Back to work after taking employer to tribunal(9 Posts)
Long story and will try to keep it short(ish).
A few years ago, I had a fairly traumatic personal loss. I developed depression. I had a few days off work in the first year after, but found staying in routine helpful. I had counselling and CBT and I great GP. Boss initially supportive. However, after a year, I was more depressed and had a couple of weeks off work. I was referred to Occ Health, who recommended a few things, including allowing me to attend CBT appointments. Also said my depression now amounted to a disability under the Equality Act. After this report, boss said he'd been patient for a year but enough was enough.
For the previous year, I'd attended appointments during work hours (45mins per week) and made up the time outside 'core' hours. My boss decided that this could only continue if I took a reduced contract. My union said no, as I would still be more than fulfilling my contracted hours and also they said it was a reasonable adjustment.
After a very horrible meeting with boss and union rep, it became clear my boss just wanted rid of me. I loved my job and had been there for over a decade. Boss was new and 'asserting his authority'. I could not see how the situation could be sorted and rep suggested resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. Instead, I tried to kill myself and was off work for three months. During this time, my boss would not budge his position much. I went back to work in a horrible atmosphere, as my boss had told his team lies about me. The majority of other colleagues were very supportive.
Boss continued to make life difficult. I raised a grievance. It was ignored. I couldn't apply for other jobs due to attendance. Eventually, I had no option but to raise a tribunal claim for discrimination and victimisation.
Things got worse in the run up to the tribunal. I got through it with the support of my lovely colleagues, but my boss and his cronies tried everything to make life impossible. I had to raise another grievance, which was carried out by someone very senior to my boss. He found most of my complaints to have merit and made recommendations to my boss. My boss has not carried any of them out.
The tribunal was very very hard. Lots of lies told by my boss, and even more poor behaviour exposed through documents they'd tried to hide. Plus, they attacked my sanity/ truthfulness. My barrister said it went well for us, but it didn't FEEL like it did. It felt like they tried to destroy me and partly succeeded. I was in a state afterwards and my GP signed me off again. We still have no decision from the tribunal and it's so hard to see a way forward.
I have done nothing wrong. My boss has. I want to go back and be able to do my job. I suppose what I want to know is how my boss will be advised to behave towards me when I go back...is he likely to just carry on where he left off?
I still won't be able to get another job due to my attendance, so it's work there or work nowhere nowhere, and I can't afford not to have a job.
I just want life back to normal for me, dh and dd. I don't know how it will happen.
Goodness what a horrible ordeal you've been through
Your boss is an out and out bully
Well done for sticking it out through a very difficult process. You've done awesomely.
So you're still waiting for the tribunal outcome? Must be very stressful. I hope you get the outcome you want. If you do return, is there any way you could transfer department or request not to be managed by your bullying boss? Or request that a senior manager gets involved to oversee your bullying boss to ensure he behaves fairly? I'm not an expert so maybe none of these ideas are practical. Do you have an HR dept where you work?
I would definitely keep the assistance of your union in negotiating any return to work conditions.
In the mean time, do look after yourself
I would love it if someone could oversee my boss, but he's the most senior person at our location, so it would be overseeing from afar. The HR dept have been fully involved, but boss has ignored any of their advice that he doesn't like. HR told him to let me attend med appts and he ignored them.
So how much absence have you had? How exactly do you think you have been discriminated against? I'm sorry it does sound like you have had a tough few years but I can't believe that a union rep would advise you to resign and claim constructive dismissal, I think that was poor advice. When are the ET due to provide their judgement? Did your union pay for your barrister? From what you say is the issue to do with you having time of for your appointment, how much time were you away from work each appointment? If your boss has been allowing this for over a year then I think he may have been reasonable.
I had had twelve days off in a year at the time of the controversial meeting. After the suicide attempt, I had a few months off. Agreed that the rep's advice was probably extreme and definitely unhelpful, but the meeting just before it was beyond unpleasant and I can see why it was felt that the situation was beyond repair.
The discrimination parts that were put before the tribunal were failure to make reasonable adjustments (allowing the appointments - which everyone else was allowed to take paid without reduced contract - and I was still doing my hours) and then also discrimination due to disability as I was threatened with dismissal for absence that was directly caused by boss's actions/ inaction/ refusal to follow Occ Health advice.
The other tribunal thing is about victimisation, as boss took revenge in many petty and not so petty ways, and I had witnesses who stated what was said behind my back to get rid of me and make life difficult because I'd dared complain.
I take your point about it having been allowed previously, but there's an irony that it was allowed up to the 12 month point, the point it became classed as a disability, and then saying 'get over it'. Me coming in an hour early once a week so that I could leave one hour early for my appt affected nobody except me. The work got done. I fulfilled my hours. It was just about 'drawing a line' - boss said that.
The tribunal is done (nine days of my life I never want to repeat) and the judgment is due in November.
The union offered to do the legal bit of my case, but I had stopped trusting the view of my rep as I think the initial extreme view that was given was unhelpful to me and so had already got legal advice/ representation through house insurance who assessed me as having more than 51 percent chance of success.
I am so scared of losing as, if I do, it really is all over. But I want to hear the other side too, as it will help me understand losing.
The way my barrister described it was that medical appointments for something physical like physio or chemo would not be time-limited, and physical adaptations like lifts or ramps for wheelchair users wouldn't be either, so treatment for what was by then quite a serious mental health condition shouldn't have been seen as optional or a choice (which is how boss saw it).
Hi, I would like to apologise if my comment came across as harsh, given what you have been through you really could do without that. It does sound like your employer has been completely unreasonable about you attending appointments, when you are making up the time. I really hope that the tribunal find in your favour, have you asked for compensation? If so this could take account of future loss of earnings as this really does not sound like a place you should be working for your health. Please let us know what the finding is. Good luck.
Not harsh at all! I like honesty no need to apologise.
I don't want to leave, that's the thing. Most of my colleagues are lovely and I've been there so long that my friendships and social circle are mostly through work as I moved here for the job.
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