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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48788
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been signed off work by my GP and informed my

Resolved Question:

Hi.
I have been signed off work by my GP and informed my employer immediately. I have been deemed 'unfit to work' with depression.
My employer has asked to collect my car, phone and laptop, this is after the doctor signed me off.
The anxiety and depression is largely due to my situation at work.
Is this allowed and is this procedure correct?
Kind regards ***** ***** to hear from you in due course.
Simon Ewing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
I have been struggling with anxiety, stress and depression at work. I visited my GP this morning and he signed me off work 'unfit to work through depression'. He has now asked to collect my company car, company laptop and work phone.What is my situation?Kind regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

What reason has your employer provided for arranging to collect company belongings?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am unsure. I have not spoken to my employer yet as I am signed off work. Therefore, what do I do? I notified my employer before I was due to start work that I intended to see my GP and that I wouldn't be in work today.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
start work this morning.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day 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. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben.Are you still there?Regards.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks Ben.Kind regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. First of all you need to check your employment contract to see if it says whether the employer is allowed to do what they are proposing to. There could be a specific clause which says that when someone is off sick they could collect these, for example if someone else may need to use them in your absence.

In the absence of such a clause, taking these items off you could amount to discrimination, if you are suffering from a disability. For this you must be able to satisfy certain criteria and it is not limited to physical conditions only, for example depression can also be a disability if it meets the criteria. So if you are being treated detrimentally because of a disability, that would amount to discrimination by the employer which is unlawful.

Finally, even if you are not classified as being disabled, being treated in this way could amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence which exists in every employment relationship. This could allow you to resign and claim constructive dismissal if necessary, subject to you having at least 2 years continuous service with the employer.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on disability and how to establish if you are disabled, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my response should be visible on this page. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben.
Apologies, only just seen your correspondence. I have messaged my manager to inform him of my doctors advice but he is threatening me with non payment of my expenses and also sick pay. I have only been with the company 6 months. I am trying to find my contract papers and will advise further once I have this.
He sent me several txt messages yesterday with these threats to which is just addin to my levels of anxiety and stress.
I have done everything through the correct chanel but his messages are very curt.
I hope to be back to you soon with the contents of my contract.I rate your responses at 4 for this service.Kind regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** back to me at your convenience

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben.Today, I received a letter from my employer advising that he had terminated my contract. There was no reason given, only to say he is serving me a weeks notice and expenses incurred along with payment till the end of the month as a good will gesture. He wants me to return the car, laptop and mobile phone by the 19th of August.Where do I stand?Many thanks in advance and best regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi, sorry to hear about that. The starting point is that if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim.

So your best argument here would be to try and show that you are classified as being disabled under employment law (mental conditions can also qualify) and to argue that the reasons for dismissal were as a result of that. You could then consider an automatically unfair dismissal and discrimination claims against them.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on disability and how to establish if you are actually disabled, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;
  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;
  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;
  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)

If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:

  • making adjustments to work premises;
  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;
  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;
  • altering the employee’s hours of work;
  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;
  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;
  • providing supervision or other support.

If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination and if you were dismissed because of it – an automatically unfair dismissal. You can appeal directly with the employer first but if that fail you have 3 months from the date of dismissal to claim in the employment tribunal.