DH has been called to a disciplinary meeting(35 Posts)
Next week by HR.
He is a bit worried. It is for a 2 week absence last month when he was off for an operation. dH was upfront from the start about the surgery. Work saw all letters from the assessment to the surgery dates. He said he knew he'd be off for one week. They were OK with that and just asked to be kept informed. He felt fine on the Friday which was 7 days post op and intended on returning to work on the Monday but felt ill Sunday night. He called to say he was trying to get an emergency appointment with his GP and would phone straight after which he did. He was signed off for week 2 as he got an infection.
DH is just a bit confused why he is now being called in for a persistent and prolonged absence when he was completely honest with them. Why is it now a problem. Any thoughts?
Might it be a back to work meeting? We have to do those after an illness? It's not disciplinary, just to discuss what was wrong and if you're well enough to be back. Good luck to him.
A back to work meeting should have happened when he went back. Does his company have an HR policy that you can look at. What does the letter asking him to the meeting say? And is there anyone from a union he can ask for advice?
I thought that but the letter says:
You are required to attend a disciplinary meeting blah blah blah.
The purpose of the hearing is to discuss your persistent poor attendance. The absence in question took place between the dates he was off, ie those 2 weeks.
He has had no other absence since December 2013 when he had an accident at work which resulted in 4 weeks off with no comment made by his employers - may be because it was a work accident and it was witnessed.
Just a bit lost.
This does sound strange.
Is the letter clear on the exact nature of the meeting; is it a disciplinary hearing, or just an investigation meeting (the latter is something that some employers do first, to establish whether there is cause for disciplinary action).
Has he had any warning or inkling that the employer wasn't happy about his absence?
As said above, does he have access to the company HR policy / employee handbook? Does his employment contract mention anything about him agreeing to abide by this?
The GOV advice on best practice and legal requirements is here and is helpful reading.
In works terms, I think this will count as two independent absences of one week, in close proximity, which has probably triggered the meeting.
He had one week off for the operation, and then one week off with whatever meant he couldn't go in for the second week. Did he follow the sickness process that week? Send a doctors note or whatever would usually be required?
I'm guessing they are just following process, and once he explains, it'll be all sorted.
I will look through the employment manual stuff when DH brings it home.
Good point they could look at it as 2 absences. The day of the OP which was the Friday he took as annual leave. The 5 days after he self certified. The 5 days after that, ie week 2 were covered by a GP sick note which he got delivered to his work on the Tuesday.
It's definitely a disciplinary meeting and specifically refers to that 2 week period.
He also has on his phone a few texts from him and responses with his manager with updates over the 2 weeks about how he was getting on etc.
That would trigger a sickness stage where I work (even if planned)
I would tell him to write down the facts of his absence,so that he's not thrown by any questions. If he can't take anyone with him, and he is entitled to as it's a disciplinary meeting he needs to answer only the questions he's asked, briefly and to the point. Don't make conversation, and don't fill in any silences. Do, as MrsBertMacklin says read the gov. guidelines.
Thanks. Will pass that on. Yes, he can take someone with him if he wants to.
Well hopefully it is a matter of procedure. Even if they 'know' that he was genuinely ill, if their policy states sickness over x days / x periods may be classed as a disciplinary offence, they have to investigate.
If they don't, then they discipline someone else on those grounds, they could find themselves in trouble.
I investigated and wanted to discipline an employee for leaving work without permission, but he raised the fact that the old boss knew that a colleague did this and he got away with an informal warning, i.e. no disciplinary action. Legal advice was that we'd be on a sticky wicket if we went for gross misconduct.
it will be an attendance/absence management meeting. An employee can potentially be dismissed fairly for poor attendance even if the reason for the absence was completely genuine. He may well get a stage 1 warning.
(I'm an employment lawyer)
Can they look at it as two separate absences when he didn't actually return to work in-between?
To me, it was 1 absence period of 2 weeks, for 1 illness that was prolonged by an infection!
Doesn't sound like they have a leg to stand on to give out any warnings, I wouldn't worry.
They shouldn't class it as two absences since it wasn't two absences.
In all likelihood he'll just get told to keep an eye on his attendance and that will be that.
Does your DH work for a large company/public service? E.g like HRMC or DWP? If so, the letter could be a computer generated one, some robot noticed the number of days he was absent for and the letter got sent out without having gone through any human hands.
It seems of be very common from discussions I've had with people lately. Any absence sets off a procedure to go through a disciplinary.
My local do op tells employees they can only have 3 days sickness in total per year - any more results in a warning.
Attitcus what happens when the person is disabled? What if you are just ill? Its no one's fault.....
When I read these I am so glad I work in education....
If an employee is disabled then reasonable adjustments are likely to be necessary and this might include discounting the absences (to an extent)
If you are just ill then it's unfortunate but lots of organisations will come down hard on non attendance even if it's genuine. If the employee has more than two years' service then the employer must follow a fair process. If the employee has less than two years service then actually they could be dismissed after just one day's absence since they wouldn't have the ability to bring a claim of unfair dismissal (although might have a discrimination claim if they are disabled and the absence related to the disability).
Very large company but not public services. Will just need to see what Tuesday brings. Thanks all for helping. Appreciate it very much.
It'll be a storm in a tea cup, they have to tick the boxes.
I was off sick after my dad died for two weeks as I was in bits. Only sickness ive had in five years. I was sent for a disciplinary. Everyone looked suitably embarrassed, stared at the floor, muttered that they hoped I was ok now and that was that.
Annual leave will count as not being off sick, so if he had 4 days, AL day, then 5 days that will count as 2 absences.
His boss may well be understanding but if it's a large company it will be an automatic procedural thing. Try not to worry too much. At the company I worked for you were "allowed" three absences before HR would call a meeting.
It would trigger a disciplinary at my work, simply as a matter of protocol: in a situation like your DH's the actual disciplinary meeting would be straightforward and result in no actual disciplinary taking place, but as a result of people swinging the lead in the past there's now a strict HR procedure in place which is automatically applied to everyone so that there's complete transparency and no room for accusations that some staff are receiving favourable treatment.
It's a waste of time imo resulting in pointless paperwork and an example of the behaviour of a minority making things difficult for the majority.
Just wondering why he took day of operation as AL? Where I work, that would be sick leave, planned, and then post op would be planned sick leave for recovery. So all one absence. Perhaps this is now not working in his favour.
My workplace absence policy has triggers for various levels of absence, and requires the line manager to hold a formal meeting with the reportee after they have hit one of the triggers. If the absence can be shown to be genuine, and unlikely to be repeated, then the employee doesn't have to be given a formal written warning.
Have just been through this with a member of staff. The policy does allow for common sense and humanity too, but you still have to hold the meeting.
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