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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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I am a Deputy head teacher. I was signed off with work related

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I am a Deputy head teacher. I was signed off with work related stress following a disagreement with my Head teacher. Two days later I received a letter from my Head teacher who said she had intended to suspend me if I hadn't been signed off. I have now been off work for almost a year and have the support of my union and continued support and backing from my GP surgery. I went to an OH assessment about two months ago and the OH GP attested to my condition. I was informed by the school and County Council that there still wasn't enough evidence for me to receive pay according to the Burgundy Book (6 months full pay, an additional six months full pay and then 6 months half pay. I received 6 months full pay, have been on half pay for almost 6 months and am due to receive no pay after this month. I am still depressed and unable to function at a level that would be required in a school. I attended a second OH assessment today and the GP again attested to the work related stress that has become reactive depression. She has also kinked this with the behaviour of my employers. Will this now be enough to ensure the employers reinstate my salary according to the Burgundy Book.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.
taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.

taratill :

Has your employer looked at the option of whether reasonable adjustments could be made to support you in the workplace?

Customer:

No this has not come up. They just want to make me go to a disciplinary and dismiss me

taratill :

Ok has your depression arisen as the result of work related stress? Are you a member of a union?

Customer:

Yes I said I have the support of my union (NAHT) and that it has been attested that is is a result of work related stress

taratill :

Ok thanks, ***** ***** me time to check the position with regards ***** ***** burgundy book and revert to you with a full answer. You will receive an email notification when my full answer is ready. It should be later this evening.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

I need an answer in the next hour as I will not be available to check answers after this time. Wull the answer be ready in an hour?

taratill :

Yes I am working on this now. I am puzzled as to why they have restricted your entitlement under the Burgundy Book as the opinion of Occupational Health should not, according to the rules that I can see, have an impact on your sick pay entitlement itself. What information have you been given about this decision.

Customer:

That the employer does not have sufficient evidence of my current state

taratill :

Ok but the guidance on the Burgundy Book that I have does not seem to allow them to stop paying in that situation, so long as you have a doctors note you are entitled to it? Have you been told or otherwise shown evidence of this from your employer/ local authority?

Customer:

Yes. The local authority have said they want the diagnosis given by my GP to be attested by their own OH GP. but when it was attested to by her they still held back and did not respond when my union rep asked what other information they needed i order to pay the money.

Customer:

Now i have seen the OH GP a second time and she has very clearly related the work related stress and depression to the actions of the employer

taratill :

Ok the first thing you need to do is ask them what provision of the Burgundy Book entitles them to withhold pay in the first place? It is my view that, according to the guidance I have on the Burgundy Book you are entitled to the pay without the need for their Occupational Health to attest anything. There is no problem with them referring you to OH but this should be with a view to supporting you to return to work or potentially to look at capabiliy if that is not possible. Not to say whether you are entitled to pay.

taratill :

Furthermore as a disabled employee, a person with long term depression is likely to be considered to be Disabled for Employemnt Law Purposes you have additional rights.

taratill :

Firstly the employer must consider reasonable adjsutments to assist you in work, this could be a reduction of hours or duties to remove the work related stress.This is a legal requirement of all employers and it amoutns to Discrimination if an employer ignores this duty.

taratill :

Finally if the stress is as a result of their actions you may be able to bring a personal injury type claim to recover your loss in wages.

taratill :

If you have household insurance this may include legal expenses insurance, this is worth exploring in these circumstances.

Customer:

But they want to dismiss me not accommodate me in any way. They are trying to force me to tribunal so they can dismiss. They are finding any way they can to minimise any argument regarding stress or depression

taratill :

If they do dismiss you you can claim unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. It is absolutely clear legally that there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments. If this has not been consdiered by them then you will win in the Tribunal.

Customer:

Even if I am signed off pending suspension?

taratill :

What is the suspension for?

Customer:

I haven't been suspended yet. Basically what happened is I have been isolated and bullied by the SMY since arriving at the school 4 years ago. I repeatedly went to the Headteacher to flag up the behaviours of SMT and she just told them what I said and made the situation worse. Other staff also came to me to try and resolve their issues over bullying by SMT and when I spoke to the Head rteacher ion confidence she agin told SMT who treated staff even worse. I have written evidence of this which has been given to my union. Eventually I informed the Headteacher that I intended to write down some of the issues (as she always denied that I had spoken to her about them). I asked her to keep what i had written in confidence and she agreed (verbally). The next day I found that she had shared what I had written with SMT who refused to work alongside me (EG one member refused to attend a Performance management meeting with me). I then further shared the writing with other staff as I did not know exactly who had seen it or not. Then I went off sick. Ireceived a letter from the head teacher some days later to say I would be suspended for 'creating a hostile and intimidating atmosphere' by further sharing the letter I had written

taratill :

Ok I do not think that this does alter things. If your original allegations were about bullying and you were threatened with suspension as a result this supports your argument that your employer has been unsupportive and has not considered options to assist you in work. Obviously I do not have access to the information and evidence that is available to the school but on the basis of what you say I would suggest you do as I have suggest and and raise a complaint.

Customer:

Why hasn't my union offered this option?

taratill :

I have no idea. I would suggest you ask to speak to a senior person within the union to ask why.

Customer:

It seems to me that they are on the defensive all the time. Having said that they have now issued an ET1. How should this affect my chances of getting my salary?

taratill :

Who has issued an ET1 and on what basis?

Customer:

The union have issued an ET1 to the county council and to the school for not paying the money to me

taratill :

Ok for unlawful deduction from wages. That is the correct course of action. I would suggest they also complain of disability discrimination for failure to make reasonable adjustments.

Customer:

Ok thanks. I have to go now

taratill :

Ok I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. I will be happy to answer any follow on questions you may have. All the best with this and make sure you puruse the disability issue.

taratill :

All the best.

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