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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45327
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been signed of with stress at work with my doctor yesterday

Resolved Question:

I have been signed of with stress at work with my doctor yesterday afternnon... as im getting bullied at work ... I called my MD tis morning to tell him that i have a 2 week line but he is telling me that ive got to come to work tomorrow as theres nothing wrong with me and he needs me to do my job for the company .... he is the one who is lying and bullying me and has done now for 5 months ... friday he had me in tears in my car with his attiude to me over the phone ...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

4 years Ben but my MD and I have worked together for 28 years ... he took me from my old company with 22 years service when he decided to start up his own business 4 years ago ... He made me sales director

Customer:

hello

Ben Jones :

just getting my response ready

Customer:

ok thanks

Ben Jones :

Your employer cannot force you to go into work if you have been signed off. If they believe that the reasons for the absence are not genuine, they can ask you to supply reasonable evidence but usually a doctor’s note would be sufficient and where it is not, they could ask you to visit an occupational health specialist who can verify if there are any discrepancies with the sick note and the actual reasons for absence.


 


As to the next step, if you stick to the absence, which you can do, the employer can only really do one of two things – discipline you and perhaps issue a warning, or dismiss you. Neither are unlikely to be fair in the circumstances if you have a genuine sick note and you could then challenge them as necessary, as far as going to the employment tribunal to claim for unfair dismissal if this ends up in your termination.


 


As to the bullying itself, it is unfortunately something that happens all too often in the workplace. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual subjected to it.


 


Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. In addition, they have the implied contractual duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment. That includes preventing, or at least effectively dealing with bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace.


 


In terms of what the victim of bullying can do to try and deal with such problems, the following steps are recommended:


 



  1. First of all, and if appropriate, the employee should try and resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying.

  2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the employee should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's grievance policy. This formally brings the bullying issue to the attention of the employer and they will have a duty to investigate and deal with it.

  3. If, following a grievance, the employer fails to take any action or the action they take is inappropriate, the employee would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim about bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming for bullying is by resigning first and then submitting a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal (subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer). The reason for resigning would be to claim that by failing to act appropriately, the employer has breached the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and failed to provide a safe working environment and that there was no other option but to resign. However, this step should only be used as a last resort as it can be risky, after all it will result in the employment being terminated.


 


In general, a victim should try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the resignation route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best way is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some reference in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.


 

Customer:

i have been taking notes Ben over the last few weeks , even when i called him this morning his reaction to me was i knew this would happen ...and he then said there was nothing wrong with me ... he has been giving me such a hard time with sales as the industry we are in has fallen over the last few months and also we have been having problems delvering the goods to our customers on time ... then our customer tell me that they dont want to use us again due to our srvice in delivering ... Ive explained this to him but he wont accept this ... also he gets me to do everything that we have problems in ... never anyone else always me .... he is now saying that im not doing my job as the saes are down and he is now lying to me saying that customers have mentioned to him that it looks like ive given up... i have asked him who as i would like them to write that statement down .... he also left a abusive message on my mobile phone and i said to him that it was out of order leaving that for me and he should say sorry ... his reply was no way was he sorry and i deserved it ... he has made me feel worthless ..and all the years i have been working ive never been off work with this ... I also believe he wont pay my salary but my contract states i will be paid ...

Ben Jones :

this can go backwards and forwards until one of you decides to take it forward or waits for the other to give up...so you have to decide how best to act as per the steps outlined above.

Customer:

but can he stop paying me .... and what happens if he tells me that i havent got a job now

Ben Jones :

he cannot stop paying you as that would amount to an unlawful deduction from wages, and if you are told you no longer have a job it would amount to a dismissal in law and without a fair reason for dismissal or a fair procedure you can consider making an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal

Customer:

again i feel im getting bullied by him with his comments to me saying that theres nothing wrong with me and i should be at work when clearly im stressed and the thoght of going back to get spo***** *****ke that makes me feel that i cant even be in the same room as him

Ben Jones :

I can see there is clear bullying but I have to stress again that you have to consider how to deal with it now - you can either leave it and change nothing and this will continue or take the bull by its horns and pursue one or more of the routes above.

Customer:

ok Ben ... I will be looking for a new job ... as i cant see myself going back to get treated the way he has done over the last 5 months ... even this morning i said to him you should be offering me support not telling me that theres nothing wrong .... i told him that he has pushed me into a corner now with his bullying and lies .... but thank you for your help

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, hope it works out for you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45327
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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