Can an employer question a report from Occupational health?


I am due to start back to work in a few weeks after maternity leave. I did notify my employers of my January diagnosis or RA and they arranged for me to visit an independant OH doctor, she was very suportive and her report outlined that with mimimal adjustments I should be able to return to work.

Then I get a call from HR asking if they could have a meeting with my OH nurse, one of my bosses (bad cop if anyone remembers:) ) has risen concern that I would not even be able to carry out teaching within a theory enviroment, oh for goodness sake handling a class of teenagers is way easier than an 8 month old whirlwind! seriously, this is not a problem whatsoever, I love my job.

I have a feeling she only made a 'bitchy' comment which somehow managed to get back to HR,

I have contacted my OH nurse and she is more than happy to come in, she's as surprised as I am that they think they can do this.

I'm still not feeling too great but was going to make an effort to make it back sooner rather than later so I wouldn't cause any distruption, now I'm thinking why go back to face this stress, maybe I should wait until I respond better to my medication, enjoy some extra time with my adorable whirlwind and leave them to it!!!

Sorry, waffling again, but back to question, can they question a report?


7 Replies

I can't see how they can possibly question the report Wiliby. It was done at your employer's request by an independant OH doctor and she is a professional so it's not for them to question surely?

If you love your job then you should stick at it - it's not as though jobs were easy to come by these days and I would have thought bad cop is stepping well outside the boundaries here. Can you use their querying to delay your return to work for a bit i wonder? It could be useful to buy yourself a bit more time to be with the gorgeous Whirlwind and get your health back on track? But failing that if you are a contracted teacher you can always go back to work and then go off sick - plenty staff in our school do this and seem to last years on this tactic? And for many less valid reasons than you it always seems to me as a parent but who knows there are always 2 sides of course!


Hi Williby - like Tilda says it seems ridiculous that they do or even want to when they commissioned it!? Are they now saying because the OH didn't say what they expected them to they are querying it?

Are you able to use the advice of your union? I just bl***y hate it when there is some one who thinks they can treat people how they like. know better than anyone else, and try get away with it - control freak. There are structures in place to deal with situations like yours and having (seemingly) followed that path there should be no question of your capabilities with the recommendations of the OH! It beggers belief!

Then again a bit more time home with your little whirlwind might be more attractive any way? :-) Bless x

Good Luck

Julie xx


Hi. My sister found herself in a similar situation. Her boss tried to overrule a report from an OH specialist as he didn't agree with it. Even though he organised it!

Her Union supported her in the ensuing process, as it amounted to bullying/harassment. And she stayed home on sick leave until it was all sorted out.

So, if you haven't done so already, please join a Union. It is so hard to fight these sort of battles when you are not 100% fit.


Hi Wiliby

We aren't certain of the answer to this, but feel that it could depend on circumstances. For example, your employer needs to make 'reasonable adjustments' for your RA, but what is deemed 'reasonable' will vary depending on factors such as the size of the company you work for etc. so I think you will need some specialist advice on this one, but certainly the fact that the OT nurse is saying she is surprised, and you describe the alterations as 'minimal' should count in your favour.

If you are concerned, I would suggest maybe calling someone for some work advice, possibly ACAS (08457 474 747):

It is obviously a very personal decision as to whether or not you feel ready to return to work, and an important decision as well, but if you feel that you had no question as to whether or not you were ready, and the adjustments are reasonable then maybe it is worth going ahead with the meeting and getting this matter resolved. However, as I say, maybe get some professional work advice first so that you feel as prepared as possible.

Kind regards


NRAS Helpline & Information Coordinator


Thank-you Tilda, Julie, Phoebe and Vicky,

Yes I do have a contract and may just do as you suggest Tilda, just stuborn to admit I'n not up to it yet.

I will join a union, should have done that years ago and yes I also think there is an element of bullying.

The member of staff from HR was on her last day when she told me, she was more than happy to relay it me in an e-mail so at least I have evidence of who said what.

The only adjustments were that I work on ground floor (not a problem) I will be working 3 days so it was suggested a mon,wed,fri, again no problem and that I teach theory only......nothing that causes any concern.

I have given them a copy of the NRAS booklet for employers but I haven't hard of ACAS Vicky, thanks for that also, I'll keep that in mind.

I am starting to think I'll stay at home until it's sorted out, give time for the meds to work also, just have to get round that 'guilt' feeling.

Thank-you :)



Hi, employers are a nightmare, i know only too well. You have nothing to hide, you have done as they asked . GP's now give 'fit notes' so maybe it would be good to see them and ask them to sign you as 'fit to work', otherwise I would go with the flow and let them do any check they like, dont let it get you stressed as you are more likely to get a flare up again, and im sure the end result will be to make them look stupid. Have you given them the booklet called ' employing someone with RA' ? good luck, x


Hiya, yes, gave them that booklet but what they've done with it another question! :)

A 'fit to work' line sounds good, if they dismiss that as well then it adds to a case of bullying, thanks for that.

All this advice is so so helpful, I really don't find myself worrying about it so much now and it's not worth getting 'flared up' over as you say

Thank again


You may also like...