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Signed off work because of bullying by manager. Now my manager has informed me Occupational health will be contacting me, what do they want? What will they ask?

(18 Posts)
worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 15:56:08

I am signed off work for two weeks due to the stress caused by my manager.

I started a thread re. this issue a week ago and many MN'ers were very supportive and encouraged me to see my GP who signed me off for two weeks.

I am due back on Friday, although the thought of going back kept me awake last night and when my manager phoned this afternoon my stomach was in knots talking to him and I am really scared to speak to occupational health.

What will they want and what do I say to them?

I haven't filled out the grievance form yet as I was hoping my manager would back off once I had been to my doctor re. this situation. I guess that is the next step. But grievance is dealt with in house so I feel it would be a waste of time anyway as it would more than likely be swept under the carpet.

Would occupational health look unfavourably on me as I haven't actually made an official complaint?

Finbar Wed 19-Oct-11 16:00:22

Hi please don't worry - Occupational health will only be interested in your health and what your GP has said to you. Their purpose is to come to an informed opinion about when you might be fit for work again.
Does anyone at work know the actual reason for your stress? At the moment I am assuming that your Fit Note just says Stress, but won't give any background cause.

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 16:07:13

That's right Finbar it just says Stress induced problems, but not pointing to the actual reason.

The thought of going back and having to deal with my manager makes me feel sick to the stomach. I have no idea about occupational health but after speaking to him I feel as if they are just another thing he is trying to use against me.

I realise this is probably very unreasonable but it's just how I feel now - like he was trying to scare me by mentioning them.

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 16:30:41

bumping

glastocat Wed 19-Oct-11 16:37:00

I have been in a very similar position (twice!) and have found Occ Health to be impartial and very helpful in resolving the situation. Their main concern will be to help you. Please try not to worry too much about it, I hope they can help you.

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 16:40:33

What sort of things do they want to know glastocat?

MrsJasonBourne Wed 19-Oct-11 16:50:38

Apart from asking how you are and making sure you're fit to return to work, shouldn't you be telling them why you've got stress?

If you tell them that it's actually because of your awful manager, aren't they then obliged to do something about it? Can't you be transferred to another office or department? What would be the good of returning you to the same stressful situation?

Are you looking for another job?

EdithWeston Wed 19-Oct-11 16:59:00

IIRC, one of their roles is to stay in touch with employees who are on sick leave. You do not have to tell them exactly what condition you have (though in practice most people do). They will also ask if you know when you expect to return to work, and if there are any H&S type adjustments that will ease your return to work (which they should then action in time for your return). (BTW: if you choose not to declare any health issues, then if anything untoward happens as a consequence it will be your responsibility - I'm thinking about things like being on certain medicines and operating machinery).

Anything to do with your health should be confidential within that team. You may want to ask for assurances about how health information is held in your organisation.

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 17:09:43

I just wanted advice about occupational health.

Ormirian Wed 19-Oct-11 17:11:55

It should be a good thing. Assuming you aren't intending to stay off work permanently, they will be able to help to make your return easier.

Finbar Wed 19-Oct-11 18:36:25

Occupational Health may want your permission to contact your GP. This will be so that together you can all come to the best return to work plan for you. It may be worth you having a think about whether you wish to disclose what you feel the root of the stress is. OH won't be able to sort out the problem for you per se. I imagine they will advise you to speak to HR or to use the formal procedure - grievance.
However, I think you first need a clear period to rest your mind and get yourself well without worrying about grievances. Take some time to recuperate.

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 18:58:18

I don't mind them contacting my GP, she is fully aware of the situation and did offer to sign me of for longer if I go back to see her.

I am due back Friday Finbar so not much more time to recuperate.

So basically they just ask why I'm off work. I tell them and give permisson to contact GP. They will probably advise grievance procedure to resolve the issue. And that's it?

An0therName Wed 19-Oct-11 19:19:53

sound like might be worth getting signed off for anther week - and in a similar situation OH were very very helpful - reallly helped me get issues sorted and helped divised a return to work plan - so I would suggest having the meeting before you go back to work

worklifeishell Wed 19-Oct-11 19:37:34

I feel ashamed to go back to the doctors. Like I'm trying to skive more time off

beachholiday Wed 19-Oct-11 19:52:53

OH are concerned with your health, in the workpace. They have to take confidentiality very seriously. Many companies have a policy that after X number of days a referral to OH is automatic, to prevent problems growing. The manager of the person who is off is usually obliged to make the referral. OH are also there to ensure your job does not have a negative impact on your health - mental or physical. They can be a great source of support.

I understand this might feel like just another stress - especially as you heard about it from your manager - but if you can put that aside and see this as an opportunity, they could be very helpful in making your work situation easier for you.

I would not feel bad aat all about asking the GP to be signed off for a bit longer - you could explain that you are now engaging with OH to find a longterm solution, and would prefer to do that before you return. No-one wants a situation where you return before you are ready and become more stressed, and it could be better longterm to rngage in trying to sort things rather than return to the same situation that would wear you down again.

Stress from workplace difficulties accounts for a huge amount of absences from work every year - its just that generally people do not know that is the reason their colleagues have been off.

worklifeishell Thu 20-Oct-11 09:15:16

Thank you beach, that was a very reassuring post smile

I feel so much better about speaking to occupational health. Would they be able to support a move for me to another shift away from this manager?

I have an appointment this morning. with the GP, I will say what you said but I'm still dreading it - feel a fraud

Ciske Thu 20-Oct-11 09:21:50

When I've used occupational health in my job, they normally come back with a list of recommendations that should help you feel better in the job and support your health and wellbeing. I'm not sure if they will get involved in the grievance process directly, but their advice should form part of your return to work.

My advice would be to contant your union to help you resolve this. Normally you would work with your line manager to put the recommendations from occupational health in place, but seeing the issue is with your manager, it would make sense that there is somebody else involved as well.

A friend of mine is in the same situation of being off with stress, with line manager playing a large part in the problems. She still has contact with the company but not via her line manager, she uses another manager within the same team that she feels more comfortable with.

flowery Thu 20-Oct-11 09:34:14

OH won't advise you bring a grievance, that's not their remit. They will be looking at your health, how it affects your work and vice versa, and whether there are any adjustments that can be made to bring you back to work more quickly. That might involve advising a transfer if that's a possibility but they won't tell you to bring a grievance.

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