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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48474
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I returned to work on the 4th Oct having being off sick for

Customer Question

I returned to work on the 4th Oct having being off sick for two weeks, I got to work asked to go in the office where my manager then suspended me. I have in the last 6 months had three drug lapses, one of which resulted in me catching hep c. My work are very informed about my past drug addiction and employed me directly from residential rehab where I resided for 1 year.
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Oxford Uk
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: There was stock take and we had a £40,000 negative, but I was of sick for the two weeks. I have now been suspended for days I got a phone call yesterday asking me to in on Mon for a investigation meeting.
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: The company have also requested a copy of my medical history, I already have HIV, my doctor has prescribed me anti depressants, but I am struggling to cope mentally and my doctor is worried the whole situation could lead to a full relapse, I am due to start my treatment for hep c on Mon also.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

So how long have you worked for this employer for and do you have any idea why the stock take was negative?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
4 years, the stock take was negative because of multiple procedures not been followed across the business centre.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I know lots of senior management team came in and went through everything and were not happy, then I go back to work and I'm suspended on the 4th Oct
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. Whilst it can lead to disciplinary action, it is primarily there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any serious allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.

Ideally the suspension should be followed up with a letter confirming the suspension and outlining the reasons for it, although this is not a legal requirement, just good practice.

The period of suspension should be as short as possible and kept under regular review. During that period the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify taking disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations and evidence to be used against them and be given the opportunity to prepare to defend themselves at the forthcoming hearing.

On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.

At this early stage I suggest you cooperate with them and attend any investigatory meetings as required. If they decide to take it further you will get the chance to formally defend yourself. Also if you are unable to attend any meetings due to your conditions, do not hesitate to sign yourself off again and ask for postponement.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
There are a couple of other things, my past substance addicton, led me to be have ny forklift license removed from me and I had a disciplinary hearing for the risk of potentially using the forklift whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol this is still outstanding, plus I had already been off sick for two weeks with low mood, factor in the new diagnosis of hep c.I start my treatment Monday so I cannot attend the investigation meeting anwyay. I am going to call my manager tomorrow to explain thus, the hep c treatment is robust and I am anticipating being quite sick.Can I request all further correspondence to be in writing either via email or letter?My doctor is not happy that this stress is causing to both my mood and mental health, let alone the potential of a full relapse, I will probably end up resigning it's not been a great time for me.With all of this surely the company are not taking into consideration their duty of care towatds me, knowing all of what I have told you and that I was already struggling initially!?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

You can indeed ask for all future correspondence to be in writing if needed, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. Taking into account your health at this stage the employer should indeed consider that when they proceed with the investigation or any potential disciplinary. That does not mean they have to indefinitely delay it or not go ahead with it, but they just have to work around your needs. So it does mean the process could be slower or be in writing or at a distance rather than in the workplace, but eventually they can still proceed with it as long as they take a fair approach. Does this clarify?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
perfect! And lastly because I am suspended on full pay would that change if I was to have to go off sick while on suspension?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

only in terms of what you get pay wise - if you go off sick the employer could move you from suspension to sick pay and that could be less than full pay so bear that in mind

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
But if I am suspended on full pay and then I am sick during the suspended time, surely the suspended pay stays in place?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

not if you are officially signed off sick and advise the employer of it, because then the employer can end the suspension and let you be off sick, so if you are sick during a suspension your best bet is not to advise them unless you have to

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
If they end the suspension because I am off sick and then after ny sickness reinstate, then surely that's grounds as to why the need to suspend initially and then unnecessary distress caused by the employer?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

I am just saying that if you are officially signed off sick during a period of suspension, you can be placed on sickness absence rather on suspension. That is the legal position, see here:

http://www.rightsatwork.co.uk/newsletters/may-2011-newsletter.html

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Oh right I thought I had read differently, also with my the disciplinary meeting still outstanding would that have to be resolved before another disciplinary hearing can be made?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

depends on what the second disciplinary is for. If it is unconnected they can still start another disciplinary before this one is resolved