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Dismissed (sacked) on 'absence' due to diabetes related illness and bereavement

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by Paul1916, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Paul1916

    Paul1916 · Newbie

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    I am a 48 year old insulin dependant diabetic, diagnosed around 33 /34 years ago. My diabetes has been more or less stable with room for improvement though not critically bad.
    I was dismissed from my job (Housing Association) in South London on 7th November 2019 following an absence process which culminated in the stage 3 final warning and decision to dismiss me. I had worked in the company (through several mergers) for almost ten years.

    My absences were due mainly to bereavement for when I lost my mum on 15th November 2017 (the bereavement dates of 55 days were included in the decision and reflected on the spreadsheet handed to me). Also reflected includes diabetes related illness and subsequent depression / mental health. Also included was surgery of which I had a lump / swelling removed from the top of my right side shoulder. Management were well aware that I was taking Citalopram antidepressant medication.

    I have attempted to also address what I believe to be breaches of policy and procedure in relation to redeployment, bullying, lack of support including failure to address important issues of which emails sent were not replied to. My health deteriorated which resulted in absence / sick leave. The responses to my enquiries were essential as I needed to think of my future, work and finance.
    Bullying by my line manager was diabetes related and yelled at to 'stop checking my blood and inject in the office!' The lack of support from management deteriorated to the point of zero support with no apology or any attempt by senior management to address the issue or to educate the individual concerned.

    Lack of support further made me anxious and additional absence / sick leave was taken. My appeal against dismissal took place on 18th December 2019. I received the outcome letter on 11th January 2020. My appeal wasn’t upheld.
    Being a loyal employee for almost 10 years I would have thought dismissal would be the last option for management in their decision making.

    I feel I should have been reinstated back to work. I am conscious that being at work improved my healing process in relation to improving my diabetes control, mental and physical health as it is the job I loved. I enjoy work and I have colleagues around me. Dismissing (sacking) me has pushed me to the feelings of negativity and that I should be guilty for grieving my mothers passing and for having an illness against my will of which diabetes has no cure. My mental health has deteriorated as a result of being dismissed.
    Losing my appeal I will now proceed to the Employment Tribunal where I hope that some sort of justice can be obtained. I am struggling to find employment due to feeling negative, not to mention being refused a reference. I continue to grieve and as strange as it may seem I do so for myself. I intend to fight the dismissal as in a nut shell, I was dismissed (sacked) for absence due to bereavement and illness relating to diabetes.

    I would love to discuss more on this issue with other diabetics going through, or have been through this for mutual support. My advice in the meantime is don't give up, stand firm and I propose to other diabetics regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation to make contact to establish a support network. Paul (South London).
    • Hug Hug x 3
  2. Raisen22

    Raisen22 Type 1 · Member

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    Hey Paul, I’m a South East Londoner, nice to meet you.

    I cannot believe that you were being yelled at for checking your bloods and injecting in the office. What a 24carrat tw*t that person is. I would’ve marched straight into the managers office and kicked up a right fuss. But, that’s just me, I’m a very firery person and I will say what I need to if I think I’m being wronged.

    So sorry to hear about your mum, that must’ve of been such a difficult and heartbreaking situation to deal with and to get through.

    It’s a hard one with employers, I know they have to offer some leniency with health conditions, but in my own experience it’s been more - if you can get the help from your diabetic team then you should be more than capable of carrying out your job like the rest - apart from the obvious time off for appointments etc. If I’m having a lot of time off then there’s something going wrong and I need to address it and get the help from my team.

    But, I do know that situations and periods in life that make diabetes hard to control, you loose the lack of will to manage it and it goes on the back burner. And that’s especially true if you are going through a bereavement.

    I do think your managers should have set up more time with you to truly understand what you were going though, how it was making you feel, how they could’ve supported you more, and how it was affecting your diabetes. It doesn’t seem like there was much support offered, or any empathy towards your situation, which in turn has affected your wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong we do not get a free pass in terms of how much time we can have off, but things happen in life where support is needed and that includes your employers supporting you, or making adjustments etc to help you through certain things.

    It’s all the more upsetting that this was a job that you loved, you don’t get many people working for a company where they actually do like their job and enjoy doing it. Your many years of service there should have shone light on your loyalty to the job/company, and it’s unfortunate that they didn’t take this in to consideration when dealing with you and sorting out some support for you when you needed it the most.

    I wish you well in the tribunal, fingers crossed that you will be heard by people that have some empathy and understanding.

    All the best,

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