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Ask Jeremy Aldermartin Your Own Question
Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2241
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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I would like to speak to an Employment Lawyer, I live in

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Good evening I would like to speak to an Employment Lawyer
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in West Drayton, West London, England - United Kingdom my employer is based in Watford, still in England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: just email communications with my employer, nothing else
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I will tell them every single details about my case
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
hello

Hi thank you for your message, what is your query please?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Good evening let me send it you

ok

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I am a permanent staff working as a Team Leader at Asos, where I work nights shift ( 4 days on – 4 days off). I have been working for the company since April this year and passed my probation on my fourth month of employment.
I need your advice regarding an unfair situation I am currently going through with my employer. On 28th November, I received an invite to a Disciplinary Hearing, which was scheduled to take place on 4th December 2019. On the email I received from the employer, the allegations listed include: aggressive behaviour, breach of confidentiality and lack of duty of care as a Team Leader.
I was quite surprised with that email, because I wasn’t aware that I have had an investigation meeting previously, which according to the company procedure, is the step before a disciplinary proceeding. Also, I never received notes of any investigation meeting. This is what I told them in my reply to their email. They then sent me a lot of documents (grievances and witness statement from a few members of my team, and from people who are no longer in my team) and highlighted that I had an investigation meeting on 12th November.
As far as I am concerned the meeting I have had on 12th November wasn’t an investigation meeting. I was on my break that night and was suddenly invited in a meeting by my Line Manager, who said that they just wanted me to give my opinion, as a Team Leader, on a situation related to a difficult behaviour that was going on in my team. I did not know that this was an investigation meeting, as on the same night and the previous night some of my team members had also been invited also invited for a similar sort of meeting. It is only last week that I received notes of the meeting after I requested them from the person I have received the invite for a Disciplinary Hearing from.
Regarding the allegations made against me, I was really surprised and shocked with them. On the meeting that I have attended on 12th November, I totally disagreed and rejected the grievances and witness statements that were made against me and pointed out there were untrue and just acts of defamation. At most the colleagues that complained against me just misinterpreted certain behaviours to accuse me.
I am going through very hard time at present. I am a patient with high blood pressure and have been developing kidney failure for the past 4 years. Moreover, my younger daughter has learning disabilities issues with a potential for autism. Also, I am about to be separated from my wife, as I just found out that I am not the biological father of my older daughter. I never shared all these ‘’personal secrets’’ with my employer as I don’t want everyone to know about the issues I am going through in my private life.
So, I visited the Nephrology clinic on 3rd December and found out that my kidney failure has got worse. Because of my kidney issues and the stress and anxiety that is putting on me, my GP assessed my health and issued a Sick Note Certificate stating that I am unfit for work and should be off from 4th December to 11th December.
Another important point to mention is that about 5 months ago, I have booked holiday from 9th December 2019 to 9th January 2020 to visit my mum in Cameroon (Central Africa) as she is meant to have an operation there in that time.
Today 4th December at 17.45, I sent my Sick Note Certificate and proof of visit to the hospital to the HR Department of my company and sent the same documents at 18.02 to the Manager who invited me for the Disciplinary Hearing.
She replied at 20.05 as follow:
‘’Whilst I recognise you’re unwell, we’d still like to reschedule your disciplinary hearing within the next 7-days as we don’t want this to have to wait until your return from holiday due to nature of the accusations. Please can you let us know when you are free to come in? Alternatively, if you are not feeling up to coming into the office then we’re happy to meet you off-site. If you could come back to us by 5:30pm on Friday, we will send you out a new invite letter.
In the meantime, please let me know if you have any other questions. May I also take this time to remind you of our EAP network if you would like any additional support.’’

Is an employer allowed to chase a sick employee when they are unwell and unfit for work for a disciplinary meeting?

I am unwell as clearly stated on the Sick Note Certificate I sent, and therefore not well enough to have a meeting. Also, if I am unwell enough to be at work, what makes them think that I will be well enough for a meeting off site?

Moreover, with emails such as the one above, they are adding stress to me whilst I am already unwell, which will certainly impact my blood pressure and kidneys I believe that when I am off sick and overstressed as I am now, the company has no business attempting to have a disciplinary meeting with me while I am unwell.

Is it fair and legal what my company is doing?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Why are they insisting that I use their EAP (Employee Assistance Programme)?

Can they dismiss me if I don’t reply to their email and attend their Disciplinary hearing before my return from holiday?

On what ground can I request the meeting to be rescheduled upon my return to the UK?

What can I do to avoid having this meeting without running the risk of getting dismissed?

Any other advice that will help me handle this situation will be welcome.

Thanks
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
are you still there ?

Yes I am here, please be patient this takes time.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
ok thank you. I am waiting

Hi thank you for your message, so it is possible to go forward with disciplinary procedures - including when it may result in a dismissal - while an employee is off sick. Employers have to act fairly and reasonably and follow their procedures. For example, if the employee is away because of a short illness, it might be reasonable for the employer to postpone the disciplinary hearing until the employee is fit enough to attend in the circumstances I consider it would be reasonable for the employer to wait until your return from holiday. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
thank you for your reply, but what about all the other questions I have asked you at the end of my email? What are you advising me to do in this case? what action do I need to take in this case?
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
what if I tell them I am abroad and cannot have an offsite meeting?

Hi thank you for your message, you will need to message them and explain that whilst you understand their intention to try to continue with the disciplinary before you go on holiday you do not feel well enough as indicated by the medical note. In terms of the EAP I do not believe they are insisting you use EAP but mentioning it is a possibility. It seems they have not followed proper disciplinary procedure so they might fire you but theb could possibly take legal action on the basis the proper procedure has not been followed. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
thank you. Do I have any rights to undertake legal action against them,as I have been working with them for less than 2 years?
Hi thank you for your message, you might be able to take action on the basis of discrimination on this case your disability. As this does not require 2 years. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.
Jeremy Aldermartin and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
ok thanks,I will, but I don't believe there are grounds for disability here
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
for discrimination sorry...
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I will give you your stars, thank you