07 Nov 2019, 17:30
I've got my stage 3 'dismissal consideration' interview tomorrow.
I've had a host of wear and tear related issues and abnormalities in my knee since August 2018. As anyone who's been through the NHS with an orthopedic issue, you'll know it's a long process of scans, specialist appointments and surgeries. I worked through all this until January 2019; my knee simply blew up one morning and I couldn't even walk into work.
After a week, I returned on the insistence that my manager would work with me to informally amend my duties, knowing I was due for surgery and this was a serious issue. He was actually pretty good to begin with, he cut me some slack and I was completing 2/3 of heavier and busier duties, smaller duties start to finish and even volunteering for lapsing as and when the health of my knee and my mobility would allow.
In March, my mobility began to get steadily worse. I only felt capable of doing half of a duty. One morning, I found that I'd been placed against a portering duty for my indoor hours. I asked my manager to switch me to something else which didn't involve added walking around prior to the delivery; he point blank refused. He told me I had to do the job I was being paid to do (ie, a full duty plus portering). I quizzed as to why there was such a sudden change in his attitude, to which I got no response. I asked him if, instead of me coming into work and doing what I can, he would prefer I went home and got signed off by the doctor.
He told me, point blank - "If that's what it takes".
So I did. I reported to several colleagues what had just happened, I messaged the union rep who wasn't in that day, and, after ten minutes of my manager steadfastly ignoring me as he went about his tasks, I called the doctor, made an emergency appointment, and handed a line in on the same day.
it was over two weeks before I heard from the office - my manager sent me a message asking if I could come in to talk about returning to work. By this point I had a surgery date and my doctor had advised I stay off until after the surgery. I explained this to him, he understood.
Unfortunately, my surgery date was postponed after a change to NHS orthopedic waiting times in April (from 12 to 24 weeks) so my May surgery was pushed to September. With a 12 week recovery period expected after the op and having used 3 months sick pay already, I had no option but to return to work.
My manager, again, seemed happy to work with me, for the mean time. He promised that, should I return prior to the op, all my absences would be linked. He not only gave me his 'word', but on my insistence, he gave me it in writing, I had nothing to fear. Royal Mail would support me.
I came back, actually managed to get squeezed into a slot for the surgery in July, had my recovery and came back to work on a rehab in October. Unfortunately, the surgery hasn't been a success. I've been referred back to the consultant and I'm looking at more surgery. For the first time, the possibility of an IHR came up.
Last week, manager told me someone was coming down to do my dismissal interview. I said what? He told me that his boss was pushing for it, but that his boss didn't know I had it in writing that this would not go beyond a stage 2. In fact, his boss, the area manager, had steadfastly told him NOT to give me any kind of written assurance. I was also told by the union rep that my manager has been telling his superiors I simply 'walked out' in March, and that it was only when the area manager was pushing for me to be 'sacked immediately' that the union lads had to jump in and offer the correct version of events.
My manager then told approached me the following day and told me he 'must have dreamed' all this about a dismissal interview. he couldn't find any evidence on his computer to support what he'd told me. I didn't know what to say, so left it at that.
The day after that, he told me he had found the emails, he hadn't dreamed it and yes, I would be getting a dismissal interview. He asked me not to mention that I had, in writing, this assurance my absences would be linked and it would not go past a stage 2.
Yesterday, he pulled me in and asked me not to mention what happened in March, regarding me 'walking out' unless absoultely necessary.
So yeah, interview tomorrow. I'm fairly confident that I'll be fine, but I really feel like I should be putting in a grievance or a written complaint somewhere. I think they're trying to give me the boot rather then invest time and money in my recovery, or offer an IHR.
What do you think? Wait til after the outcome of the interview, or march in tomorrow first thing and let them know I'm giving them all both barrels. Or just leave it?
07 Nov 2019, 17:44
Please don't attend a stage 3 interview, unless you have your area rep with you and they are fully prepared. Your job is on the line here!
07 Nov 2019, 17:51
Sadly, I'm not union.
I joined RM in June 2011, and the union shortly afterwards.
Three months in, I had an 'incident' where I was attacked on duty by a gang of lads and was bricked in the head. Half page in a national newspaper stuff.
I couldn't take time off as, well, no sick pay and just mucked along. The union advised me to go off sick and apply for benefits. I just couldn't. Shortly afterwards, my union subs stopped coming out of my pay and the union rep (now area union rep) has barely uttered two words to me since.
So, not union, but not through a lack of trying! The current office rep is a decent lad though, and has sat in with me in meetings related to this before, albeit as a 'work colleague', not a rep.
It's a shame. The area rep is pretty hot s**t on union matters, but it is what it is.
07 Nov 2019, 17:54
exactly. your unit rep won't cut it. you need senior representation. it sounds like one big stitch up to me. get in touch with your branch ASAP
07 Nov 2019, 17:56
BLOODY HELL COMES TO MIND.
07 Nov 2019, 18:11
f**k me join the union and stay in the union,we rise again
07 Nov 2019, 19:32
I really can't see how you could possibly NOT bring up what was said or done in March or the fact that you have a written note off your Dom saying that you won't incur a stage 3 and that all your absences would be linked.
07 Nov 2019, 19:48
go in all guns blazing don't hold nothing back then if they finish you sue them there's plenty of no win no fee vultures out there to help you hopefully you won't. have to as common sense should prevail good luck
08 Nov 2019, 05:46
Your knee issue should be covered under the 2010 equality act as it is a long term and on going condition affecting your physical ability.
I have knee issue too and have had problems with attendance and ability to complete duties for a couple of years. Even before I got an arthritis diagnosis, the fact that the knee condition was on going and long term I was informed by the union that I was covered under the act. Look into this and bring it up in the meeting, you can't be dismissed for having a disability. Look in to asking about a transfer to a different part of the business to help your future attendance or possibly IHR.
I transfered to a more suitable role and my physical health is so much better.