How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question

Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45310
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

, I have an employment law questions... I was recently

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I have an employment law questions...
I was recently working for a large IT company based in the west midlands as a project manager, I was employed on a rolling three month contract to cover maternity leave.
I started last august and completed my second contract at the end of January, in this period I was required to work very extended hours and most weekends I had work. I received no induction to the company, its processes or procedures as I had asked for at interview stage and was provided with a number (x6) of projects to run within 3 days of my starting. Each project had been running for some time and no work had been performed on this, some were to be completed within 4-6 weeks and all had serious problems. This resulted in my working very long hours and a high degree of stress.
I did tell my manager about this and that al of the work I was being given appeared to be difficult cases and was causing me some stress and sleepless nights. During this period I received an award from the company for my 'commitment to the company'. I was also promised that the position was gong to be made permanent and the paperwork was being completed.
Over the Christmas period I had time of but started getting panic attacks and not sleeping at all on the last weekend before my return an on the 5th I could not go into the office. I informed my manager by email then a doctors note which I scanned and sent in by email. Over this period I suffered anxiety and panic attacks and wasnt able to contemplate work or speaking/emailing anyone.
I was telephoned by HR on the 27th Jan, they told me the scanned notes were unreadable even though I could read the scanned docs and the emailed versions (printed and electronic) on my PC. The HR person asked me when the doctor had signed me off until which at that point was the 9th Feb and the reason I was off. I quoted the doctors note and said "Stress related condition", they asked if this was work related and I replied "predominantly", they said they would talk to my manager about it and would get back to me.
later that day I received an email from HR terminating my employment with them due to not having complied with the company absence policy which required me to call my manager every day an tell them where I could be contacted. This was not an option for me with the condition I had. They terminated me with 7 days notice as per my contract and 1 day short of the completion of my probationary period.
In the period I was off the first call I had from anyone in HR was on the 27th Jan and they didn't mention anything about my contacting them daily, and gave no indication it was a problem other than not being able to read the sick notes. It was clear to me that my termination was related to the condition I was suffering due to work and nothing to do with the absence notification, I believe this was an excuse.
Other than being morally repulsive, can you tell me if they can do this, can they just walk away like this?
Many Thanks
Leon
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Were the conditions you were suffering likely to last for a prolonged period, specifically over a year?

Customer:

Hi Ben,

Customer:

No, I dont believe so although had the conditions continued then they might well have done.

Customer:

I am feeling much recovered naw and would have been able to return shortly.

Ben Jones :

Hi, your rights will very much depend on whether your condition amounts to a disability in law. You see, if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim.

The only thing you can potentially argue in your case is disability discrimination but you would have to show that your condition met the definition of disability in law. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

I will break this definition down:



  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)


If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

So you can only challenge this if you can show that you had a disability as per the definition above. In those circumstances if the dismissal was because of the condition then you can claim unfair dismissal and disability discrimination – you have 3 months from the date of termination to make your claim in the employment tribunal. If you cannot show you had a disability then unfortunately you will not have any protection against the dismissal.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Hi,

Customer:

Thanks for that.

Customer:

As I was suffering from stress & anxiety which prevented me from many of the normal day to day interactions with others, particularly related to work, reading emails, answering the phone, groups of people, engaging with anything vaguely stressful, going outside the home and my doctor put me on anti-depressants for the anxiety attacks. This did effectively render me unable to work or function in any normal way.

Customer:

Would this qualify?

Customer:

Thanks

Customer:

Leon

Ben Jones :

That would only be part of it, you still need to show the long-term factor, that this had either lasted or was likely to last for more than a year - you may not be able to satisfy that unless you get some formal professional opinions from medical practitioners

Customer:

No,

Customer:

there is no way its going to last a year, unless the pressure continued of course. Ok, I thought it was a long shot and even though morally disgusting I thought they could probably get away with it even though a lot of people are saying "they cannot get away with that". I am very disappointed that even with the amount of time, praise, promises and awards received from them that they would treat me like this when its a situation caused by them.

Ben Jones :

I understand and empathise but I obviously have to advise you what the law is and unfortunately you have limited rights in the first 2 years of service so unless you can show disability applied, they can do what they have done

Ben Jones :

Does this clarify your position?

Customer:


No, I understand that and its why I'm on this web site. You have indeed clarified the situation for me.

Customer:

Many Thanks

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

Customer:

I dont seem to be able to leave a rating, the page is saying that you have not finished answering???

Ben Jones :

Hi, the option has been enabled so you should be able to. If you still can't then please just type your selection on here many thanks

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45310
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ben Jones

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    10492
    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    10492
    Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    41
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Laywer

    Satisfied Customers:

    49
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/taratill/2010-03-09_111600_phpsik04M_c2AM.jpg taratill's Avatar

    taratill

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    671
    15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LI/li/2014-12-19_134845_lexughes.64x64.jpg Alice H's Avatar

    Alice H

    Solicitor Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    99
    Partner in national law firm with 20+ years legal experience
  • /img/opt/shirt.png tdlawyer's Avatar

    tdlawyer

    Laywer

    Satisfied Customers:

    53
    Lawyer with 9 years experience in employment related issues.
 
 
 

Related Employment Law Questions