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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71382
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My wife is currently off work with work related stress and

Customer Question

good morning. my wife is currently off work with work related stress and anxiety, she is is on medication and even talking about work brings her out in sweats and brings on a host of symptoms. An occupational therapy report has stated that her employer should deal with her as a vulnerable person, and she is signed off by a doctor and undergoing several different therapies. Her employer is messaging and e-mailing pushing for weekly face to face meetings to work towards a return to work, which I totally understand from their point of view, however it is making my wifes life hell stressing about the meeting. Is she able to decline these meetings until the therapy and medication have had an effect? Many thanks in advance
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I believe that the manager and the HR manager have spoken
JA: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: yes to all of the above
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: i don't think so
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hi there. I am sorry to learn of the situation your wife is in. Can I just check, how long has she been off work for and how long has she worked for this employer please?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
She has worked there since 1999, I believe we are now at 5 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues she has experienced in her situation.

Whilst the employer should not just sit back and do nothing to try and help with a possible return to work, they should also allow her space and not be too overbearing when it comes to this. Failure to consider her situation and needs and constantly bombarding her with correspondence and requests could be seen as harassment, especially if this conduct is unwanted and it makes her condition worse.

She needs to be explicit with them about it and set clear boundaries, advising them what she actually needs at this time and what makes things worse for her, so that there is no doubt in the employer’s mind that their actions are unwelcome and they need to back off a bit.

If things do not improve, she could consider raising a formal grievance about it, which she can start now but delay the actual process until she feels better ad ready to deal with it.

You can get a detailed explanation of the grievance process here:

https://www.acas.org.uk/grievance-procedure-step-by-step

In summary, an employee is expected to submit their concerns in writing and send them to their line manager, or whoever is nominated as the person to send grievances to under an official workplace grievance policy.

The complaint should include details of what the grievance is about, any evidence that may exist which is relevant and also what the employee wants their employer to do about this issue.

Once the grievance has been submitted, the employer is expected to arrange a formal grievance hearing, inviting the employee to attend and discuss the nature of their complaint. The meeting is also as an opportunity to ask for further clarification or information, as required.

Following the meeting, the employer will take time to consider all the issues and evidence and then make a decision, communicating it to the employee. If the outcome is not to the complainant’s satisfaction, they can appeal and get a second opinion from a different person assigned by the employer to consider the appeal. Once the appeal is also completed, that brings to an end the formal grievance process and there is no option to escalate it further internally.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 19 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.