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can they sack you if you have a sicknote?

(13 Posts)
mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 09:46:03

Right this may be long winded! grin

I had a lot of back problems in my pregancy and was off sick for about three months before my mat leave with a sick note

I came back to work in June but had to have an operation in July so I took the appointment letter in and warned them that I would need to be off work to recover, initially at the hospital I was told about a month would be fine

Handed in note no probs had summer hols off, just been to docs and been told that I should really have a minimum of 3 months off as any lifting could rupture it again! So I will have to have another 4 weeks off as the doc will not sign me off

I have just received the works newsletter and it would appear they are advertising my job!! sad Can they do this? I have a contract and am normally never off (apart from these two incidents)

TIA

ScaredOfCows Fri 11-Sep-09 10:48:48

Yes, they can dismiss you, but i think that they have to use certain procedures first. I think though, that it comes down to 'capability' to do your job.

ruddynorah Fri 11-Sep-09 10:52:40

yes they can. but there are procedures to follow.

the pregnancy related absence should not be counted.

have you a copy of your company absence policy?

mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 10:57:09

no I haven't. It's no something that will stop me doing me job though

I had a hernia (which they think was brought on by heavy lifting whilst I was pregnant, work didn't do a risk assessment but I won't get into that) so once it's healed i should be ok but obv it's not advised to lift anything heavy if you can avoid it for a while after

Tinkerisdead Fri 11-Sep-09 11:05:43

Ive had to dismiss people for sick absence in the past. Significant periods of absence as you describe. Firstly a prolonged condition may well be covered by the disability discrimination act, you dont have to be registered disabled for this to apply.

If the DDA would apply to your condition then your employer is obliged to make reasonable adjustments. A risk assessment is paramount.

They could dismiss you if they could prove that your absence can no longer be sustained and that they have made all reasonable adjustments to help you within your working role with a back condition. The pregnancy related absence can not be counted.

Whether the absence can be sustained is subjective really, i worked for BT where we had thousands of employees so its harder to prove the person would be missed IYSWIM. If you work in an office of 5 people there you absence would have a far greater impact.

Hope that helps a bit as to how and why they could dismiss you. Keep a record of your sick days, what contact you have had from the company, what adjustments they have made if any etc if you are worried.

ruddynorah Fri 11-Sep-09 11:09:55

if the hernia is related to lifting in pregnancy, due to not having a risk assesment then this is your 'defence' or 'mitigation' should you find yourself in an absence review meeting.

mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 11:14:18

thanks that does help, even though it's worrying lol

they haven't made any adjustments at all

I told them I had a hernia and they did nothing

I told them I had a really bad back while pregnant and they wouldn;t even let me change the area I was cleaning so that I didn't have to carry everything up and down the stairs even though every other section is on the ground floor!

I asked for a risk assessment whilst pregnant and got laughed at by my boss and the lady in the office....so there's not much point in asking for one now sad

So if they have to disregard the pregnancy related illness I will have had 3 months off when I go back which isn;t that bad considering I've just had an op wink

nickelbabe Fri 11-Sep-09 11:23:08

but if you've explained your problems to them and they didn't help you by making it easier for you (especially when you were pregnant) and also didn't carry out a risk assessment that you asked for, then you have major major grounds to get their arses in all manner of trouble.
then let them try to sack you for it!
employment tribunal is screaming its head off!

mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 11:24:00

Thanks ruddynorah tha's what I was relying on!

Would I have to prove this at all, obv they know that I haven' had a risk assessment as I would have had to sign it, but would I have to prove that the hernia was caused byhavy lifting in pregnancy? or that the lifting contributed to it?

mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 11:49:48

nickelbabe do you think that it's too late to cite the pregancy risk assessment thing?

I asked a fair few times and told them when they should be doing them, but they literally laughed in my face!

In the end I just went to the docs and got signed off for two weeks cos my back was so bad I could hardly walk in the mornings! When i went back to work I asked to move sections and I was told no, so I gave it a week on just explained to the doc and he signed me off until my maternity leave started

I have diastasis recti (stomach muscle seperation) and this has also contributed to the hernia, the lifting was also a factor

flowerybeanbag Fri 11-Sep-09 11:56:02

I take it as you are talking about absence before your maternity leave that you have been employed there longer than a year?

Do your work now know you will be off for a minimum of 3 months? What did they say to you? To what extent have they kept in contact with you during your recent absence, and vice versa?

It is possible to dismiss someone because of sickness absence, but a proper procedure would need to be followed, and it would need to involve getting medical opinion about the person's likelihood of returning to work in the near future, that kind of thing.

I assume no one has any reason to believe at the moment that you won't be back?

I think you are possibly getting a bit ahead of things. if you've had no negative reaction as yet to your sickness absence, no attempts at disciplinaries or anything similar, it's a bit premature to assume that because there is a job like yours being advertised that they are going to dismiss you.

Obviously you are concerned having seen this advert, but I would suggest your first step is to contact your manager, say you have seen this and are worried, and can he/she reassure you.

ScaredOfCows Fri 11-Sep-09 11:58:43

Do you have a union at your workplace? Failing that, the ACAS site is a good starting point for additional information. If you do have any meetings with them, you should really take someone with you, for support and as a witness to what has been said, and either you or they should write everything down that is being said. Make sure that you have everything written down that has already happened, as sometime events can move on so fast that you become confused about what was said when etc. It's also a good idea to follow up any conversations with them with an email recounting the conversation, to act as further proof for you, should you need it, and to show them that you won't be walked over.

mustsleep Fri 11-Sep-09 17:17:21

hi sorry I went to vac and then it kept freezng when I tried to log back on hmm

Yeah I have been in touch and said I am trying to get signed off but if not I will only be off for 4 more weeks

they have not contacted me at all

I am probably completely over reacting but just wanted to be prepared just incase lol

so thanks everyone xx

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