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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48771
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My wife has been on sick leave from work number of weeks

Resolved Question:

My wife has been on sick leave from work for a number of weeks on the instruction of specilst doctor, at this time she was also pregnant. ( gave birth on 6 February ) she is now on maternity leave. Her employer has requested she attend an 'in formal investigatory meeting' to which they will not disclose their reasons, only stating they wish to question her following an allegation made. We have asked for clarification I writing to confirm the allegation, to which they avoid to respond. My wife is suffering from depression and stress, and I believe is not in a fit state of mind to be dealing with this matter at present. We have stated in writting that once she returns to work she will be happy to discuss the matter further, but her employer continues to hound her. Can we legally refuse to attend any meeting till she returns to work ? Thank you in advance ***** *****.
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 has she worked there for?
Customer: 10 years
Ben Jones :

There is nothing specific in law which states what the employee’s rights in this situation are, and most of the examples deal with their failure to attend a disciplinary hearing rather than just the preliminary investigation one.

If the employee is still absent after a period of time the employer may, subject to the employee's consent, obtain medical advice as to whether the employee is fit to attend a meeting and, if not, when they are likely to be.

The employer may decide that the matter can wait, but should ensure that matters are not allowed to drag on if the predicted return date is constantly being extended. Sometimes, in stress-related cases, employees or their GPs will assert that no return to the workplace is possible while disciplinary proceedings are "hanging over their head". In this case it is worth emphasising that fitness to work and fitness to attend disciplinary hearings are not the same thing.

Consideration can be given to alternative ways of conducting the hearing, such as by telephone, at a neutral place or location nearer the employee's home address, or even inviting the employee to submit written submissions and holding a hearing in their absence.

It I also worth noting that the employer’s consistent contact over this when they have been advised she is currently unfit to return could amount to harassment and she could consider raising a grievance over this.

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

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer: Ben, apologies for the delayed response, and many thanks for your valued help. Having digested your response I have now written a letter to my wife's boss stating I am his first point of contact until she is in a fit state to respond accordingly.. She is currently suffering depression and under a specialist on medication. My wife on more than one occasion stated she will be more than happy to speak with them when fit for duty and in a better frame of mind.
Customer: i have advised if his continued persistence continues in letters / emails / and telephone calls then he should put everything in writting and I will have a solicitor look over things. ( we have in the past ( documented ) asked for the reasons behind his continued contact ) to which until now he has refused to do !!! In his last response, he has left things very blarsie and open ended.
Customer: many thank
Customer: matt
Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

Customer: Thanks for your valued advise
Ben Jones :

No problem, best of luck

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