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Think I got an unofficial warning today.(31 Posts)
I've been signed off work for 2 weeks with MH issues, I was off for 2 weeks previously at the end of last year. I'm really struggling, I've been assessed as having EUPD, I'm going through a horrible, horrible divorce, 2 weeks ago I nearly took myself to A&E as I was suicidal. Work know what I've been going through.
I'm due to go back to work tomorrow but had a meeting with my boss today. She said that things have to change, I haven't been working to my full capacity, there's a lot of bad feeling in the office due to my colleague feeling she's carrying me and I'm now going to be micromanaged. I have to turn over a new leaf and sort it out fast.
I've had problems with my colleague since I started, just low level stuff, but I brought it up with my manager a few months ago and was just told to speak to my colleague when I didn't know how to do something (this was a very minor issue in all the things I brought up).
I accept that I dropped the ball at work but I felt going to work and doing what I was capable of was better than not going in at all. I've honestly been doing my best, and thought it was enough. I'm having huge problems with anxiety and this really hasn't helped, I don't know how I'm going to face work tomorrow now.
Any advice on how to make this right? My initial impulse is to hand my notice in and get signed off for my notice period but I'll never get a decent reference if I do that. I went back to see my dr yesterday and he was more than happy to sign me off work for longer but I wanted to try and go back.
My divorce is due back in court next month and I have to move so my stress levels are likely to increase, I just don't know how I can manage it.
Can your doctor write a fit note for a phased return to work over the next month or 2 so you are on reduced hours to help with the stress. Hopefully then on at your return to work interview they will need to make reasonable adjustment for you?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
The dr did mention phased return but I only do 20 hours a week as it is so I don't know it would be feasible.
They would have outsourced some of my work so there shouldn't be much catching up to do. I thought I was ready to go back but this added pressure has thrown me. I don't know how to clear the air with my colleague either, she doesn't like me I don't think and this obviously hasn't helped.
The message you got today does seem to be that if you're in the office, they expect you working at 100%. Since you saw your doctor yesterday and they felt you may need more time off, maybe you could have another appointment or a telephone consultation if you need to. The way this has been handled is awful. Your manager should be telling you that there's no bad feeling in the office, or not to be concerned about it. It sounds like the sort of place that generates a culture of ineffective management, turning a blind eye to colleagues bullying one another, in the hope that the managers don't have to bother sorting things out.
Anyway, it's a rotten situation for you. If you feel you're safe enough in terms of employment rights, I'd be tempted to advise you take some time off (as your for advised) or have a formal discussion at work about your anxiety etc. Maybe they can help find some way to help with your understandable anxiety - some companies will look to occupational health, employee helplines etc.
If you do a twenty hour week, how is it split? 4 hours a day, or 2 full days and a half day?
If you do full days, I'd start with those being half days. If you work a few hours every day, maybe you can start with every other day - there will be options. We had a colleague do a phased return after an extended period of sick leave, and he started on 2 hour days for the first week (where he obviously didn't get much done), building it up by an hour a week till he got to 40 hours a week. It took more than two months, in the end, because there were a couple of times where he was struggling a bit, so I think he was on 6 hour days for about 3 weeks. I wouldn't expect most phased returns to take as long as his did, but then most absences aren't so long. My point is that it can be done, as long as management are on board. Your doctor has said phased return, so look at what options there could be to make it work.
Following on from this I went back to work on Friday, manager not in. Went in on Monday, manager said hello to me but no mention of a meeting to discuss the way forward. There's a 'team building' afternoon tomorrow which I e-mailed her about (I can only attend for part of it due to childcare issues-it's outside of my contracted hours) which she hasn't replied to.
At 3:30 she asked me what time I was there until, I replied 4:30 so she said we'd meet at 4:15. At 4:20 the assistant manager (who's been on compassionate leave) walked in to see her so my manager got another member of staff to tell me she'd see me this morning.
I go to work today, manager barely speaks to me, doesn't mention meeting up at all. But at one point spoke to the other secretary and was joking around with her and gave her a big hug right in front of me. Still not had any discussion about my work, and I don't know if I'm supposed to attend this 'team building' tomorrow or not.
This is being handled really badly isn't it? Or am I paranoid?
It's not looking good. Did you chase her today? It certainly won't help someone suffering with MH problems to leave them hanging on like that. But I'm v pleased you emailed her about the team building day. Paper trail.
Forgivem e if this isnt relevant or something that is done at your workplace but could you request a back to work type meeting with your immediate line manager? Things like really clear concrete targets to work towards, what you should prioritise. And set a date for a followup meeting.
In the mean time, keep a diary of lowlevel incidents. Who was there, what happened, what was said and by whom. It will help build a record and will also help you to look at things more objectively. Put as much communication with your boss in writing. Leave no space for error.
I don't know if I can go back. Today didn't go any better. When I was in the meeting last week I explained that my childminder couldn't pick DS2 up on Tuesdays and Fridays so I'd have to leave early but I explained when I could make the time up. Fine they said so I left work at 1:30 yesterday as I thought we'd agreed. Today I finally get called in to see my manager and the first thing she says is that it was never agreed that I could leave at 1:30 and I shouldn't have left when I did. I explained that I thought it had been agreed but apologised but said I don't have a choice as I have no childcare.
She then told me I'd been working much harder this week, when I said I thought I was doing about the same which was the best I was capable of she disagreed with me. When I brought up the fact that me and the other secretary weren't working well together she said no we weren't and she couldn't have that, but then just said we'd meet up again next week to see how things were going, without giving any thought to why we're not working well together or how to solve it. Then she finished it off by saying she knows I've got problems but so have other people and I need to leave them at the door. I bet she wouldn't tell someone with a physical illness to leave it at the door.
I was in tears in the meeting again. I feel sick and anxious but I'm a single parent, I can't afford to leave. I just don't know what to do.
Oh and when she mentioned that I couldn't go on the team building thing I said I'd replied to her e-mail and she said 'oh I never check that'. So why send something asking for replies on it then?
Write that down, the bit about her not reading email despite asking for replies.
So this manager isnt effective. So you need to woman up to cover your arse. So with the leaving early conversation it would have been a good idea to send an email saying further to our conversation today I am confirming that on x days I leave at y time and make up the z hours on a. Put a read receipt on it.
I would also write down what she said about leaving your problems at the door. Im not very clear on legalities but it sounds doscriminatory to me, but not sure if anxiety is a protected characteristic.
I think you should ring acas for some advice asap.
The colleague probably resents having to pick up the slack, but there are ways to deal with it that dont involve low level bullying. When you told your manager about the problems with the colleague did you email anything? Is there a paper trail with a date? This would prove that you were trying to raise and deal with issues
Is there a staff handbook on the intranet with things like sickness policy and performance management. Get it and read it.
I've got nothing in writing at all about any of this. I broke down on Thursday and can't face going back. My dr has signed me off for another month and I messaged my boss to say I think it's for the best if I hand my notice in. She said she'd call me yesterday to discuss it but didn't, which says it all really.
Desperately job hunting now whilst debating applying for ESA.
They sound like a total shower of shites. I'm so sorry you're going through this. I had a very bad period of anxiety the year before last and I know how hard it is to keep working through it (I was off for three weeks in the end).
Maybe some time off, in between jobs, is the best thing for you, while you take some time to recover.
Gosh OP, I didn't want to read and run! Your manager sounds terrible! Please don't make any rash decisions, do you get paid sick leave or are you on statutory?
I think job hunting is a good idea it's something to focus on but please don't hand your notice in until you get something that's exactly what they want as your not their "problem" anymore. Don't let them get away with that. Good luck and I hope you are feeling ok.
Ghast. I'm sorry you're going through this.
Do they know you're being assessed for EUPD or do they think it's just 'post divorce' upset?
Your manager isn't fit for the title, she couldn't manage her way out of a paper bag!
Assuming you've been there over 2 years...
I don't know if you have a case for constructive dismissal, but I'm sure someone who knows will be along in a bit.
If you don't, then I would arrange a meeting with her & request a decent reference in exchange for your notice.
You will be OK. We still currently live in a welfare state & you have a child. It might not be fabulous, but you'll be ok. Try not to worry too much, it's only going to make things worse 💐
I hope you have a shit hot lawyer for your divorce.
I would be careful about your next steps here, because so much of what you have posted about on here is not in writing and is highly likely to be minimised and swept under the carpet.
If I were you, use the time you are off to get sorted with another job, especially if you have the "luxury" of that free time to update your CV etc. Your DC come first and all this work stress is adding to your existing anxiety.
Please don't pursue constructive dismissal (it really isn't, but it is definitively very poor management) as it will make you even more stressed and put your health at risk.
Next time, please use email to create a short summarised record of verbal agreements about changes in work hours/patterns in writing, as it does give you and your manager the opportunity to come back on any misunderstandings - earlier rather than later.
Not saying there was a misunderstanding but in this case your manager has changed her story but you don't have written proof of that, so of course she will turn it round and blame you.
If you had it in writing, she wouldn't have had a leg to stand on!
Almost exactly what happened to me in my last job. I found out too late I did have a case for constructive dismissal. There's a very short statute of limitation on this,
My advice would be
DON'T hand in your notice yet as that's when the clock starts ticking, in addition if they sack you that makes your case stronger (the 1st mistake I made was handing in notice too soon)
Contact acas asap for advice
Advise job centre you may be pursuing an action for constructive/unfair dismissal. There are things they can do to support.
Mh is a protected characteristic under certain parameters.
If the company were to sack OP, then OP would need to work with a solicitor to create a case for unfair dismissal.
Constructive dismissal claim can only be made after the OP hands in her resignation (if she chose to do so).. She would then have the job of having to create the case for constructive dismissal, which is very difficult in many cases.
At the moment she can't do either, because neither a dismissal nor a resignation has taken place.
Also it's important to be aware that leaving it too long before resigning could give the employer the argument that the OP continued to work under the conditions therefore they accepted it within the Conditions of their contract of Employment.
A lot of high-stress scenarios where arguably the OP is having to shoulder all the risk, with not a great deal of gain.
Just a word of caution, that's all....
I would advise OP to consider a Grievance, first informally and in a polite manner and if she gets no result with her manager, then take the Grievance down the formal route, via HR.
A tribunal will want to see the employee has used all reasonable steps to resolve the matter using the employer's internal processes. A penalty of a 25% reduction in an award could be applied if the employee hasn't done so.
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