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Good grief !! work probs are getting beyond a joke now

SueDSSueD Posts: 545
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section, I don't know where else to put it. I also don't know where to begin to explain what's happening with me workwise.....

Well, I started work and then, after 2 weeks I had my back to work interview. I was sent straight home (on full pay) because I wasn't fit to work (my manager's words, not mine). 2 weeks ago my manager phoned and told me that I may have to self-certificate as being off sick cos they couldn't continue to pay my wages for more than a week. Everything was waiting on the Occy Health doctor's report.

Unfortunately OH doctor postponed my appointment last week and I met him yesterday.

On Monday this week the Senior Physiotherapist (that I had applied for through Access to Work scheme here in the UK) arrived at the school to conduct a workplace ergonomic assessment. It was his professional expertise that would help to determine what furniture/equipment, if any, would be deemed as necessary to help me to sit comfortably whilst I am at work (which I cannot do now as there is no suitable chair for me and the ones they have increase my leg/pain, which sadly I still endure).

Anyway, my manager was waiting for me at reception because she wanted a private word with me first. She basically slapped my hand for not arranging this appointment through her first as it wasn't really convenient. I explained that I didn't feel I had a choice because I was told this had to happen within 10 days according to their protocols and that I couldn't let her know last week because the school was on half term. I had to take the chance in the circumstances. I did email her about this appt, but I suppose she didn't get it until yesterday morning. She said that because the school was in session, we couldn't go into any of the classrooms.

She asked me how I was - ha! I got upset again (that's happening alot lately) and said that I was surprised she told me that I wasn't 'fit to work'. She then replied that what she actually meant to say at that time was that 'I wasn't fit to work in the environment', which is not the same at all. The physio man then joined us. He asked to speak to me in private and so my manager then left. After some time, my manager phoned through and told the physio that we should meet her in reception. When we arrived, she said to the physio that she had a meeting to attend and therefore we couldn't walk around the school on our own due to the 'risks' and that she would have to accompany us because that was the procedure. After all that, the assessment didn't take place which I was very disappointed about. The physio was asked to provide a couple of dates/times that she could pick to her convenience. He asked 'Why do you have to be present?' and she talked about the 'risks' again of letting us go around by ourselves. He said to me that the application is made by the WORKER, not by the managers and that he thought she was being obstructive.

What I'd like to know is: At no time since I started working there in January 2010 has a risk assessment ever been carried out in the locations I work in, but now, all of a sudden, this is so important.

Then, yesterday, I saw the Occy Health doctor. Evidentally my manager has written an extremely lengthy report about me, which I did not read. The doc read out the questions she was asking and tried his best to answer them in the report.

Basically, from my understanding, it seems that I am fit to work if any assessed reasonable adjustments are put in place - and for these to be accepted/agreed is a managerial decision, not his.

Also, he seems to think that they can put me on 'disability leave' which may or may not come with pay (probably not).

It seems my manager's report is full of reasons why I can't do my job and how my suggestions for reasonable adjustments would not be feasible. I said to the OH doc that the suggestions I put forward were from a personal point of view, not a professional standpoint. That was what I was waiting for when the physio turned up. Now, of course, this will be postponed.

My employers seem to be quite obstructive about the whole situation. If I don't get paid, then I cannot pay my mortgage and therefore I'll be homeless (thanks boss!).

I have done everything I possibly can to try and expedite this process, but keep coming up to a brick wall. Does anyone know what else I can possibly do to resolve this situation before it gets totally out of hand?

My Union has taken the case on and now they're talking about putting in a grievance under the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) because, in his opinion, my employers are being unreasonable. The physio man said he thought it would all end up in a Tribunal. All this hassle is just making me feel 100 times worse. I feel like piggy in the middle. For goodness sake, I don't want to be seen as a troublemaker - I just want to work and earn my money. It's not my fault that the environment I work in is not 'fit' for me (and as my manager replied: It's not their fault either!).

How can my manager put stumbling blocks in the way BEFORE I have even been assessed? Isn't this jumping the gun a bit? If it was THEM that sent me home on full pay, can they then reneg on this and put me on disability leave? To me, that would seem to be just another way of saying I am on sick leave, which I'm not. Can they make me do this?

If you've been in a similar situation, I'd really be interested to hear what happened to you in the end, or, if you can offer me any advice, I'd be very grateful. As you can imagine, I'm so stressed out about all this, I don't sleep very well at the best of times, and now it's even worse. This whole situation is affecting my family as well and it's bringing me down psychologically!

I'm so sorry for writing such a lengthy post - but I needed to get it all out (AGAIN!).

Thanks for reading (you all deserve a lovely cup of coffee/tea now with biscuits!)
2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!


  • Sue - Yes - I did enjoy my muffin and some coffee. I am over here in Canada, so it really does not apply, differing legislation. But to me on a personal level, I think you have a person trying to road-block you.

    I'll only tell you that I have seen it go both ways here, at times with great accommodation, as in myself, and with another, a lack of accommodation.

    I can only tell you that a continued attitude of getting through this "stuff" helps, but there have been times for myself, when I really wondered if it was worth all of the effort and hurt, on my part.

    Do take care! and keep going!
  • Sorry to hear what's going on. I've had the Union help me out with Workman's comp before and had the Physiotherapist go with me on the job and assess everything I do. I had a shoulder subluxation at the time and I was not effective for about 13 weeks off work so I went to Physio often and got my strength up.

    My Manager had called me at home and told me I was missing a lot of time from work with my back injury and the Union was informed and the Manager has nothing to do with calling me at home now. The Union got Labor relations involved with the Insurance and acceptable treatment. With acceptable accommodation by your Dr. on what you can do and the exact equipment you need is the only way you can get back to work. I hope your Union helps get this worked out.

    I hope they can meet your needs. Just wanted to say the Union helps me with my situation and in contact with labor relations. You can talk to your Union Rep to see if they have contacted Labor Relations but I'm sure they have if there's a grievance put in. I hope you can somehow get back to work soon and hope you're healing more each day. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hiya Gentle, Gentle >:D< >:D< >:D< you need them. What is this country coming too! I feel for you so much! The thing is there are so many policies and procedures set within the workplace, its at the stage where its ridiculous. I understand that there are some in place to protect you. The union are usually very good as they are aware of policies and procedures set in place. As for your employer it does sound like shes trying to delay things ! But why? Just stick with the union or go to the job centre and get some advice! How long have you worked at the school? Would you consider moving to another school which is more welcoming of people who have to have these needs met? keep us posted! >:D<

    Angie :H
  • I think Angie has it right. Start looking to see what else is out there. Obviously this woman has it in for you so even if you win you will lose.

    I had something similar happen to me two years ago. My manager tried to get rid of me for personal reasons. I went to his manager who called him a liar to his face. I was then reassigned to another department but work was never the same. So it might be smart to look for a new position where you can start fresh.

  • I was afraid that would happen :( Just let your union and the advocates do their job. Your manager IS being an obstacle, and is risking your livelihood doing it! She is not within the law! Let those who do this for a living take over and get this fixed up for you!
  • It seems my manager's report is full of reasons why I can't do my job and how my suggestions for reasonable adjustments would not be feasible. I said to the OH doc that the suggestions I put forward were from a personal point of view, not a professional standpoint. That was what I was waiting for when the physio turned up. Now, of course, this will be postponed.

    My employers seem to be quite obstructive about the whole situation. If I don't get paid, then I cannot pay my mortgage and therefore I'll be homeless (thanks boss!).

    I feel exactly like you - thanks boss... My situation is obviously a little different, I have been asking for the option to work from home a few hours every morning and then come in to the office. (I could do my entire job from home, but you know - that would just be such a burden on everyone - even tho I barely speak to anyone all day long!) Anyway, he had me go thru all the procedures and paperwork for Reasonable Accomodation, leading me to believe it would be allowed, but in the end - he denied it. I do not understand what is wrong with some managers. I guess they are just jerks. Sometimes I find myself thinking, you EDITED, I wish you could experience this non-stop nerve pain for 2 days. Just 2 days! Isn't that awful. I have also considered going to a lawyer to see if I have any options. I have been with the gov for over 30 years and this is just BS! Very frustrating, but at least they cannot get rid of me - I do know that. In your situation, that is very scary, being uncertain of the future, worrying about your home! I feel for you, I really do! that has got to be just terrible to know your fate is basically in some jerk's hands and then knowing all the additional stress and paperwork and run around involved in trying to resolve it. It just adds to everyting and it is so hard! I hope things get straightened out soon for your sake. Stress really kicks my butt, and I bet you are just at your wits end with all of this going on. Take care and best wishes - Marion

    Profanity not allowed. Removed by authority member, Cath111.
  • I'm the double posting QUEEN!
  • you have said school a few times. are you a teacher? if you are a teacher there are things you can do. if not i don't know what to do except you are covered by the ADA. did you file workman's comp? did this happen at work? all of these need to be answered. i am a teacher and basically my union is useless. i have had meetings with hr and my union about my school a couple of years ago not abiding with my accommodations written by my dr. is your dr writing your accommodations? if so give copies to union, hr, and work,school?, my principals are aware of my accommodations and for the most part obey them, can't walk more than 100 yds, no stairs, room close to office and bathroom, etc. work even gave me an orthopedic chair, basically cheap. all of these are important, but once again, note from dr with accommodations and give them to hr, boss, union. if it is workman's comp i can't help because my surgeries are not work related. my boss also hastled me when i came back from surgery. they act like you had surgery on purpose and how dare you take time off from work.
    good luck
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I believe Sue is in the UK so it goes by their rules. Isn't it amazing that crappy managers are universal?
  • sometimes if a wheelchair would help?
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • charry I was wondering the same thing ?

    Not saying that the work place is in the right but just thinking of ways so Sue can work.....
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Yes, Sue is a teacher in the UK. It seems that their protections are not as powerful as ours in some ways, but stronger in others. Some of the people Sue has mentioned are her advocates.

    Emotionally, though, it's just got to be so draining to have financial obligations hanging over your head while your direct supervisor plays these kinds of games :(
  • I am not a teacher. I provide British Sign Language 'sessions' to pupils and staff, but I am not a qualified teacher - but I do hold the BSL Level 3 qualification, so that's how I can give basic BSL 'lessons'.

    My Union rep told me yesterday that he is having to discuss me with a senior union member, I think this has got way over his head now.

    I did get a phone call from my manager this morning to say she is chasing the Workplace assessment report and that she expects to receive it very soon. How can this be when the assessment was not allowed to go ahead? I'm so confused.

    I have done everything I can to try and expedite the process in order to return to work as soon as possible, but it seems all the obstacles have been put up by my manager (and her superiors).

    Oh, and to top it all, I have just received my THIRD standard letter from our Chief Executive talking about how the "Council is facing unprecedented severe cutbacks in its budget", only this time they have enclosed an employee questionnaire with all my PERSONAL details on the top.

    This just gets better - NOT!!!!
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Hiya sue, How are you feeling today? I was wondering, Health and safety checks are done twice a year within the workplace, there is one anounced visit and one unanounced, i was wondering how your manager deals with that! MMMmmmm :? Then a report is done and this should be available to staff and parents to read if they wish! Phone the jobcentre and arrange an appointment with the disability adviser, "Sue" they are very good , and will help you! Your manager has somthing to hide! :? Keep us posted ! Keep smiling :)

    Angie :H
  • My spelling and grammer is awful, lol :B

    Angie :H
  • I can't give you any input on your situation, except I know how stress and anxiety exacerbates our pain. I'm so sorry that none of this has been resolved yet for you. Maybe she says she's "chasing" the report, because she's now getting pressure from the top or the unions, as it's gone further. I hope it all comes back to bite her in the butt, and this does get resolved quickly for you!! Take care, Sue!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • >:D< I have to agree with you stress adds to pain! Sues manager can not chase the report, because there was not one done! The whole thing is awful! i feel so much for her. In the country our goverment rant on about equality to the disabled and people with special needs, but some companies make this so hard and in some cases virtualy impossible! Hope your well >:D<

    Angie :H
  • SueD,
    I am a teacher and the school has to provide “reasonable” provision to facilitate your circumstance, all this access is hard fought and nobody is just going to give you them, although they are legally obliged under the DDA not to discriminate against you. Each authority has differing implementation and what is a priority to them. As has been mentioned, let those who make those decision determine the pace and things will improve over time. It is always hard being proactive when we are in pain and another hurdle towards that constant struggle, working is not an easy option, that we may have thought it was when we did not have pain or an equivalent need through disability.

    The reality for us is that some employers or even individuals are not acquainted with that legal requirement which does not equate to our basic needs. I am not looking for excessive support, only parity with my colleagues that enable me to continue working and managing my daily challenges.

    Photocopy all your communications, dates and location and have your evidence of any relevant meetings. Working in constant pain is more of a head things, we all have these problems continuing to work, of which you are now more aware once they relate to you.

    I have developed a team of individuals and support to assist me in my requirements, from the union, to a support worker from a charity, I have an employer who is sympathetic to my needs and provision, we work collectively in providing mutual benefit, it is never simple or easy.

    Take care John.

  • Great points John. I want to add one more. I met with a new lawyer last week and brought by binder with me. After saying hello he asked me what it was. I explained that I was gathering all of the reports and tests.

    He was so happy!! He said that almost without fail the clients who come prepared, before he has to ask for things, are the ones who win.

    So Sue listen to John. Put together every bit of paper you have. Write out what you remember from each conversation with this manager and anyone else. If you show up with all your information organized they will take you seriously which will put you at least one step ahead.
  • they all help me alot.

    My manager phoned me again this morning. She has received the Occy Health report from the doctor (I should get mine in the post tomorrow as they're not allowed to email mine to me as I'm outside the Authority).

    I requested a copy of her lengthy report to the Occy health doc, and I believe he has agreed to this and I should also receive this tomorrow. I can't wait to know what she said about me!

    She is phoning the Access to Work people on Monday to find out what chair I need. Although he couldn't do his assessment, he knows the chair they provided me with 4 or 5 years ago 'cos I have it at home (upstairs at the pc) and I took a photo of it to show him. Which school they put this in, I don't know, because I'll be timetabled to work in 3 each week. To keep costs down, I have even suggested that I can use a 'perching stool' in the other 2 schools (I have one at home that I use downstairs everyday).

    The senior physiotherapist who met me on Monday also phoned me this morning. He confirmed that she doesn't have to accompany us around the school and was also surprised by her attitude. He said he will forward a report, even though it wasn't a complete assessment. I have asked him to give her a couple of dates/times because I feel that it is very important for the workplace assessment to go ahead - afterall, there is an issue with lack of space in each location I work in, and, I want to make sure everything is done to protect my back (especially as I work with small primary school kids and all their furniture is diddy!).

    My Union man is still trying to arrange a meeting with my manager - but I feel this may 'get her back up'. I have no choice really - even the Occy health doc advised me to contact them to get them involved. Had she not mentioned 2 weeks ago that they may put me on sick leave, I probably would have left it a while longer.

    Oh well, I feel like things are moving slowly forwards a bit more now. Hopefully the next up-date I give will be good news. Because of my faith I do firmly believe that 'my mate upstairs' doesn't give me anything I can't handle - it's so testing being a Christian!

    I really appreciated reading all your words of support. Thanks guys.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Sue just remember to watch out for the lions :)
  • Sorry to see you are still going through this. It is sounding like your management got an Occy "legal" reality slap from someone! Hopefully this will resolve in your favor soon. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Here you go >:D< >:D< >:D< you need these >:D< :)

    Angie :H
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