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I'm going to lose my job and I'm

(64 Posts)
storminabuttercup Thu 29-Aug-13 07:34:44


Over the last 12 months I've had recurring tonsillitis.

The company I work for use the Bradford factor, I've had 5 instances of 1/2 days do I'm
Over the 100 mark.

I am now on my final warning. Any more time off and I will be dismissed.

I appealed last time as it's the same illness, I'd asked to still come to work but do different work (I work in a call centre) but the appeal was rejected.

Low and behold I have tonsillitis again. Normally after two days of anti biotics I'm starting to pick up but I'm not and I'm due back in work tomorrow.

I can't sleep worrying. There really isn't a way round it is there? I honestly think that I'm struggling to get better as I'm in such a state worrying!

Does anyone have any advice?

noobieteacher Thu 29-Aug-13 13:36:01

Try to stand your ground. A friend of mine recently took a very lowly job in a massive company which hires lots of low paid foreign workers. She was getting messed around by her over-zealous line manager and stood up to them, she has now been made a permanent member of staff in a different department with a better salary.

There is hope but you need to trust your gut instinct about what is right and be strong and firm.

angelos02 Thu 29-Aug-13 14:04:12

Could you offer to take the time off as holiday rather than sickness? I have done this.

glorious Thu 29-Aug-13 15:34:58

storm I agree with the others about putting things in writing. Perhaps a good way to do this would be if they refuse you alternative duties on the phone you write an email summarising what you asked for and what they said and ask for confirmation.

Good advice too on emphasising it's temporary as that may be a case for discretion in the 'rule book'.

Sorry you are going through this and good luck thanks

storminabuttercup Thu 29-Aug-13 15:39:30

I've had a call and they have consulted with HR and come to an agreement that means I can take more breaks get drinks etc. so will have to see. They did say that another absence would trigger disciplinary but also that it wouldn't go to that stage before my op. (then kind of backtracked-dont think they want that to be knowledge but i kind of knew that anyway)

I'm glad they've come up with a solution. Not sure how well it will work in practice but I will show willing! I'm happy to give anything a try smile

glorious Thu 29-Aug-13 16:57:09

That's progress at least. I hope it goes well smile

noobieteacher Thu 29-Aug-13 18:05:48

I would send an email saying something like
"thank you for our conversation etc and offering me the opportunity to take more breaks... pad it out... . I would like you to consider perhaps if you have any alternative duties that would meet my health needs better, where I would not have to spend so much time on the telephone, I could be more productive for the company... pad it out... I would like you to consider this if things don't work out with taking more drinks breaks.

But aside from this, do they ever give you voice training? If you are using the phone all day you could probably benefit from learning to use your voice effectively, you could prevent a lot of strain.

storminabuttercup Fri 30-Aug-13 07:15:11

I'm going to be honest the way I feel today I can't see it working, not only am I still in pain but I've got the temperature, shakiness, earache. I normally heal much quicker once the antib's set it, im possibly becoming immune!

To be honest i want to phone and say I can't come in but feel after asking for the alterations it won't go down well so I'm going to see how I go on.

We don't get any voice training, I don't think it's common practice in call centres to be honest.

glorious Fri 30-Aug-13 12:04:44

How's it going storm ?

kickassangel Fri 30-Aug-13 12:36:52

I know nothing about employment law or medical stuff, but I am wondering, could it be your work partly causing this problem? How good are they at cleaning equipment? You maybe prone to infection, but it is coming from somewhere, and could it be the phone?

I'm not suggesting that you're antagonistic, but think about it. Do you get ill when on holiday, away from work? Also, do they clean things after you've used them so that it isn't spreading to other people?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 30-Aug-13 12:47:19

You are too ill to go into work, this is absolutely ridiculous!!

When are you due to have them taken out?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 30-Aug-13 12:48:35

I also agree with Kick - it's probably the call centre environment causing the problem.

storminabuttercup Fri 30-Aug-13 12:55:06

It's hard work, I'm in Lots of pain. I've taken a few minutes here and there to get drinks and luckily it's a reasonably slow day.

We each have our own headsets and to be honest the place is kept clean however if we are all dragging ourselves in when I'll there's no wonder.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 30-Aug-13 16:09:37

Honest to god, it sounds like a bloody awful place to work sad

There must be a nicer place to work than this, they always seem to be advertising for call centre staff?!

I just really feel for you, you should be at home - not suffering like this just to keep your job, it's fucking 2013.

It is ridiculous sad and it's making me quite angry that you have to put yourself through this to keep your job. It's not right.

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 30-Aug-13 19:29:25

Oh kickassangel, you are soooo right. I am a union h&s rep, and if the op was one of my members, we would be filling in incident reports every time she got symptoms after doing her job.

Seriously OP, recurring tonsillitis is not so common, and the fact that you are doing a job which probably overtaxes your throat is pretty suspect. And they're not making reasonable adjustments to enable you to come back to work? Doesn't sound like they are meeting their responsibilities for their employees H&s at all! If you don't have a dedicated h&s union rep in your workplace, get in touch with the union's head office, and ask for advice from one of their experts. In the meantime, you must fill in an accident report every time your symptoms are aggravated by your work practice. Every time.

Your union health and safety officers will be able to talk to you about claiming for workplace injury. And if you can show that's what this is, your employer will probably have a completely different system for it than their usual sickness policy. And longer term, they should be making it possible for you to carry on working by organising voice coaching to help you be able to speak without straining your voice.

noobieteacher Sat 31-Aug-13 02:34:03

Excellent post from Brownsauce.

storminabuttercup Sat 31-Aug-13 09:38:12

Chipping, sometimes it's brilliant, the company is good in essence it's specific areas where lower management dont have a clue. I've given 10 years to this company confused

Brownsauce, I wish you were my union rep! I'm logging everything, the excuse they are giving is my role is an online agent, therefore if I can't do that then I phone in sick and face the consequences, however at any given time there will be around 6 online agents assigned to different roles, all ones i am perfectly qualified and experienced to do. My choice was to step into an agent role after being seconded into other roles for so long with no sign of them being made permanent. Why they can't have me doing one of these roles for a few weeks while I recover is beyond me.

It was commented yesterday that the number of extra breaks I had taken was 'a worry' despite this being agreed from HR. (I took 30 min over the shift) so came home feeling awful. I'm due in in an hour, really not looking forward to it as my throat feels worse.

Ah well sunday will be my day of rest.

I appreciate all the support I'm getting here. It's nice to see I'm not alone in thinking this is a bit off

brewTo you all

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 31-Aug-13 16:22:28

10 years and they are still prepared to treat you like this, it's disgusting. If lower management are the problem, then upper management needs to be made aware of it.

It was commented yesterday that the number of extra breaks I had taken was 'a worry'

By whom?

I am actually livid on your behalf and I cannot convey how disgusting & disgraceful that I think they are.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 01-Sep-13 09:20:38

I wish I was your H&S rep too... Sounds like your employer deserves a good kick in the pants.

By all means keep your own record, but these must go, every time... Every day if necessary, in the accident book. That's a legal document, and if your employer fails to respond, review their risk assessments and risk management strategies, they are in clear breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. And if the same accident recurs, they HAVE NOT reviewed their risk management appropriately.

From what you've said, they could pretty easily put you onto working on something else for a white until you've fully recovered from your op. are that, they should probably consider rotating you (and other at-risk employees) between speaking jobs and other tasks. I already mentioned voice coaching (my mum saw a speech therapist after recurrent laryngitis during the course of her work... it worked a treat). Those would be the kinds of "reasonable adjustments" your employer has a legal obligation to make.

Once again, please, if your union rep isn't trained as a H&S rep (not all are), get in touch with head office, who will have H&S officers who can advise you.

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 01-Sep-13 09:22:00

After that... Not "are that".

LovesBeingOnHoliday Sun 01-Sep-13 10:43:43

Op I really feel for you. I have experience in an aging sickness in a call centre environment so may be able to shed some light for you. (there's are not my views but are tge 'rules' of my previous employer)

At tge stage you are with disp cannot be seen to be 'hiding' your absence by giving different duties. If however you know others are being given those duties for this reason you must raise this.

Have tgey suggested occ health? We would not dismiss for absence in this sort of situation without them. That means you would speak to them, can say to them alt duties until your op would help and would be a reasonable adjustment (ESP as you have a date coming for your op)

A disp meeting does not mean you will be dismissed. If they said last time that further absence may lead etc etc then Tgey have to follow that tgrough. But IMO Tgey should be stating you've had a significant improvement and with your op you should then have tge issue resolved.

It is very likely that you are on a report somewhere due to you absence, we had a monthly meeting where we had to report on cases such as yours (as you've covered as a manager you may be aware), as you also know call centers are managed very tightly and absence is no different.

If I were conducting your disp meeting I would not dismiss; you have made improvements and are doing everything reasonable to work and get fit for work and you have an op sorted.

orangeandemons Sun 01-Sep-13 11:56:50

I thought they had to offer you alternative employment before dismissal. Also if you have had this thing for 12 months or so, doesn't that count as a disability? Which means y,up are protected further I think

storminabuttercup Sun 01-Sep-13 16:13:32

Chipping, there are other ways I've been messed about its not the company as such, it's the lower management having very little understanding of actual process

Brown, I'm noting down everything, I'm not even sure there is an 'accident book' keeping things for my notes at the min. To be honest my direct manager has been superb and I did very little talking yesterday as he found things for me to do.

Loves, sounds like the process is exactly the same as your prev employer. (Wonder if its the same one) But those processes aren't set in stone. I've not had ohs involvement. Mighnt mention it.

Oranges, it's not quite been 12 months but I don't think they count it as disability, I know a colleague suffers from ibs and they don't count that. hmm

I've been able to rest my voice a bit today which has helped but as its healing I'm doing loads of coughing and that makes it difficult as I keep starting to tell DP something and then having a mini coughing fit! Tomorrow at work should be interesting confused

ubik Sun 01-Sep-13 16:53:59

Op I feel your pain. As a call centre worker I have developed asthma. I suspect sitting in an airless overheated environment, talking for hours on end, even through the night (am in nights at the mo) has triggered it.

I too went through a sickness absence process after getting whooping cough last summer. I had to have a clear sickness record for 12 months afterward it otherwise I would be progressed to the next disciplinary level. Fortunately I have managed it by going to work unwell. I have a dreadful cold at the moment but am getting through nightshifts.

I don't have any advice -just empathy. Sometimes all you want is to have a rational conversation with a manager and work something out while you are unwell. You are just a number, a bum on a seat and there are plenty of others queuing up fir your job if you don't like it - this is HR's attitude.

noobieteacher Mon 02-Sep-13 00:05:20

Asthma and whooping cough! Not allowed to be ill for 12 months or you get a disciplinary? This is like something from the dark ages.

I hope you both find some support to get the justice you deserve. A word with some newspapers might help - this issue needs a media campaign.

orangeandemons Mon 02-Sep-13 07:18:28

I don't think it makes any difference whether they allow it to be a disability or not.its the law which states it.

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