I am coming to you with this as I found you so knowledgeable and helpful before.
I have submitted an ET1, have been involved in talks through ACAS and have been paid a little money in respect to some holiday and notice period I was entitled to - however not enough, but this is a separate issue.
From my previous experiences asking you questions i would like to know if after reading the transcript below, and if you thought this was a solid case of discrimination, you might consider taking this case on a no win no fee basis?
I am not sure if you can or will do this but with the respect you earned from me previously I could only offer this to you first.
I set my smartphone to record as the company had a history of twisting the truth of what was discussed compared with what they would summarise in writing. Unfortunately the recording cut out half way during the meeting and i had no way of knowing it had stopped and no way of starting it again without being noticed. I hope this does not create a problem with admissibility under the legislation from Amwell View School v Dogherty UKEAT/0243/06
Please read my additional notes below the transcript.
5th November meeting with David Bolt (chariman) and Tracy Knight (PA to chairman / office manager / HR)
offered coffee by tracy
in to DB’s office - hello etc
DB: I wanted to chat about a couple of things about you and about what rights as a company we have
DB: It is up to you if you want Tracy in the meeting or not, It can be more formal if you would like Tracy in or out.
SD: No thats fine, can take it as it comes.
DB: Having read your letter from your doctor…
TK: You have seen that now haven't you?
SD: Yes i picked it up that morning have although the Doctor commented that he was not entirely happy with his staff. He wanted to make one more revision but they had sent it anyway.
DB: Reading between the lines he is not going to certify you fit for work i think.
SD: He said that I could go back at any point when i am ready. He has basically said we can give it 3 months to get some more feedback from my therapist. I can go back to the Doctor any time within the next 3 months and say “ok, i’m ready” so he has given me 3 months grace to see where i am.
DB: That is not what he has said to us Stuart. What it says in the letter is at this point in time you are not fit for work. We wrote to him asking for him to assess Stuart or get him assessed to find out, in the backdrop of your work here, i told him what the important things are and you have to relay this, for a start liaising with clients and that that was your role and he has come back with something that does not say you are fit for work and therefor you are not fit. If you want to get him to change his letter then that is fine but….. [noise from movement covers recording] ...you can tell me you are fit but it is the letter i have to go by and he is not putting anything in there that says you are fit currently. Reading between the lines i don't think he thinks that you are going to make that,,, what he has offered at the bottom i think is if we change your job round and give you something else, will you be fit to work full stop. I read that as, i don't think he thinks you are going to be ok to do this job.
DB: The issue we have as a company is we are not Marks and Spencers, i don't have other roles or a single role with your role as it is, and i am reading that trying to be as positive as i can and i don't think you can come back in that same role again. We don't have anything else so this is where we sit now.
SD: It’s strange because when i looked at the letter to interpret it, i did not construe anything like that from it. The first part of the letter - basically the only negative thing in it is that he can't guarantee, the rest of it he has said that there are 2 different diagnosis, in terms of a differential diagnosis, neither of which prelude me being able to work.
(DB heard agreeing in the background)
SD: and then it goes on to say….
DB: you need to work in a different capacity is what he has said. I am happy, or all i can say is you need to go back to him and spell out what i need. That is waffling and it is not clear enough. It has to be yes or no and i read it as being no, that’s my view although i don't want to disappoint you too much i don't think he will change that letter. But if you are saying that is not what he has said to you then that is your personal view and i need to keep out of that. For me my job is simple and i have a duty of care to you and not bypass it. I have a business to run, you had a role here, are you fit for that role? and he is saying no - that’s how i read it.
DB: The other thing is the 6 month period of sick note expires on the 22nd November. That means you have passed the period where you can no longer qualify for SSP. Therefore we are quite within our rights to say your job is now terminated or your employment is now terminated so you are looking at 2 weeks from now.
SD: In terms of that i really need to get someone else involved to back up my understanding of it.
DB: Sure you must do that
SD: I basically thought the way the situation works is that someone within (for example) occupational therapy has to interpret whatever medical information is provided. Therefore you are obviously taking the role of the OT here, interpreting the letter and saying if i am fit for the role or not. I always thought there was a buffer which is what the role of an occupational therapist is for and the way i understand it, if the employment is terminated, it is the occupational therapist that draws the line.
DB: No, we draw the line. It is between you and us. Rest assured that we can terminate the contract at any time, but the implications of doing it, you need to start an employment… ,, we can terminate it at 6 months which is the significant period where we,,, after 6 months we have less commitments that we have to make to the employee, we can do it after 6 months. If i walk out there and fire someone then that is entirely different to the situation we are in so there are implications running right the way though and we are only talking casually here with none of those implications.
DB: I as a small business can not have someone back on a trial, i have to be 100% confident you can go out to see clients...
SD: as confident as i am ?
DB: We have to run a business on an exception basis or we don't make any money. We can't nanny people or mollycoddle them, much as i would like to help people more, our best bet or all we can do is deal with people who are competent at their job and can contract people to do the work and on that basis we can pay them and we earn a living for the business, the business survives and that is where we are coming from and the business has to be run on us being 100% confident that the people within the business can do their role with no limitations and a minimum of supervision. That is the thing, we do manage by exception, we are very flat structure, you know all this, this is not new to you, very flat structure and that is the ethos of the business, that is my business model ok, there is no good having an occupational therapist when they would have no business experience, there is no sense in saying we can or can't do this, as i have to be 100% convinced that you can do that job and interface with those people and we can not have any of the issues we have had before.
SD: Are you going by any particular example? in terms of the way i explained to the doctor he said “right ok lets go through this job role” and we spoke about everything out on site, in front of the clients, the doctor was under the impression that this was the hard bit i might not be fit for, I corrected him, i said “well actually, it is out on site that i am in my element”
DB: We can give more clarification, if you want some examples Stuart, i don't like talking personally but i have got to, we can not, under any circumstances have Sid mentioned in this office at all as it might unnerve people and i can't have people in the office unnerved, I understand it is a medical condition and i understand it might be something part of you but that can not come in this office. not that it could or couldn't It can not, it categorically can not come in this office and it categorically can not go out to clients, at all.
SD: It does not go out to clients.
DB: Well it has internally and you asked me for an example and that is totally unacceptable so i have to be convinced by the doctor that it has disappeared otherwise it won't work internally.
SD: So you are saying that you need to hear it is a delusion rather than a dissociative identity.
DB: That you don't have it as a long term issue. So can i say rather than treatment it has to be a cure. That’s got to be my layman's definition. If you are cured of that, like you can be cured of schizophrenia and stuff or the drugs or treatment you take but that is not my field - if that is controlled absolutely totally by whatever and “cure it” in inverted commas then we have a different scenario but we need to start from,,, you asked for an example and that is the example of….
[excessive noise and recording cuts out few seconds later for unknown reason]
I have attached the doctors letter in PDF form which i had interpreted by a medical professional on just answer - his reply is also included.
In less than 2 weeks i should have a firm diagnosis report from a medical professional that is currently being prepared.
on several occasions (including within the transcript) the company has directly given me advice as to my rights that proved incorrect and self serving to their purpose.
If needed i can forward you my contract and termination letter.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX regards