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Advice needed urgently please about this awkward situation

(12 Posts)
TigerFeet Tue 19-Aug-08 16:06:18

My friend (and it is a friend and not a "friend"!) is in a nasty situation.

She had a fling with a colleague and fell pregnant

The colleague turned out to be a feckless shit and she was not in a position to have the baby so she had a termination

She is now back at work.

Unfortunately she has a poor sickness record and the company we work for has a strict sickness procedure where all instances of sickness are tracked and if you have so many in a set amount of time then you will be counselled/disciplined. During the course of her pregnancy and termination I think she has had three separate instances of time off. Coupled with previous illness her record is seriously bad.

My friend doesn't want her boss to know why she was off - partly because the feckless shit has the same boss and partly from embarassment and wanting privacy during an upsetting time.

The site Occ Health nurse knows but I don't think anyone has told HR

DOes she need to tell her boss? Can she go direct to HR and bypass her boss (the path I think she should take)?

Would it be feasible for her to lie about the reasons for her absence?

Any advice for her gratefully recieved

Lauriefairycake Tue 19-Aug-08 16:07:51

she's not obliged to say anything surely, just accept the disciplinary procedure.

TigerFeet Tue 19-Aug-08 16:11:52

So it would be OK to refuse to say anything and she wouldn't be pressed further?

I think the poor girl just wants to put the whole thing behind her and doesn't want anything on her record. IMO (and I admit I know nothing about HR) she would be better telling HR what happened - wouldn't they then scratch all sickness absence regarding the pregnancy from her record?

flowerybeanbag Tue 19-Aug-08 19:34:01

She doesn't have to say. Usually it's obviously better to say, but they can't force her to unless they were paying her for the sickness, in which case they may have terms and conditions attached to occupational sick pay which may involve further medical investigation or medical notes if they feel necessary.

But presumably she has already had to give reasons for this absence at the time? So it's not a question of whether to lie, but of whether to now tell the truth to try and avoid a disciplinary?

She could tell HR if there is a nice HR person she could speak to. Pregnancy-related sickness can't be 'counted' for these purposes, but if they need to put a halt to what would ordinarily be an automatic disciplinary procedure, they will probably need to say why to her manager.

Given that, it might be better to just take a written warning or whatever sanction is involved, which will then be off her record in probably 6 months.

Only other issue to consider is if she wants to leave her job in the near future. Potential new employers are likely to ask about sickness record, so if this pregnancy-related sickness would make a significant difference to her overall record, it might be worth getting it sorted. But if it's a concern about her manager, she could do that at a later stage.

TigerFeet Tue 19-Aug-08 19:42:38

Thanks flowerybeanbag

I will pass that advice on to her.

ilovemydog Tue 19-Aug-08 19:46:59

So, all her instances of sickness have been pregnancy related?

Most companies have a policy where a woman can speak to someone of the same sex.

She should go directly to H/R, in my opinion, and they have an obligation to keep personal matters confidential.

Your friends really needs to let someone know the full story as otherwise if she were to be disciplined at a later stage, or sacked, then the question that would be asked is why she didn't let anyone know....

flowerybeanbag Tue 19-Aug-08 19:54:15

I don't think it was all pg-related ilove, it's those episodes together with her previous record as well.

HR would usually have an obligation to keep things confidential if asked to, although their duty of care to the employee and other employees comes above that if appropriate.

They would have to keep something like this confidential I would think, but unless they have discretion to cease disciplinary proceedings without good reason, it's difficult to see how a chat with them would sort this immediate problem out, although getting it on the record for the future is a good idea. If she wants it kept completely confidential, it might be worth swallowing a first level warning now unless there is a way of getting her disciplinary dropped without her manager knowing why. Seems unlikely to me I have to say.

ilovemydog Tue 19-Aug-08 20:20:01

What are the 'three separate instances of time off...' are they pregnancy related? How long ago was her previous illness record?

Depends on what the company policy is as far as first level disciplinary illness. If it's just monitoring for a specified period, then I'd just swallow any pride and take it. If her pregnancy related illnesses have the potential to turn into a disciplinary issue, which could subsequently get her sacked, then she should go to H/R.

But either way, she should let someone who will keep a confidence know. It may not help her at the moment, but may help her later...

TigerFeet Tue 19-Aug-08 20:43:16

She has been off sick three times since she found out she was pregnant - a couple of days when she first found out, a week a bit later when she was sick constantly (poss stress related as well as MS) and then another week following the termination.

Previous to that she has had about three or four instances over the past year. She has already had a counselling session (the first step in the disciplinary procedure for sickness) before the pregnancy which is why I am concerned for her now.

In her position I would be inclined to tell HR because I would want to be sure that the three pregnancy related illness episodes were discounted. She doesn't want to tell them because she wants as few people to know as possible. Perhaps she doesn't trust the confidentiality of HR, I don't know.

hotbot Tue 19-Aug-08 20:54:06

any sickness interviews are confidential, even if she fesses up to why she is sick she needn't mention the feckless **** who contributed to it.
i vant see the issue here, yes its nice to ahvr some things to yourself, but in her circs not at the expense of her personnel record ,she may well want to move to another job soon

flowerybeanbag Tue 19-Aug-08 21:01:56

But what reason did she give for those sickness periods Tigerfeet? 2 days then 2 periods of a week each is fairly significant. She must have had to say something to her boss surely?

For the reasons I've said, it's going to be very very difficult to get this sickness discounted and therefore the disciplinary stopped without her manager finding out.

If there is someone nice and sympathetic and helpful in HR, she could have that discussion with them. Explain exactly the problem and ask for their opinion on the best course of action given the circumstances.

If she doesn't trust them, she might have to just swallow the disciplinary at this stage, and should consider getting it on the record at some point soon when there would be no need for her manager to know.

TigerFeet Tue 19-Aug-08 21:13:02

tbh I don't know what she said before. I think she has been skirting round the issue tbh with talk of sickness and chest infections.

I agree it can't hurt for her manager to know. Like you say she doesn't have to reveal the father.

She is rather burying her head in the sand imo. I'm sure she thinks it will all go away and I'm not so sure. The company we work for is great in many respects but is rather hot on sickness - they must have had problems in th epast with people taking the piss. I am trying to come up with constructive advice for her which I'm not sure she will follow tbh hmm

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me - I just want to make sure I'm not telling her the wrong thing.

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