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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 51165
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My girlfriend is currently signed off work with stress. She

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My girlfriend is currently signed off work with stress. She had agreed with HR that it was ok to maintain contact directly with them via email as she was not ready to talk to her managers at the moment as they were the cause of her anxiety. Out of the blue without warning one of her managers phones the house directly, yesterday. Luckily I answered the call and was able to stop him speaking directly to her. He wanted her to attend a meeting in the office today about "Proposed changes to IT". She declined the meeting invite via an email. But her manager replied "If you’re not able to attend then we will need to arrange a private 121 call with you tomorrow.
Is it okay for us to call you at 1pm?"1) Has he broken any employment law in phoning her direct?
2) Does she have to take the telephone call with him, can she ask for it to be a member of HR instead?Meeting invite talks about "rationalisations" so we suspect redundancies and possible opening of consultation (10 people involved).
She has worked 27+ years for them.

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

Does her contract say anything about this?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Not that I'm aware of. It was an agreement between HR and herself when signed off to aid her recovery.

Thank you. I wouldn’t say that any specific employment laws have been broken just by this isolated request. Obviously, if someone is off work with stress generated through work, the employer needs to be wary of that and try not to give rise to any further issues that may worsen the stress. If she has specifically asked not to be contacted by the employer, apart from HR, then continuous requests for contact could amount to harassment. For this to happen they need to have made unwarranted attempts to contact her on more than one occasion. Therefore, if she has specifically requested to have no contact from management and they continue to try and get in touch, she can potentially argue this is harassment.

In terms of whether she has to take the phone call, no she does not. She can request it is HR who speaks to her about it, although if the manager does not feel this is appropriate, she can instead request that this is discussed in writing. Nothing in law says that such a discussion must be conducted over the phone.

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

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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks for the response Ben. Guess it might come under a breach of common law duty of care.Thanks again.

potentially...but the only way to challenge such a breach is resigning and claiming constructive dismissal so whether she wants to go that far at this stage is up to her

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thanks again Ben

you are welcome, all the best