Return to work after stress leave - told I was overreacting

(9 Posts)
Polkadotdash Mon 20-Jan-20 20:12:13

Sooo I went back to work today after taking 9 days off for stress. I was signed off by my GP and have a sick note. At my return to work chat with my manager he said to me ‘was it really stress? Come on, we are all stressed. What tipped you over the edge then? Were you running out of the room and screaming or something?’
I didn’t know what to say. I’ve been through hell at work over the last few months with a massive amount of work to do by myself, non stop confrontation from the senior team, threat of legal action etc etc. I’ve been on anti depressants/anti anxiety medication to get me through it and had countless moments of feeling suicidal and wanting to self harm. I worry that people are following me from work and might confront or attack me or my children. I don’t feel that the details of my mental state is any of his business and that he shouldn’t be questioning me about how my stress manifests itself as if I have to prove that I’m not lying. He also indicated that I had hit my sickness trigger but I can’t see how as my last sick leave was in 2016 when I had an operation. What should I do? Should I tackle this? What are my rights?

OP’s posts: |
fasttalker Mon 20-Jan-20 21:20:57

I am no expert - but I'd get this in writing and then I'd tackle it point by point directly

The implication that you're no more stressed than anyone else- not his concern. He doesn't know what is going on to you to tip you over the point

I'd focus on what you need coming back. Otherwise you're just going to repeat the situation

sohypnotic Mon 20-Jan-20 21:47:30

Those remarks are highly unprofessional, and also not his place to question. I would contact HR, or a workplace union if possible. And request you have someone with you that you trust in future meetings - it can be a colleague, union rep, family member. I got treated appallingly on return to work following chronic illness triggered by a workplace injury and subsequent stress. Having union support proved invaluable, as was having someone with me in meetings who could back me up if inappropriate remarks were made or I was in any way being discriminated against.

Polkadotdash Mon 20-Jan-20 22:51:25

Thanks. I think I will talk to my union rep. I’m still shocked that he thought it was ok to question me like that and almost make fun of how I’d been feeling. Am I within my rights to not disclose the full extent of how low I’ve been feeling? It just feels so personal I’d rather not say ☹️

OP’s posts: |
NewbieSM Mon 20-Jan-20 23:29:00

You absolutely do not have to discuss your mental health with him. Very unprofessional indeed. If you have further concerns get in touch with you HR department and they can tell him to back off.

strictlymomdancing Tue 21-Jan-20 09:27:11

You poor thing! This is what I fear about my own potential return to work.

You should write to him, with HR copied in, saying something like:

"I wish to complain about the return to work meeting I had with you on x date during which you made some comments about my mental health that were not only insensitive but also discriminatory. You said "we are all stressed" and you also questioned me on what triggered it. You made an inappropriate joke about me running out screaming. For the benefit of doubt, anxiety is a recognized disability under the equality act 2010 and I hope, going forward, that I will receive more support and understanding than I received from you on x date. Should this not happen, I will have no choice but to escalate this matter".

Jinglebell2020 Thu 23-Jan-20 18:32:23

What they said ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️

cabbageking Thu 23-Jan-20 20:03:28

Good practise is to discuss what any trigger might be and if work related how it can be managed. Should the work load be reduced for a short time etc?

So although a discussion is advised he needs training about what should be discussed and how to approach a discussion with empathy.

I would complain about his approach and that there should have been some thought about what he needed to know to help you return to work safely rather than adding to the stress. It is about him understanding what might be needed and you being confident you are being listened to.

You would need to check out what their sickness trigger is. Every business is different.

Jejusa Thu 23-Jan-20 22:11:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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