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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45286
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a medical condition called POTS syndrome ( If I

Customer Question

Hi,
I have a medical condition called POTS syndrome (http://www.potsuk.org/what_is_pots2). If I catch a bug or become ill it takes me longer to get well and triggers the symptoms of POTS. It can also trigger randomly. My employer knew about this before offering me a job.
I have been in my current job 1 year as of mid February this year. It's a full time job, based in Manchester with a company called Bureau van Dijk. At the end of February this year I was taken ill. I had a skin infection, a toe infection and issues with my bloods. I am now waiting for an operation on my toe and I am unable to work at the time due to the infection triggering POTS which causes me to faint and be very ill.
That aside, before being ill I was feeling very stressed at work. I am part of a team that spans across two offices. One is in London and one Manchester. I am the only member of my team in Manchester and provide support to 18 members of staff, clients and a secondary Manchester office.
I expressed my concerns to my manager, we spoke over the phone. An email was sent to the staff of the Manchester office but nothing really changed work load wise or priorities.
I was then off ill and during the first few weeks I received emails from my manager that I feel were harassing. He was telling me I can't have more than one home address as I still have a home in Sheffield and that I should have a GP based in Manchester. With the rarity of my condition this isn't possible.
He pestered for a sick note which was emailed on the day I got it but then went on to complain about not receiving the physical copy as quickly as he hoped. However he had received it within 7 days. I was trying to get better but the emails I was receiving were not helping. Questioning my illness and sick notes seems unfair.
My question is where do I stand with regards ***** ***** and my job. I still have my job, I'm speaking with HR but I feel that a large part of why I was and am off ill is because of work related stress where my concerns were ignored and the content of the emails from my manager. Several phone calls and web chats were also degrading. One instance was where another senior member of the team ended the video chat by showing me their middle finger for no apparent reason.
I will get SSP but I feel its unfair I don't get more when its partly my employers fault. Sick pay was never mentioned when I signed my contract. I also don't feel like i can return based on his behaviour.
Thanks,
Nick Wellings
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.How long have you worked there for?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Just to let you know I am in tribunal today so may not be able to reply until later today thanks
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Im still employed with them. It will be 1 year 2 months nearly.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No problem.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Many thanks for your patience. The starting point is that if you are off sick you are only going to be entitled to SSP, unless your contract entitles you to any company sick pay. It is entirely at the employer’s discretion whether to offer any entitlement to sick pay and they can leave you with sick pay as your only entitlement. They could have an insurance policy in place which may cover your pay if you are off on long term sick leave but again this is discretionary. Alternatively you could have such a policy in place yourself just to cover yourself if you would not get much from work when you are off sick. The reasons for sickness are unfortunately irrelevant because even if you are off as a result of the employer’s actions (or lack thereof), it would not change your entitlement to sick pay. If you are forced to go off work or resign as a result of unreasonable stress brought on by the employer, then you will have separate rights to seek compensation but this will have to be done via the courts or tribunal. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal options you have to take the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Thanks for this. My main aim to confirm my thoughts. I will ask HR if there are any insurance policies in place. I believe I do have health insurance but I've not be provided with information on how to access this or what it covers.I do currently feel that going back isn't an option despite the options provided by HR. I don't think it will change the behaviour of my manager. I am genuinely dreading it. I suppose the questions are, what is unreasonable and would I want to take legal action. If so would it be costly and timely? I'm unsure at this time.Thanks again.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
What is unreasonable indeed…it’s a good question. Essentially it may be a subjective test, also based on the job, general expectations of workload in the industry and so on. The level of accepted workload on building sites may not be the same as in an office environment. Legal action could be costly and timely but you do have one advantage and that is before you make a claim in the tribunal you are legally required to go through ACAS to negotiate with them and the employer to try and reach settlement. I can discuss the process in more detail with you, would be grateful if you could please leave your rating for the advice so far thank you.
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45286
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Just left you 5 stars. You've been excellent so far. If I could afford to pay you more I happily would! ACAS isn't something I've heard of before. Any additional advice you have would be great.Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** not worry about paying more, I’d rather see that my services assist people. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits (3 months from termination of employment in this case).
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok thanks. I've not be fired and they are of course happy for me to return when well. It's purely that I feel I can't, that it would be awkward and that the trust has been lost based on the treatment. I will take a read of that page shortly. If I initiate the process id like to see if they thinks it's reasonable before contacting my employer.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
yes that is if you decide to resign instead - you do not have to contact the employer beforehand. You can actually start the process if you are still employed there if you are claiming disability discrimination as that does not require termination first. But you can try and deal with this through a formal grievance first before opting for ACAS
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Perfect thanks. You've been great. Am I ok to read over things, have a think and get back to you if need be?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
yes of course you can
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Today I received the following from HR. They don't seem to be addressing my concerns. Do you think it's best I now contact ACAS?Dear *****,
Thanks for your email and the sick note.
As discussed previously, we do adhere to the sickness absence policy as outlined in your contract and, as such, will pay you statutory sick pay during your absence.
Regarding the concerns raised below against specific individuals, I can only investigate these further should you decide to make a formal grievance. You will have received, at the point of starting with BvD, a company handbook which includes the grievance procedure in section 8.18. If you don’t have a copy of this and would like to better understand the process, please do let me know and I will send this through to you.
In our initial conversation on Thursday 31st March, I asked you whether you had any concerns about returning to work. Based on your feedback to me, I confirmed to you that we would do the following in order to help you overcome these concerns:
· Facilitate a gradual return to work and a different working hours pattern
· Give you more training in both Manchester and London
· Ensure more integration with the team in London
If you feel that the above isn’t sufficient, we can also look at moving you to another position at BvD. Given your skill-set and the fact that your role is unique in Manchester, this would mean relocating to London. If this would be of interest then do let me know and I will do my best to facilitate this.
Should you decide that you are still unable to come back to work despite the steps we will put in place to facilitate this, you may decide to give formal resignation from your role within BvD. Should that be the decision you take, I will see whether we can agree for you to keep the full salary payment made to you in March in error and whether we can also put you on fully paid gardening leave during your notice.
I hope the above covers any questions you have and do let me know if you wish to discuss this further.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hi, before you contact ACAS I suggest using the internal grievance procedure to try and give it one last shot to try and resolve this without the need for third party involvement. If the grievance does not work then you can indeed contact ACAS, taking into account the fact you must do this within 3 months of the alleged discriminatory act

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