I think I am going to lose my job - hold my hand please?(24 Posts)
I had an email today from HR attaching a letter they have sent to me at home in the post. Basically they are asking for a meeting on Tuesday next at which they will consider terminating my contract.
I started working for the firm in August 2012. My initial probationary period was extended after my immediate boss indicated she was not happy with my progress, particularly in relation to various software etc and the amount of time it was taking me to pick it up. I accepted her comments and had some further training at head office, bought a book to help, and so on.
The letter is saying that my boss does not feel I am up to speed with various aspects of the job (I don't want to go into too much detail in case I out myself). She certainly hasn't said anything to me about this, and I would argue that I am much better able to deal with matters now.
The software issue has been raised again, specifically that my boss wants to be able to do various things with the software with my assistance but she doesn't believe I can do them (although she has not at any point asked me to do these things, and once they were initially pointed out to me as a failing I made a note of what I had done to improve, including being shown the specific tasks she wants me to do, and she signed this).
Finally the letter states they are not happy with my sickness record. I was off for three days in February and ten days in April. In February I was suffering from a respiratory/flu-type bug and earlier this month I was hospitalised with pneumonia. All absences have been properly recorded and sicknotes provided. The company know I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis as I made this clear at the outset. My medication means I am immunosuppressed, hence falling prey to the various bugs.
Is it a done deal that I will lose my job? Quite apart from the fact that I have DC to feed and a mortgage to pay (which i won't be able to without a job), I actually like my job and my colleagues....
Have you spoken to an independent body for advice such as CAB or a union? If you are on probation and haven't made the expected improvements necessary to do the job then I don't think you are in a good position unfortunately.
Hope it works out and here's my hand to hold <<hand>>
thank you - there is no union.
What has upset me most is that I thought I had made great strides since my probationary period was extended. Nothing had been said to the contrary. My boss is approachable enough but has never said anything about not being happy with my progress.
The sickness record part has upset me too!
I am really concerned that if I lose this job, I'll not find another....
I don't know the legalities of the situation, I'm afraid, but it seems very poor form to send you this letter if your boss hasn't told you that she has continuing concerns. We wouldn't be able to sack someone in my organisation without having clearly documented concerns at every stage.
Re the sickness, what does the company policy say? I don't know much about rheumatoid arthritis but would you regard yourself as having a disability and have either of your absences been related to this?
Unfortunately, I think your rights during probation are very limited, but your employers still have to follow due process. I hope you are able to work things out.
thank you Jinsei - I am classed as having a disability. I think it's probably fair to say that if I didn't have rheumatoid arthritis I wouldn't have come down with pneumonia, and I would probably have shaken off the other fluey-type bug.
My boss took this afternoon off to work from home. HR told me that she wasn't avoiding me...........
If she hasn't addressed it with you since extension or documented it she won't have a leg to stand on. Also, if you have a known disability with associated issues then they cannot use this to dismiss you.
Speak to the equality commission tomorrow.
Probation is irrelevant when it comes to the legalities. Dismissing for performance concerns can be easily and quickly done without lengthy procedures or documented meetings etc this early in your employment. You have very little protection against unfair dismissal until you have been there two years and are not even entitled to be told why you have been dismissed.
The only thing that might be an issue is your disability, which they cannot penalise/dismiss you for. You say the company know you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Are they aware that it is a disability, and, crucially, are they aware that your absences are linked to your disability? If you haven't made those things clear to them it's entirely possible they may not realise.
Best thing you can do between now and Tuesday is go to see your doctor and ask whether he/she will write you a letter to give your employer confirming that your RA is a disability and that your sickness absences of x dates were related to that disability.
thank you very much for all these replies. As Flowery says, I know I have very little in the way of rights! The sickness leave was the third matter referred to in the letter so i think that they will rely more on the first two points they raise, points which i take issue with but which i appreciate if they want to use to dismiss me, they will.
I had virtually no sleep last night and have been throwing up with the stress of this. I am minded to just say to my boss today why drag it out until Tesday, I will just go now.
No. Don't do that, tempting as it is.
Contact ACAS who can advise of the legal rights.
Im really grateful for the advice from everyone.
Saw my boss who had remained out of the office all morning. She said she had told HR that I had really come on and that her main issue was that she felt she could not hand over another part of her job to me (an aspect previously covered by a separate post, the holder of which has now left after maternity leave). Quite frankly I could not cover two full-time posts by myself, especially given one of which would mean being out of the ofifce a great deal of the time.
She apparently did not sleep well last night andwants us to continue until Tuesday although I offered to leave today. if anything I am even more confused and upset about it all now. if I am so good as she claims, how has it come to this...?
so... the meeting was held. Every performance target was met and this was readily agreed by HR and my immediate boss. Much was made of how I had in fact excelled (despite the letter calling the meeting bringing my performance as a reason for them wanting to dismiss me). However, HR said my sickness absence on its own was enough to call the meeting.
Fast forward to today and I receive a dismissal letter on the basis the office at which I work(ed) has a terrible problem with sickness and they could not tolerate mine. The meeting had said office average for sickness was 2 - 3 days a year (which is dubious at the very least). I can work up until May 13th or leave when I like and be paid until then.
I have no stomach for taking this further. At no time have I ever played the disability card, beyond completing the usual HR forms when I started the job which explained my disability. I really feel like I have been picked on,made an example of, I don't know what.
Anyone in HR or a supervisory capacity: - would you consider two weeks' sickness out of nine months' employment, backed up by a sicknote and for a genuine reason, reason to dismiss someone?? I honestly don't think it is, but I would say that! I really would value opinions.
Bastard employers. Ooh how I would love to name and shame!
I think the shock is wearing off and what has happened is going to hit home soon....
Having been an hr advisory and also dismissed during a probation period for a very tenuous reason I can say no I don't think so. In my case a daughter of a client worth a lot of money was moving to uk and blow me if she fit the role I was recruited for 3 wks previously.
I sympathise. Greatly. I was in shock for a while. May I recommend a firm to help? Legal lawyer. A snotty letter mightn't return your role but maybe they can advise something that feels like justice? Helped me anyway.....
I'm so sorry. Wish I had more to help
I am so sorry this has happened. I hope someone more knowledgable than me comes along soon.
I would pursue this with the help of the equality commission (or whatever the UK version is). It sounds very unfair.
Yes, shock definitely wearing off!
Whether it's a good reason or not doesn't matter - if it's enough of a concern for them then it's a good reason. It's their decision.
What's dubious about an office average of 2-3 days a year? Doesn't tie in with claiming they have a problem with sickness absence, is that what you mean?
You didn't say whether they knew your absence was related to your disability. If you have told them then that's not a good enough reason, but if you haven't told them, and it doesn't sound obvious without being specifically told, then whether you think it's a good reason is irrelevant really.
If you want to stay, tell them the sickness absence is related to your disability, and get your doctor to write confirming that. If they still want to dismiss you, you can take it further if you want to.
thanks Flowery. To clarify about the average sickness - it's a smallish office and everyone who works here has had at least a few days off since I'e been here, with D&V, ear infections etc etc. I cannot think of anyone who has had less than three days off in the last nine months (ie since I've been here). Currently someone is into her seventh week off sick.
I had to confirm on the staff induction booklet thingy if I considered myself disabled and much as I hated to I said that I did. HR know that my illness was related to the RA as they were informed of that, and it was also contained in my GP sicknote.
Sorry to rant - I'm usually quite placid but I guess I am starting to feel sorry for myself.
I won't feel secure in any future job until the magical two years have passed!
OK well if they were clear that your sickness record was the reason for dismissal and were also aware it was disability related then you can appeal it on the grounds of disability discrimination under the Equality Act and take it further if an appeal is not successful.
Really sorry you're having problems. If your condition amounts to a disability and your absences were caused by your disability then it is a reasonable adjustment for your employer to discount your absences. As a result it sounds like to have a claim for disability discrimination. An employer does not have to keep an employee indefinitely if their absences mean they cannot do their job but in your case it sounds very much like they have jumped the gun (probably as a result of bad advice to the effect that you have less than a years service and so cannot bring a claim).
If you want to PM me I am happy to have a chat with you about it.
Should have said, I'm an employment lawyer, not just some random disher outer of advice inviting you to PM them!
If they have dismissed you then appeal quickly. This is a game of bluff. Even if you do not want to go to tribunal. They need to implicitly believe you will. Tell them at the appeal and it writing in the appeal letter that you are disabled and that you absences are linked to your disability and why. Then tell them that you have already sought legal advice, and that you have been advised that any dismissal will be discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. You have sought legal advice because Virgil is an employment lawyer and I am a barrister. Hopefully they will back off because they may not want the prospect of a tribunal hearing and the expense associated with it. Good luck. Let us know what happens.
Ok the time for an appeal might have passed you might think. But this is down to an employer's discretion and if it thinks it may be in his interest he might grant you your appeal. Employers write the rules.
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