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Legal advice regarding illness

(5 Posts)
TeamAlphaFemale Mon 02-Jan-17 14:09:12

I am looking for any employment lawyers or similar who can tell me whether I have a case against my boss.

I went on maternity leave March 2015, due back 1 year later. 1 week before I'm due back I get diagnosed with breast cancer and signed off until further notice. I am not entitled to sick pay due to mat. leave so boss has to keep me employed but not pay me. Around August time I asked my boss if I could come back for severely reduced hours - he said it wasn't in the best interests of the business or myself that I did that. I am in a client facing role so I offered to come back and do all the shitty grunt work as and when I could. I got no response.

I had to sign a consent form letting him be able to contacts my Dr, after I filed a grievance against him for not allowing me to come back. I never got any follow up on my grievance and nothing regarding whether they had made contact with my GP. I gave them anything they wanted so I would always look willing, although found it mass invasion of my privacy and it really did cause me lots of stress.

Now my sick note runs out soon and I need to go back to earning. I do NOT want to go back to work for that man as it's a small company (less than 10 employees) and the way he acted to me whilst I was off I have taken very personally.

My question is can I start legal proceedings towards him for not letting me work while I had cancer? I feel it was discriminatory and I would like to be compensated for the stress and lack of earnings they caused me.

I have spoken to a law firm who said they would only tell me if I have a case if I have an appointment with them - costs £150 and I don't want to waste my money!

Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Musicaltheatremum Mon 02-Jan-17 14:22:00

Sorry you've been ill. Not sure why you couldn't get sick pay. It's separate to mat pay. You could try phoning ACAS for some advice before you see a lawyer.

prh47bridge Mon 02-Jan-17 20:22:24

I am also unclear why you couldn't get sick pay. If your employer normally pays people who are off sick you should be entitled to receive sick pay despite your maternity leave. You may have a basis for legal action to recover any sick pay you should have received.

I do not, however, see any basis for legal action just because they wouldn't let you work while you were sick. Even if your fit note said you may be fit for work your employer was not obliged to allow you to work part time or in a different role. If your fit note said you were unfit for work your employer was absolutely right to refuse to allow you to return. They could have got into a lot of trouble if they had ignored the doctor's advice that you were unfit.

TeamAlphaFemale Mon 02-Jan-17 20:37:06

Thanks for your replies.

I wasn't entitled to sick pay as I hadn't been earning much in last month or so of maternity leave. There is an amount you have to have earnt in the previous few weeks and I didn't meet it, I phoned HMRC and they told me this after a Macmillan advisor told me I was entitled to sick pay. I have been claiming ESA which has kept me going although is less than sick pay.

Thanks for a different perspective on the situation - what you've said absolutely makes sense.
From my POV I felt they were being discriminatory against my cancer status, which is classed as a disability. So they had been breaking the law to refuse me work. Didn't realise they were under no obligation to take me back.
Thank you!

DragonMamma Wed 04-Jan-17 21:03:16

Sorry about your diagnosis OP.

You're right that a cancer diagnosis classes as a disability but surely you can appreciate why it isn't reasonable for an employer to have to accept an employee coming in, doing lesser work than they did previously and an 'as and when' you could basis, especially when on an open ended fit note. It would have been nice to allow you to do something, I agree, but they didn't have to.

I know you've taken it personally but please don't throw good money after bad trying to get 'justice' for your (understandable hurt feelings) the legal way.

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