Am I being discriminated at work against post natal depression which has lasted for more than 12 months?

(43 Posts)
Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 03:05:09

Hello everyone I hope you are all well....
So I'd like to ask for some advice if anyone has the spare time to lend me some as I am going out of my mind thinking of all the potential possibilities.
I had a set of twin girls in Feb 2018 and was meant to return to work as a Nursery Practitioner in a school at some point in Jan 2019
Since Jan I haven't returned, I was signed off until March due to PND(post natal depression) and since then I haven't returned even though I am fit to return.
There were various messages back and forth from occupational health to my psychiatrist to the school etc. Anyhow I recently had a new report from occupational and they have said, that due to the nature of the PND I should have a phased return to work in a supernumerary supervised capacity. I'm not entirely sure what that even means.
However, I have a very big gut feeling that the school will refuse and say they cannot accommodate around those reasonable adjustments and will want to sack me. The reason of sacking they will most likely put down to 'concerns of safeguarding'

So do I stand a chance of taking them to a tribunal?
Has anyone been in a similar situation?

It's a very confusing situation because they have been paying me since Jan 2019 when I should have returned. Part of me feels like they genuinely want me to return, but if they did then surely they would make those reasonable adjustments?

OP’s posts: |
Tini17 Tue 08-Oct-19 07:10:37

Why have you not returned since March OP if you are well? Are they still paying you sick leave?
Are you getting support from GP/ Mental Health team etc?

Can you clarify - so you don’t know what their response to the Occy Health report will be and you are basing your position on a ‘gut feeling’? How do you know they won’t make the required adjustments? Planning a tribunal is a little premature, surely?
What makes you think they will raise ‘safeguarding concerns’?

Moondust001 Tue 08-Oct-19 07:46:08

What happened to make them think there is a safeguarding concern? Because it appears to suggest that something happened.

An employer does not have to agree to the recommendations of OH. They may not have part-time supernumerary work for you. They aren't required to provide you with something they don't have. Why does OH think you need supervising? It sounds to me like they know something that suggests that supervision might be required. Is there some reason they may think you are a danger to yourself or others?

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:18:17

So I haven't returned to work since maternity.
And yes I'm currently not sure what my employer will say to the new report but this has been suggested before and they said they cannot do it.
I had a bit of psychosis after my twins and was hearing voices and was very suicidal even attempted it which came up on my report that was shared. For this reason they claim there are safeguarding concerns as I can be a risk to myself and potentially others.

OP’s posts: |
Rotanicani Tue 08-Oct-19 08:32:06

Are you in a union?

MH conditions are far from uncommon in schools and I’ve had a few staff members return after suicide attempts. I’m surprised it’s a safeguarding issue if you are better, especially as it was post partum. The phased return is very common, though the supervision bit is unusual. Do you agree that is needed? Did they discuss why?

Rotanicani Tue 08-Oct-19 08:34:03

The paying thing is a red herring, while you are off the insurance will be paying out. If you return this will end and they will be paying two staff members for the role- just to explain the logic

Bluntness100 Tue 08-Oct-19 08:34:07

But again, why have you not returned when you're fit to do so?

MrsPellegrinoPetrichor Tue 08-Oct-19 08:36:41

That sounds completely normal to have a phased return after so long off.

Why haven't you returned if you've been fit to as a pp asked?

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:41:38

I am with a union. I do agree I need a phased return and test the waters. I have had a bit of a traumatic time being depressed since pregnancy in 2017 till now.

OP’s posts: |
Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:42:26

I would have loved to returned, but I was off sick from jan to march. Since march I have been fit to work even my psychiatrist said so but because of what I experienced during post natal depression, the voices, the thoughts, overdosing on medicine, suicidal attempts my employer now believes I am a risk to myself and others around me. So they have been writing back and forth to OH and I'm having meetings here and there which ofcourse I'm more than happy to attend to.

OP’s posts: |
hopeishere Tue 08-Oct-19 08:43:19

It means you can't be counted in the ratio for adult:child as you are being supervised.

Why did you not go back to work before now?

Teddybear45 Tue 08-Oct-19 08:46:25

It’s the voices that might be the cause. Do you still hear them?

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:47:40

Yeah I know I cant be counted as ratio. But my health was fall unto the disability side of things.
And they haven't allowed me to return based on medical suspicions

OP’s posts: |
Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:47:53

No I dont hear then

OP’s posts: |
Soontobe60 Tue 08-Oct-19 08:49:20

I would say your employer are being more than reasonable if they have been paying you sick pay since January.
Recommending the school give you a phased return with supervision will impact on them both practically amd financially. Obviously this has been dragged on for a long time, probably because of the safeguarding concerns. Has your psychiatrist said the psychosis and suicidal thoughts will not return? You have to understand that having such an illness makes it very difficult for your employer. They have to balance the risk of having you working there against ensuring they follow the letter of the employment laws in treating you fairly.
Making reasonable adjustments doesn't mean that an employer has to do everything possible to ensure an employee keeps their job regardless of the possible implications.
OP, do you believe that you will be absolutely fine going back to the same job? Have you looked at doing a different job instead? As far as taking your employers to a tribunal, you can only do this after the event, so you can't take them now as you still have the job.

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 08:58:17

I know it's been going on for a while but during this whole time if they made some adjustment I could have returned properly by now and had a probation period.
Yes I feel fully fit to work that's why I want to fight this tooth and nail to return.
Yes i struggled when i had the girls but it's not fair I get dismissed because of a pregnancy related problem.
I cant work elsewhere with them saying theres a safeguarding concern
Iv only ever worked in early years I have no experience or knowledge in any other sector. My degree is in early years all that will go waste if an employer states there are safeguarding concerns

OP’s posts: |
Soontobe60 Tue 08-Oct-19 09:00:44

They will be basing their decisions on advice and evidence from medics, not from suspicions. It may be that the psychiatric report does not talk about certainty, e.g. 'Skyshar is currently not experiencing psychotic episodes, but they may reoccur in the future'.
This in itself is enough for your employer to be very concerned.

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 09:02:41

Iv seen all the reports my psychiatrist has sent to OH and he has said I am fit to work on a phased return. He didn't even discuss about supervision.

OP’s posts: |
Soontobe60 Tue 08-Oct-19 09:05:46

Sorry Op, by working elsewhere I meant out of early years education. If you are dismissed, it would not be as a result of a pregnancy related problem, it would be as a result of a mental health issue. I guess no one knows how you will manage returning to this job until you give it a try. I know it can be very hard for any parent to return to work after maternity, but you've had twins, and a very serious mental health episode.
It's such a terrible position to be in, and I hope you can all come to the right decision for everyone.
What have your union advised?

Soontobe60 Tue 08-Oct-19 09:07:05

So Im assuming was able to give assurances that there would be no repeat of your psychosis or suicide attempt?

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 09:10:51

It has been difficult and I dont wish to work in any other sector minis education. My degree would have gone to waste. Unless I have another child the likeliness of psychosis returning is highly unlikely and I dont know about suicidal.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Tue 08-Oct-19 09:14:10

In your thread in September you said they'd offered you a settlement and a glowing reference. Did you discuss that offer with your union/a solicitor?

WaxOnFeckOff Tue 08-Oct-19 09:16:57

No-one can second guess what they will or won't do, but it sounds as if they are trying to keep you rather than sack you. They will be looking for you to return as an "extra" member of staff initially so that they can assess how well you cope without putting you under pressure. Don't take this the wrong way, and clearly we don't have all the details or know you, but your post comes across a bit paranoid. Has that been part of your illness?

Skysha Tue 08-Oct-19 09:20:10

They suggested the settlement and reference but they didn't go ahead with it and instead did another OH report. And yeah I have had some anxiety and paranoia since iv been unwell and get worried fast and csnt help but think of different outcomes

OP’s posts: |
WaxOnFeckOff Tue 08-Oct-19 09:26:39

If you want to go back into this kind of work then I suggest you work with occupation health and the nursery and get the phased return as supernumery put in place as soon as possible. This is entirely normal. My DH works in the nhs and has been off with an injury, he has to have a phased return and a lifting and handling assessment and will initially return as supernumery too. Try not to worry about things that haven't happened, easier said than done I know.

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