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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Sorry two questions - what do/can you do if you put an a

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Sorry two questions - what do/can you do if you put an a grievance to the chair of governors of a school about the head teacher and it is ignored.I was medically suspended on Tuesday due to concerns to safety to my self - I have been reporting work related stress to them over the past month and increased symptoms each time - I informed them that three mental health professionals had express concerns about me last week but had all stated that although it may be possible to help me manage the stress without addressing the cause at work it would be limited. The head teacher made it almost impossible for me to attend a self funded psychologist but I did manage it at the last minute, she is also refusing to allow a work coach and mediator to be provided as recommended with funding by access to work. I have pointed out on several occasion that the recommended work coach could have help resolved many of the issues that have continued to increase my stress levels. But she does not accept the access to work report as it is based on my perception of my needs and she wants it redone based on her perception of my needs. I have not been off sick recently but got called into her office part way through the morning and told that I was being medically suspended due to concerns of safety to my self and I was not to return to the school premises nor access my work emails - I think she said I wasn't to contact anyone at the school and that she would contact me by phone - I asked if it could be by personal email. I was then escorted to get my belongings and escorted offsite and to my car. I have not heard anything since, I have not had any written confirmation and am starting to become increasingly stressed again. I am going to go to gp tomorrow and see if I can get a fit note and return with it to work. I can't find anything about being medically suspended when you haven't been off sick. Can you give me any advice, do I have any rights, it has been suggested that I could put in a grievance but as above last grievance was completely ignored.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Two jobs - one casual since 2009 and other permanent 2011 but have continuous local authority employment since 2004
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Medical suspension can occur at any time, whether you have been off sick or not. It is basically a forced suspension by the employer when there are health and safety concerns, which make your presence in work unsafe. Whilst you can get a fit note to state that you are fit to attend work, this is just advisory and the final decision rests with the employer.

In terms of how to challenge this and the issues with the grievance, ultimately this could amount to constructive dismissal and/or disability discrimination.

This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:

· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and

· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long.

A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).

The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away.

If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.

Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.

An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss how to initiate a claim. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have just rejected a settlement offer which inferred that if I didn't accept it disciplinary would follow - have had several this may lead to disciplinary procedures for things that I haven't actually done - work place stress from this is causing me to be increasingly unwell and I just want to return to work. Settlement offer followed a grievance of failure to follow outcome of previous grievance last year which was acknowledged and corrected. Told not allowed to contact anyone so how can I approach them and on my rejection of the settlement it has now been withdrawn.
Though Did put new grievance in but it has been ignored - what steps can I take if a grievance submission is ignored.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I just clarify that my employer's opinion of my health is considered to have a higher status and more validity than a qualified doctor.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

The grievance is your only internal option to challenge these issues so if it is ignored then it may have to come down to you making a claim in tribunal. This would either be a constructive dismissal claim following your resignation, or a disability discrimination claim which you can make whilst still employed there. It depends if you feel you cannot continue working there as a result of all this.

The employer retains the final decision in terms of your health when it comes to workplace matters but if there is professional medical evidence to suggest otherwise and they have unreasonably failed to follow that advice then questions will be asked and that can form part of any potential claim

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not really clear that you have answered my questions - though I appreciate there may not be any answers. My employer is trying to force me to leave firstly by offering a settlement, secondly by continually causing me increased stress, thirdly regular threats of possible disciplinary for things I haven't done and now a medical suspension which has had no written confirmation for the illness that she has caused and your advice is to leave - I want to know how I can stay in my job as if I leave I will never be able to work again.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Ok the issue here is that you cannot force the employer to act as they should, as you would want them or as any reasonable person would expect them to. In the end, they can act in a manner that makes it very difficult for you to continue working there. Sadly, no one can step in and force them to change their practices. So that is where the legal options I mentioned come in – in the end you have to make a choice to either continue there and fight them (this would have to be done internally using any grievance procedure or other internal complaint routes) or reign and pursue the constructive dismissal option. Hope this clarifies?

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