Occupational health meeting - fitness to attend grievance meeting
Jellymold · 04/03/2020 16:19
I’ve been off work with work-related stress and anxiety for a couple of months following a number of incidents with my boss where he was really aggressive to me in front of colleagues.
I’ve raised a grievance and immediately contacted a solicitor because I couldn’t see how I could return - as his behaviour was so awful. (I’m no shrinking violet - but no one should have to put up with that type of behaviour so often and I had addressed it with him multiple times. It got to the stage where I was scared to speak because you just didn’t know if he was going to fly off the handle. It was so humiliating. )
I gave a really detailed grievance and said they could contact my solicitor for evidence or use the detailed dates to pull emails from the IT system.
Work said they wouldn’t investigate my grievance until I returned to work - but no one has contacted me to ask how I am or when I’ll be back. This is making my anxiety worse because I just want this over with, and I can’t see how I can return as it will be to exactly the same situation - no changes have been made.
They have now asked I attend an occupational health meeting to assess my fitness for attending the grievance process. Have any of you gone through this? What should I expect?
YakkityYakYakYak · 04/03/2020 20:52
I work in HR. You have started a grievance process and your company can’t progress this without your involvement. In order to properly investigate they will need to ask you some questions and make sure they properly understand your version of events. This is usually done in a face to face meeting (and in my opinion that’s the best way for you to put forward your case), but if you are feeling too anxious then you could ask for some adjustments to the process e.g. an off site meeting (at your home or a neutral location), to bring a friend or family member, to do it over the telephone, to receive a written list of questions in advance, etc.
The occupational health process will involve an occupational health advisor speaking with you (usually over the telephone) to understand your illness, current symptoms and prognosis. They will use the information that you provide to give advice to your employer, in this case about whether you are well enough to take part in the grievance process, and whether any adjustments will enable you to take part.
I’d think carefully about what you want to get out of the grievance, you started the process so I assume want something to happen with it? If so, I’d advise finding a way to be involved. If you refuse to be involved, or if occ health say you are not well enough they may pause it for a time, but eventually they may either drop the grievance or conclude it with the information they have (which will probably make it less likely to go the way you want).
Is there anyone in your HR department that you trust who you can talk to? Don’t assume they are out to get you, there is every chance that they want to deal with your bullying manager and you finding a way to continue with your grievance may enable them to do this.
Also, if you do later decide to take your employer to tribunal, I can imagine it would be in your favour to demonstrate that you gave your employer chance to properly investigate your grievance and to put things right. But your solicitor could probably advise better on this point.
Jellymold · 04/03/2020 21:20
Thank you, that’s really helpful. The main thing is I don’t want to go into the office in case of running in to my manager - and the same goes for returning to work to be honest. Something needs to change in his behaviour and I don’t think that will happen for more than 5 minutes.
YakkityYakYakYak · 04/03/2020 21:33
Perhaps an off site meeting would be a good option in that case? You could also ask for a friend or family member to be present for moral support. They aren’t obliged to agree to these things but to my mind these are reasonable requests and will enable them to move forward.
I think take it one step at a time. So let them run the grievance process and see what the conclusion is then decide whether you feel you can return to work on that basis. As part of the process they should give you an opportunity to say what your ideal outcome would be, so have a think about that in advance.
Just reread your OP and saw that your work have said they won’t investigate the grievance until you return, this seems a very unreasonable position for them to take, as it’s clear that the process needs to be resolved in order to alleviate your stress and anxiety so that you can return. Is this still their position or are they now saying that they will conclude the process while you are off sick. I’d suggest being clear with occ health that you don’t feel you will be well enough to return until this is resolved.
HermioneWeasley · 04/03/2020 21:37
Do you need an occ health assess for fitness to attend the meeting? I assume you’re keen to get the process underway? From what you’ve said, it’s unlikely they are going to sack him, even if they find in complete agreement with your version of events, so you’re going to have to go back and risk bumping into him at some point. I suggest you break the psychological barrier of walking back through the doors and agree to a meeting in your workplace.
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