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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 53677
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been absent from work since October 2018, with my

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Hi I have been absent from work since October 2018, with my daughter who has serious Mental Health problems (Phychosis), I was invited into a meeting at work in December, I was given the option of agreed Termination or be took to a Governor Panel, whom I was told would likely finish me on non attendance, I finished I have been unfairly treated as another person you has been off longer for marital problems has been allowed back on a phased return. Can they do this to me?
Assistant: Have you discussed the termination with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Yes I work in a School & the Head Teacher & a member of HR was present, I was employed as a School Manager, my Union Rep was with me & said I would need severance pay & a reference, I have been sent a copy of the agreement & reference today & I'm totally disgusted as it says my employment finished on31.12.18 & the Reference would not get a job anywhere
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I'm a employee, have worked for schools in Lancashire for 15 years & have been in the same union all that time
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

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

Is there a specific long-term absence policy on which they are relying?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
it's Lancashire County Council guidelines, which it says every reasonable effort should be used to help you back into work, I was not given any offers to help me back into work

Thank you. The main issue here I would say is that the absence is not linked to a condition which you suffer from, but one which someone else does. Had you been the one with the health issues and that prevented you from attending work, the employer would have been under a lot more legal pressure to try and deal with the situation and perhaps offer reasonable adjustments to ensure that you have received the necessary help to try and rehabilitate you back into work. They still have such obligations to a degree but they would be more limited in what they can do if you are not the one with the medical issues.

You can of course still argue that the policy requires the employer to make every reasonable effort to help you back into work and this is true regardless of who is the person with the medical issues, be it you or someone you care for. So the employer should still be discussing the situation with you, try and work out how long you may have to be off for, whether there are options that would allow you to work from home so part time and so on. If they never explored any of these and simply proceeded with termination, that could still make it unfair. In these circumstances you can certainly consider challenging them, such as by making an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal.

Before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

If the conciliation process was not successful and you then wanted to make a formal claim in tribunal, you can do so here:

https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/apply

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