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Angry, scared, humiliated and insulted

SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
edited 18. Dec 2015, 16:27 in Living with Arthritis archive
Sorry for such a dramatic headline and for not posting this in the working matters area.
I had my "informal" sickness review meeting this morning and as you can probably guess it did not go well.
I was glad I had taken union advice, read the policy and also got some useful information from ACAS as at least I stood my ground.

My main issue was the target I had been set in advance of the meeting of zero absences for 3 months or I would go to stage 1 of the formal procedure.

I pointed out that this was not in the policy which is also out of date as it does not reference the Equalities Act, and did not follow the ACAS guidance on discriminating clearly between absence caused by disability and that caused by illness. I also reminded them that my long absence in the summer term was not relevant as I no longer work full-time.
I said I would welcome a further OH review and that while I would like to be able to say I would have no further time off I was not prepared to agree that until I had seen OH.

I felt humiliated having to state that I've had a couple of days off this term due to days when I barely had the energy to eat let alone get dressed and asked what I was expected to do in this situation as it is not like having a cold or "flu".
I felt insulted when asked if I had any medical evidence to support this, and the type and impact of my disability, did I have it with me, and would I be willing to show it to OH and for the business manager to scan it over so OH could read it "thoroughly ". My reply was that I always took evidence with me, that I had plenty, and that I would scan it over myself.
I am angry at HR's assumption that as reasonable adjustments have aleadt been made they don't have to do any more and I shouldn't expect any.

And scared? I really felt there was a hostile undercurrent. They seemed very keen to get me onto the formal process, I asked what would happen if I needed further surgery and was told I would then go to Stage one of the formal procedures, and that they will not count future absences as disability leave unless they have to. I'm now at the age at which early retirement on health grounds becomes possible and the fact I am good at my job doesn't matter.

They want me to have an "urgent" OH review, next week if possible and then to continue the informal process once this has happened to set targets.

I have already got on to my union rep and he will attend the next meeting.

Sorry this is so long but it just seems like one battle after another.
He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
Julian of Norwich
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Comments

  • daffy2daffy2 Posts: 1,713
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm so sorry to hear this Slosh, it's not what you need and certainly not what you deserve. You may have already covered this question, if so I apologise for not remembering, but what is the school's position in all of this. Has this process been imposed on them, or is it at their instigation?
  • theresaktheresak Posts: 1,998
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm so sorry to hear this, Slosh, and very glad that in future you'll have a union rep present.

    I've been where you are, though broadly speaking, the rules are much different now to when I was medically retired. It's a hugely stressful time when you have to repeatedly fight your corner with strength you don't have, and determination continually eroded.

    Hostility I recognise well - my Head was a bully, so when union representation was called for we had to get someone from outside our LEA.

    If you feel there's a hidden agenda, please make sure you note every comment/suggestion/threat. I kept a log of every meeting. It's tiresome and stressful and you shouldn't have to be in this position.

    Try to have an easy weekend, with 'me time,'and do take care.
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you both. The Head has always been on my side but this process is instigated by the local authority and it seems to be very cut and dried as far as they are concerned with no grey areas. My rep will be at the next meeting with me and hopefully OH will continue to be supportive of me.
    Of course it goes without saying that the School business manager told me she has a "touch" of arthritis so knows what the pain is like for me!

    Still I'm going out for Afternoon Tea on Sunday afternoon so that's something to look forward to.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • migmig Posts: 7,145
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm sorry Slosh ,Im so angry for you,I can't say anything sensible that will help how you're feeling but I'm sending some mega hugs. Mig
  • slomoslomo Posts: 180
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So sorry to hear how your meeting went. They surely can't act like that. If your covered by the Equalities Act then they have to treat you accordingly.
    I work for a local authority too and am very grateful that they're being quite supportive ( so far anyway).
    I know its easy for me to say but do try to stay calm about it.
    Do keep us updated, I'll be thinking of you.

    slomo
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Slosh wrote:
    it just seems like one battle after another.

    That's because it is, Slosh. I'm sorry, this is way outside my experience and expertise so I'll just shut up but, like mig, I send (((())))s.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Sticky.
    True words. Hey ho...but as Scarlett O'Hara said
    "Tomorrow is another day"
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    And as I have been know to say on some stressful occasions "Tomorrow is another ---dding day." :roll:
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • Megrose489Megrose489 Posts: 734
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So sorry to hear that you've got all this stress, Slosh. Just wanted to say that I'm thinking about you and sending positive vibes. Don't let the ******** grind you down! ((()))

    Meg
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you. I won't, it helps just to be able to let off steam to other people who can understand.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • bubbadogbubbadog Posts: 5,852
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What an awful thing to be put through Slosh, it's a good thing having a Union Rep with you in future so your not rail roaded.
  • villiervillier Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry to hear this Slosh sending some more (((()))) xx
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks. I have an appointment with my lovely GP tomorrow, it's mainly my monthly get more meds appointment but I will discuss this with him first. I know he has a low opinion of HR.

    It would have been better if they had come out at the start with recognising that my case is unusual and was not one the HR person had dealt with before rather than reluctantly conceding this at the end of the meeting. I'm used to being in difficult meetings where you have to make a case to external agencies, if I found it hard I dread to think what it would be like for someone without this experience or confidence.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,

    I've been in a similar position where my Line Manager had no understanding of what my health issues were or the fact that I just needed a little extra support and time. I ended up moving roles - quickly.

    Three years on generally I get good support. My current Line Manager has a major hearing impairment so has an understanding of what it's like to try and keep up with everyone else. All we want is to be able to do our jobs well, be judged on our abilities - not our disabilities - and be recognised for what we've done well.

    I hope that the next meeting goes better and also that your GP is able to reassure you.

    Take care,
    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • dibdabdibdab Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Slosh I just wanted to send hugs (((((((( )))))))). I really hope this week is a better one for you. Hope the GP gives you some help tomorrow too. Glad it's almost the Christmas break so you have time to regroup.

    Take care.

    Deb xx
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks dibdab
    I had a nice time yesterday with a friend which was good, tea, cake and chat therapy!

    I'm going to scan and send over some key documents today and then put it out of my mind until the appointment comes through and focus on getting ready for Christmas.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • dibdabdibdab Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That's a really good plan, and good friends to support us are priceless!

    Your experience is priceless to the children and families you support, and any head that doesn't understand that needs to remove the tunnel vision glasses and recognise what an asset you are.............

    Happy Christmas preparations! :presents:

    Deb x
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This isn't about the Head who is very supportive but LEA policy and their rules and regs. He has agreed that next time we have a fire drill, as I find it exhausting which knocks me sideways for the rest of the day I can go home after to rest, and I have asked him to add this into my risk assessment so it can't be classed as sickness absence.

    I had a lovely compliment from a parent last week, her daughter has JIA and I teach her in a small group for reading as she has literacy difficulties as well. She told me her daughter looks up to me as she can see I struggle but keep going.

    I also had a yr 4 pupil complain that he wouldn't have a reading session with me next week as it would be his class party and that he'd rather work with me!

    It is in my favour that I can still do a good job, I would just like some lea way if I can't get into work due to fatigue, the problem is that to someone who hasn't experienced this, or isn't medically trained this just sounds like laziness. At least HR have now acknowledged that I am a special case and they need more guidance.

    Anyway this week will be more relaxed in school, time to find out the fairy lights for my crutches and get Fred and Ginger decked out for Christmas!

    Thanks again for your lovely comments and support
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • tkachevtkachev Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I can't offer any useful advice as I haven't had to go through this myself but I am upset to read about the way you are being treated. It really does sound an awful situation to have to deal with on top of the constant pain.

    Elizabeth x
    Never be bullied into silence.
    Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
    Accept no ones definition of your life

    Define yourself........

    Harvey Fierstein
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This has all happened so quickly, hasn't it? In less than three years your life has been completely turned upside down, inside out and gone from full colour to bleak greys. I think it fair to say that employers need reliable employees and you are just that until the disease causes more trouble. They do need to address your particular circumstances but yes, you are right when you say that it is so hard for colleagues etc. to fully comprehend how you are affected. They associate going to doctors, hospitals, having operations and taking meds with getting better - the fact that we don't is a strange concept, even for us.

    I was extremely lucky in that I was self-employed and thus able to tailor things to my needs, but even so stopping work came as a huge relief and, three or so years in, I still wake every day with gratitude that the day ahead is mine to use or not as I please. It's a fantastic freedom to have and I know I am very fortunate. DD

    025.gif
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • migmig Posts: 7,145
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    How you feeling Slosh ? Mig
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    DD thank you for your wise words, (again), and Mig, thanks for checking in on me.
    DD you're right, I try not to look back to the "old" me, or think about how quickly things have changed for me, mainly because I'm a coward and it's too painful and for a similar reason, plus the fact it scares me, I don't tend to look too far ahead.

    Mig, it was a long and painfilled day today but I'm feeling a bit better after going to bed for an hour when I got in and had eaten/taken meds.

    Things have moved on slightly, and in what looks to be a more positive way. I had a letter today from the school business manager, a record of Friday, and she asked me to check it in case I disagreed with anything.
    It included reference to "reasonable " targets to be set after I have met with OH, and then at the end a phrase saying I was to let them know if there were any other reasonable adjustments that could be made in order to help me to continue working at the school.
    I don't know if HR realised they had over stepped the mark, or if my Headteacher has put in a word for me and to be honest I don't care! It just seems a much more human/humane response and that a compromise is possible. Very different from all the talk of an "urgent" review and follow up meeting.

    It probably didn't help that amongst the mix I have also had to complete a second PIP form to reflect how things have moved on, plus my husband, who still insists he "loves" me, has moved out so we are, in my eyes at least, separated.

    Once again, the support, understanding and advice here is invaluable. :carolers:
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I apologise for not getting back to you sooner but there has been a lot going on here today - all frivolous I'm afraid. :oops:

    I am so sorry to read that your husband has moved out - we often say on here that arthritis affects everyone in the immediate circle of the arthritic and it does. :( Not only your life has been turned upside-down etc. but his too, yes? I suspect there are other pressures involved in terms of his culture which may not be helpful, just another straw for someone's camel. Mr DD has had years to adjust but even now I know he feels helpless and useless; in terms of the arthritis he is but in terms of offering ongoing support and understanding (even though he doesn't) he is anything but. Oh honey, I am so sorry. ((( )))

    Right, here comes a blast of DD so prepare yourself. :wink: You are far from a coward because you have done your very best to move on, adjust, take stock, make more adjustments and move on again. For what it's worth I think you have been remarkable, you have shown great courage (plus humour) and dealt with a few setbacks with aplomb. Do NOT doubt yourself, not for one moment because there is no need. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    DD, all I can say is thank you for those words, they mean a lot, and have brought the tears to my eyes. I wil copy and save them for when I need a boost.

    As for my OH, it was a gradual thing and I do think his cultural background played a big part. It is as amicable as these things can be.

    I'm glad you had a frivolous day, you deserved it especially after last weekend. I had a fun afternoon, parties in school so Fred and Ginger are all decked out in their lights much to the children's delight, and mine when they said I looked "fabulous " and like the "Christmas tree fairy".
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • migmig Posts: 7,145
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hugs Slosh Hugs. Mig
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