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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47904
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have just had a hearing and been given a verbal warning for

Resolved Question:

I have just had a hearing and been given a verbal warning for having five and a half days off work due to sickness in the past year. My company works with the Bradford Factor, on one of the occasions I was off, work actually sent me home and this resulted in having the following day off too. The other occasions were flu bug, 2 sickness bugs and an attack of vertigo. I cannot help vertigo as I have suffered with it for years and have to take tablets for it when I get it, never know when this is going to happen. One of my colleagues was off on one occasion for 10 days and nothing is said and I know she has had other days besides.
I just feel so frustrated with it all at the moment and I have 4 days left to appeal but don't know where I stand and whether it will just cause me to feel even more alienated from the company. What am I suppose to do when catching a bug, take it into work and have the whole office off with it, I feel I'm in a no win situation.
I would appreciate some advice please and do you think it is worth me appealing?
Regards
Mary Gunson
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer:

Will be 5 years in November

Ben Jones :

Do you know why the other person was not issued with any warnings? Also is there a specific sickness absence policy which the employer is following in your case?

Customer:

I honestly don't know, they prefer you not to discuss it with other employees.

Customer:

The Bradford Factor works out rating from the number of single absence's because they say that these disrupt the company more than someone who is off long term and of course a longer absence is covered by a doctors certificate and therefore not include into your rating.

Ben Jones :

So was there anything which said that a verbal warning could be issued after a certain score was reached?

Customer:

I received a letter stating when my hearing was going to take place and in it they stated the categories of ratings and what discipline would take place. My score was 137.5 which would have put me into the bracket of a written warning, but once I said that I felt it was unfair seeing that on 1.5 of the occasions they had sent me home. Which is why it then went to a verbal warning... Are they able to issue a written warning without first giving a verbal anyway? At no time when I had the 4th occasion off did they warn me I was close to getting a warning if I took another day off.

Ben Jones :

It is certainly possible to go to a written warning without issuing a verbal one first - in fact verbal warning are no longer recognised as any sort of official warning so there is no requirement for an employer to issue one at all. Unfortunately the Bradford factor is something the employer can use and follow a sickness absence policy when issuing warnings, and whilst there is not much you can do if you get ill or catch a bug, at the same time the employer is able to try and protect their business against wither long-term or frequent absences. But this is just a verbal warning - this is the lowest form of warning available so nothing that serious, it is just the first step of a long process, should you even get any further in it. The main argument is that the employer should not count any absences related to disabilities when calculating their score, so any long-term condition which significantly affects your daily activities, not sure if the vertigo would necessarily qualify if it is just something that comes and goes occasionally but bear that in mind for the future, depending on what reasons there are for your absences. As to appealing, you have nothing to lose by doing so, the worst outcome would be that the warning remains so there is certainly no reason why you should not appeal

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

How do I go about appealing?

Ben Jones :

have you not been given details of what to do by the employer?

Customer:

Do I just write a letter stating what I disagree with?

Customer:

They have just said I can appeal in 5 days which was from Monday

Ben Jones :

yes you would be expected to write a letter to state that you are appealing and give brief reasons as to why you are doing so, then there should be an appeal hearing where you can discuss this with the appeals officer and afterwards they will make a decision

Customer:

Ok thank you very much for your help, was hoping that an employee had a little more protection against their company, to me it all seems so very unfair, I could understand if I was abusing the system but I feel I'm now in a very awkward position and will come into work even if I'm on my death bed for fear of being sacked completely.

Ben Jones :

you will not just get issued with a warning if you are abusing the system, even those with genuine sickness can be cautioned and it happens all the time, but there must be a balance struck between allowing employees time off for genuine illness and also protecting the employer against not just people that abuse the system but also those who are affecting the business even if it is due to genuine reasons

Customer:

Ok thank you again.

Ben Jones :

most weelcome

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