the best of luck with things. Chin up and hang on in there.

    Marie

  • Thanks Marie

    That all makes a lot of sense, I will do just that and see what they say. I suspect the response will be that I cannot be exempt from overtime thus the only option is to be moved to a non operational role which doesn't necessitate overtime.

    Some tough choices ahead but I guess the thing is to remember there are many others in a much worse position than me..

    maybe it's time to retrain in another child protection role where the pressure is more managed.

    Thanks again, take care

    Lisa

  • I'd say hop on over to our side but the pressure is just as significant !

    Give negotiation a try, youve little To lose and if it turns out you need to retrain in a different role, make sure you have support there too.

    Lots to think about and perhaps complex decisions to make but I wish you the very best going forward.

    Equally, never feel alone as this is genuinely one of the best forums for helpful Advice and practical / emotional Support.

    Marie

  • Hi Lisa

    I am a fellow RA sufferer and also work in HR. I also work full time and sympathise with the struggles and dilemmas of managing the condition and being fully engaged with your job.

    From what you have said, your managers are being completely unreasonable, but do they understand that RA can be considered a disability and their obligations to consider this?

    You need to decide how far you want to go with this and whether you want to take an informal approach or go "all guns blazing" depending upon your perception of attitudes.

    The fact that you have had adjustments made in the past suggests that your employer is reasonable but your line manager is a little misguided and needs bringing up to speed.

    The re-training idea is a good one too - specialists in safeguarding and child protection are very hard to find and this is a growing area of expertise - think outside the police force and into other sectors with a more sympathetic culture.

    Good Luck.

  • hi Sappy - Nothing like a little more stress added to the stress of the stress...

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