Dismissed from work, any legal experience?

Sorry for posting here, I don't know where to turn

As well as my hashimotos and PA in under investigation for what is stopping me eating. Had a CT scan a couple of weeks back and am waiting on an endoscopy/biopsy which I was told would be within a fortnight, 4 weeks on still no date

Because if my ill health my work have served me notice to make me redundant, it's a stage 2 notice. I accepted it to start with until I wondered what stage 1 is, does anyone know? Has anyone been through this? I've never had anything formal before so think I'd remember something like stage 1 unless it's as simple as a sick note?

Any help would be appreciated, I had asked in my stage 2 statement if they would please hold off in a decision until my test results but got a no. Paragraph at the end said we'd like to thank you for your 17 years service......beyond a mess right now :(

30 Replies

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  • Are you in the UK? Then they cannot make you redundant unless they can show that your post is no longer available. In other words, if they replace you, then you are not redundant, and can seek compensation.

    Possibly they are using redundancy as a short cut to dismissal on health grounds. Do you have anyone in your company who can give you legal advice?

    It might help to read this:

    moneywise.co.uk/work-family...

    citizensadvice.org.uk/work/...

    nidirect.gov.uk/articles/fa...

  • Have you had a verbal warning about your sickness record or a written warning yet? Has your wok got a union rep?

    Nowadays they can and do punish people for being sick it's so unfair. My sister ended u taking medical retirement after 30 years in her job because she was too scared to be off sick incase she was dismissed .

    It worked ok for her though she wasn't fit to work anymore and the stress of work has gone even though she's still ill.

  • Never heard of this. Are u in UK? Surely a sick note covers you. Is there a union? Not shat you need when your poorly 😐

  • Sorry should read not what you need.

  • They can't just automatically put you on stage 2 unless you have breached the agreed steps of stage one.

    For example at your sickness meeting they might have agreed with you a date to return to work by. If at the time you were still too unwell, to return, they could in theory start you in an stage 2 process. When you reach stage two they will be looking for improvement in your potential to come back to work. This is sadly a way of putting you on a path to sickness based dismissal. You mentioned redundancy?? This is a very different kettle of fish. Redundancy has nothing to do with your sickness process.

    They shouldn't be putting in wording thanking you about your service when at a stage 2 sickness process. That's very wrong and any union would support you on this. Mistakes like that work in your favour.

    What sector do you work in? Retail? Teaching etc.?

    They are taking advantage of your vulnerability right now and that's wrong.

    Don't attend any more meetings (if there have been any) without support from a colleague or rep.

    Citizens advice are good with this and you should be able to call on your own HR team for support.

    Try not to worry as it won't improve your health. It's easier said than done I know. I have just been through all this with my husband and it a crappy time.

    Happy to talk if you want to direct message me.

    😊

  • Isn't this covered by the Disability Act?

  • The job is redundant not the person. You are not being made redundant because you are sick. If they used the word redundant. The stage one is consultation, you say why your job still exists, you can prove the job is not redundant. During this process you automatically get first dibs on any vacancies, say you were an accountant and they were outsourcing finance, but you'd done three years in Marketing earlier in your career, you could apply for a vacancy and they would have to give it to you.

    How much time have you had off? If you've provided letters for all of your appointments, they can't fire you,

    And for redundancy they have to prove the job isn't there any more.

  • citizensadvice.org.uk jump to redundancy, very interesting reading.If they've made you redundant due to your illness, a point to make is Hashimotos IS classed as a disability, therefor they have discriminated against you under the disability act.

    AND if there is ONLY you that has been made redundant then they should have had a meeting with you to set out their reasons why.

  • Hashimotos is not classed as as a disability in itself. Some illnesses e.g.cancer are specified as disabilities but disability is in the main defined by various everyday activities the disabled person is unable to carry out.

  • Treepie im sorry but for some people Hashimotos is covered under the Equality Act 2010 (2012) and it was covered under the DDA as well.

    Any condition that lasts over 12 months or has an expectancy to last beyond 12 months and has life limiting disabiling aspects to it would be classed as a genuine disability, even conditions such as endometriosis.

    pcs.org.uk/en/equality/guid...

    atlanticchambers.co.uk/news...

    justanswer.com/uk-law/2khhg...

    If the thyroid symptoms are controlled then there would not ordinarily be any disabiling effects from the condition and no disability would exist, however there may be secondary disabilities such as anxiety or depression which are also covered.

    Here's a website that has a pretty good quick test to see likelihood of being successful for disability based benefits (not sickness based benefits which are designed for shorter term conditions).

    If the welfare system accepts a persons disabiling symptoms as disabiling even if the next person with the same diagnosis does not exhibit life limiting or negatively impacting symptoms, then the law would also accept that the person exhibits disabiling symptoms and qualifies for protection under Law as the PIP/DLA guidance is based on the legislation and they work together in developing the legal standards which we accept are definitions in law.

    Hope this helps

    Mel

  • I do agree with you .You make the point yourself.It is not the Hashimotos but the disabilities that arise from it that impair everyday activities if the T4 etc do not restore health.

    The point I was making was that cancer,HIV,MS and there may be others ,are automatically defined as disabilities otherwise a person has a disability if he/she has' a physical or mental impairment ' which has a ' substantial and long term adverse effect on his/ her ability to carry out normal day to day activities'

    Hashimotos is not automatically defined as a disability as far as i am aware.

    The burden of proof falls on the claimant.

    Also ,since fees have been introduced the number of claims have dropped by a large percentage so many lose out on genuine claims.

  • I agree, just worried that those unfamiliar with disability legislation or criteria misunderstand what's said and feel they can't apply for benefits or protection from discrimination because their disabiling condition or symptoms are not one of the few automatic disabilities identified by the government.

    I just felt it was important to try and clarify that just because you don't have cancer, MS etc doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for protection from the law in potential discrimination cases or for disability based benefits if your health is so poor that you can't cope without additional help or support.

    Hope this helps

  • Very true, and it seems even the new benefit scheme is tightening down. A letter in todays DT was about a woman with MS whose hands have not the strength to enable her to inject herself .That did not count for more than one out of ten for management of medicines.

  • Marram is right, redundancy can only be the result of the business cutting the post altogether (ie your role will no longer be performed by anyone or they are reducing the number of people performing your role), if they are making you redundant and your post will be available afterward, then this is not true redundancy and legal action can be taken. If it is dismissal, I think you need to have fair warning beforehand so that you have the opportunity to improve your performance. Has your employer offered you any sort of occupational health referral or reasonable adjustment? (A reasonable adjustment is only reasonable if it actually helps you) - Im pretty sure that they have to do this to keep in line with disability/equality act. I had a similar situation recently when I worked in the civil service. I was on a graduate scheme, told my manager about my health when I began and kept him informed of my appointments and the findings etc and despite asking, he didnt give me an occupational health referral until i had failed an exam by 2 % which gave him the opportunity to kick me off which (as he took against me for some unknown reason) he took full advantage of. Im not incapable, I had straight As at a-level and a good degree... I had a big battle but won (union are useful during these times)... If you get all your information organised so you are very clear what you are talking about, I would advise you to seek advice from an emploement solicitor - you can usually get a half hour consultation for free. Also, do a little research around employment law, disability act and equality act because, from what your saying, it may be a discrimination issue

  • Oh and I meant to say- keep EVERYTHING. All the letters, emails and notes they give you and keep a diary with dates of any unfavourable behaviour that they show you. If you ate in meetings about this issue, keep notes and try to get them agreed by the person your meeting with if possible

  • Jaccs, they cannot make you redundant because of ill health. Redundancy means (or should mean) that the position you work in is redundant not you personally. As I understand it stage 1 is the initial consultation. If you believe they are doing this because of your health, you need to consult an employment law layer.

  • Hi Jaccs

    Wherever you live in the UK there will be a firm of local solicitor experienced in Employment Law. There is usually at least one that you can go to for FREE 1 hour advice. Write down everything that applies i.e. dates copies etc.

    You can go to more than one firm just don't tell the other. Also don't forget the Citizens Advice people they have professionals who would help you.

    I hope this helps.

  • I would advise that you make an appointment with citizens advice bureau, because they can advise you of your options and look into this for you, as you are unwell it's a lot to take on alone. If it is just redundancy then it could be a chance for you to relax for a while, take time out until you are feeling a little better and then look for another job. If however they are singling you out because you are unwell then this is a different matter and this is where the CAB can be of help to you.

  • Acas first do you belong to a union always take someone with you to meetings. If you have exhausted statutory sick pay employers sick pay claim esa claim pip ? Seek guidance employment specialist and benefit specialist Citizens Advice etc

  • Can you try the Citizens Advice Bureau for initial advice. Some solicitors will give the first half hour consultation at no cost or a reduced fee.

    This sounds completely wrong to me.

    If all else fails write to your MP, they can be very supportive. Mine helped me over a noisy neighbour issue.

    Wishing you well.

    MariLiz x

  • I agree with the others redundant means the post is no longer there and they cannot replace you with anyone else (a younger person for instance) this once happened with my ex-husband and after a few weeks the employer had to take him back rather then face court.

  • I'm sure someone would have already said this but contact ACAS. They're the country's leading employment support organisation and they're free.

    m.acas.org.uk

    Under the Equality Act 2010 and 2012 (previously the disability discrimination act) your condition is covered as a life long disabiling condition and you get automatic protection under the act.

    Here are a few extra services:

    equalityhumanrights.com/en (the equality commission)

    equalityadvisoryservice.com...

    disabilityrightsuk.org/gett...

    eoc.org.uk

    From experience my understanding is that if you've been supplying sick notes and have kept in touch and attended, health permitting all work meetings with HR to discuss your health and return to work then they can only make you redundant on grounds of ill health with full remuneration.

    The only way that they can do this is by working with you and your clinical team to look at all realistic adjustments to the work environment to enable you to continue to fulfill your roll as an employee.

    They can ask you to contact Access to Work and then everyone works together to look at whether or not the job can be achieved by you with reasonable adjustments.

    To give an example:

    If you're a bricklayer and you're involved in a car accident and lose one leg, with appropriate therapy and prosthetics you will probably be able to walk eventually.

    However you'll never be able to physically bend down and get back up to build a wall beyond 6' as climbing ladders or carrying heavy offset loads is no longer possible due to the accident...

    Therefore it is reasonable to retire you on grounds of ill health.

    No one wins

    You lose your job they lose an employee and that's how the law works to protect both sides.

    Depending on your job look at what reasonable and realist adjustments could be made over the next 6-12 months as retiring the post doesn't seem prudent for them given you're long term disabled under the DDA and Equality Act.

    Hope this helps

    Mel

  • @Treepie, I'm sorry but for some people Hashimotos is covered under the Equality Act 2010 (2012) and it was covered under the DDA as well.

    Any physical or mental condition that lasts over 12 months or has an expectancy to last beyond 12 months and has life limiting disabiling aspects to it would be classed as a genuine disability, even conditions such as endometriosis.

    pcs.org.uk/en/equality/guid...

    atlanticchambers.co.uk/news...

    justanswer.com/uk-law/2khhg...

    If the thyroid symptoms are controlled then there would not ordinarily be any disabiling effects from the condition and no disability would exist, however there may be secondary disabilities such as anxiety or depression which are also covered.

    Here's a website that has a pretty good quick test to see likelihood of being successful for disability based benefits (not sickness based benefits which are designed for shorter term conditions).

    benefitsandwork.co.uk/pip/i...

    If the welfare system accepts a persons disabiling symptoms as disabiling even if the next person with the same diagnosis does not exhibit life limiting or negatively impacting symptoms, then the law would also accept that the person exhibits disabiling symptoms and qualifies for protection under Law as the PIP/DLA guidance is based on the legislation and they work together in developing the legal standards which we accept are definitions of disability in law.

    Hope this helps

    Mel

  • If you are in the UK contact Acas.org.uk, I think they can help answer your questions.

    Best wishes, Angie

  • oh what naughty people. Visit gov.uk/redundant-your-right... and see what they say. Failing that I would go the industrial tribunal route especially as you have been their 17 years!

  • Ok as a few people have stated redundancy and capability processes are two separate issues - absence could be linked to a decision criteria, however the organisation needs to be very careful due to the Equality Act.

    Be careful with ACAS, although they do their best the call handlers are just that - they have had some employment law training but I'm always amazed at how wrong they can get with their advice - eg being told during a capability hearing 'ACAS told you can't dismiss someone who is covered by a sick note/the Equality Act'.

  • I agree with polgara36 as I had an employment issue years ago and the original ACAS contact give me very useless advice. She basically told me to drop my case after I had been victimised as she couldn't believe an multi-national company in the UK could act so badly towards an employee.

    While there are different people and organisations can give you help there are downsides and pitfalls that you need to be aware of particularly as you are vulnerable, and cases involving discrimination are complex.

    1. Citizens Advice - they are over stretched and it may take months before you can get an appointment by then it is too late as employers want to act immediately.

    2. Law Centres - they are over stretched and you will have the same appointment issue as with Citizens Advice but will do their research and give you good advice.

    3. Union - depending on your employer and the particular case while they will help you they may ensure the case is dragged out for months or years as they want to "work with" the employer to resolve the issue.

    4. Solicitor - if they think you have a case and you can stand up to fight it they will help you. Some make you see a barrister or have your case reviewed by a barrister after giving you initial advice so they can work out how to handle your case. There are a minority of solicitors out there who once they find your case is more complex than they originally thought will drop you, this is less likely if you do some of your own homework on the law and your case has been reviewed by a barrister.

  • If you are being made redundant and are one of more than 20 people or more, the company has a statutory legal requirement to consult with all employees and take them through a consultancy process. Stage 1 would be a meeting where they would HAVE to notify a person of the companies "plans", these do not have to mean these plans are set in stone and the whole point of a consultation is to enquire if there are ways that people can be integrated into other positions or even keep their present position with adjustments i.e. hours, duties, location.

    If there are under 20 employees involved, then it is still advisable to follow the ACAS guidelines on redundancy, which is still to consult and follow the above procedure. If a company does not do so an employee would have good grounds for a case for unfair dismissal.

    Redundancy and Sickness are two entirely different things and any company that does not recognise this will be walking a dangerous line. Before any employee is identified for redundancy they must have had any outstanding "matters" completed and any protected characteristics identified.

    Jaccs If you want any help please PM me, I am an HR Consultant and would be happy to help you.

  • I'm really sorry for the confusion, in my upset state I said redundancy which isn't the case, I didn't realise it would cause so much confusion so my apologies. The letter actually states I've been issued with a notice of termination due to ill health, the major factor is I can't give them a date of return as I've been waiting so long for a hospital exam (endoscopy and biopsy). I can eat next to nothing. I was told early August it would be about a fortnight but still waiting

    This is the first meeting I've been asked to (called stage 2). Upto now it's just being submitting doctors notes and one occupation health visit some months ago, that report stated I was waiting further results and unfit to work at this moment until a diagnosis is known

    I work for a very large employer, one of the biggest in my County

    There are no reasonable adjustments at this stage they can make as I can't predict what days I'll be ill or not, some days I'm in bed all day and can't eat at all. However I didn't ask them to hold off indefinitely, I know they have issues to deal with too, I requested a month or so more in the hope this gets my previous test results through and the endoscopy in hope of a diagnosis. I've been chasing the hospital but to now avail

    I've worked nearly 2 decades for my employer which I though would count

    Sorry for the confusion caused by my first post

  • Talk to a union rep - with a large employer they must have a union. Citizens advice get an appointment and talk through your options .

    Hospital talk to pals to speed up your tests. Cry at the GP tell him your concerns .

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