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Meetings at work

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by madness, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. madness

    madness · Member

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    Can my employer force me to go to a meeting, when I have advised that I am hungry and need to eat.

    I have been put on a work improvement plan, and he said that the fact I went to lunch and did not attend the meeting, he is listing on the plan as failure to communicate with him.

    He has said in the past that I should not arrive at meetings late when I stop to make a coffee before going into a meeting which could last well into lunchtime.

    I emailed him and asked if the review meeting could be postponed and gave my reasons why.
    His reply was no, so I went to lunch anyway.
     
  2. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    Madness...

    A few things 'pop up' from what you have written....

    1) 'advised that I am hungrey and need to eat' ...this really depends on how you explained yorself... i.e did you need to eat for your health?- If so, you should have said that you NEED to eat, rather than 'you are hungry......'

    2) 'been put on a work improvement plan' and 'failure to communicate with him'.......when did you tell him that you needed to eat...was it 2 mins before or 30 mins...do you have the same break times each day etc.....having been put on a work improvement plan suggests that there are other issues.

    3) I would agree that you should not be late for a meeting because you have stopped to make a coffee along the way.....just because the meeting go in to lunchtime. I would have expected my staff to be planned ahead that if they wanted a coffee before a meeting they did it in advance so that they arrived on time.

    4) You state that you emailed him regarding the review meeting with reasons-was this the meeting that you said that you could not go to because you felt hungry? Would it not have been better to have spoken to him? Email is great, but not for rearranging meetings...and if you write as you have written here that you are hungry and need to eat, it just doesn't look good.

    Personally I think that there are some other issues going on here, besides a lunch hour and meeting.
    I don't know whether you are type 1 or tablets or diet, but saying that you are hungry and need to eat sounds like something a non-diabetic would say....if it was a case of going hypo-then I would be saying I NEED TO EAT..

    As said, I think you have more issues going on here than just a lunchbreak and a meeting, and it would be very hard to give a definitive yes or no on the facts that are written here.
     
  3. Patch

    Patch Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    dd - you're so diplomatic! :wink:

    I'll be blunt. (I'm good at that). Being diabetic is NOT an excuse to under perform at work.

    Your work should make some allowances, though. Your place of work should accommodate you - if you have a meeting over lunch time, you should be allowed to take lunch to meeting, or eat prior to the meeting.

    But, being late for a meeting because you stopped to make a coffee is not acceptable. Any manager will tell you that. There's no problem with taking coffee into a meeting - just leave for the meeting 5mins early so that you can make the coffee and get to the meeting on time.

    Is the work improvement plan something that has been put in place to improve your contribution? Where you under-performing previously, and do you believe that having diabetes has led to your being put on the plan?

    My humble opinion, is that you should not allow yourself to believe that having Diabetes is a reason not to live up to your own potential. And if you don't believe that yourself, how can you expect your manager to believe it when you tell him so?

    I really hope this all works out for you.
     
  4. theblokefromstoke

    theblokefromstoke · Well-Known Member

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    Hi madness,

    My Job is meetings, meetings, meetings all day. Some at lunch, early morning, into the evening and all over the country.

    I take packed food and eat it there and then in the meeting as I see fit. No one has ever complained. I am very well organised with my food and eat at specific times. I recently had to deliver a 6 hour presentation to clients and did the same, no problems.

    The only time I have made it an issue is when on a course when i've had a chat with the tutor and explained my situation. they have always been accomodating.

    good luck
     
  5. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    Madness,

    Your request to eat before the meeting began wasn't unreasonable as you informed him beforehand, reasonable adjustments must be made for people with diabetes in the workplace, your hunger pangs could have been due to being hypo and you may want to stress this to your boss that being a insulin dependent type 2 means you may have to eat unexpectedly, a meeting can wait but hypoglycemia doesn't and so must be treated.

    Should your boss take matters further then contact your union or Citizens Advice and discuss this matter with them.

    Nigel
     
  6. sugar2

    sugar2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Madness, I can see you are T2 on insulin.

    Do you have regimented meals times, that you really must stick to? I have to eat withina bout a 2 hour window, to keep me ticking over...and manage this by eating a bit early or late, or, as previously mentioned, actually havinga lunch meeting, where we eat and meet.

    The only time I would ever not go to a meeting was if I was hypo,,,and even then, I have been know to munch on clucose tablets, whilst presenting to a room full of people.

    I agree with Patch on this one....work should try and accomodate you needs, but you should try and accomodate their...diabetes is no excuse.
     
  7. Patch

    Patch Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I disagree - if you know you'll be in a meeting at 12, eat at 11:30! Don't let diabetes rule you life (and your career!)

    You need to be pro-active. Don't wait to get hungry if you know you've got a meeting coming up!

    :shock: BLIMEY - someone agree's with me?!? :wink:

    [EDIT: Just noticed the OP's forum name (madness). Are you a nutty boy, mate?]
     
  8. tigger

    tigger Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Patch. Depending on the meeting most people don't mind you eating providing it is done discretely. I have eaten in court rooms without the judges saying anything, generally client meetings have biscuits in to be grabbed in extremis, or once when really embarrassed I have gone outside as if to the loo and downed orange juice got from the kitchen. Diabetes is my issue I don't feel the need to share it with others.

    The only time I've done anything similar to this was when I missed the chance to play in my class netball team because I had to get and eat my lunch first and hadn't realised it started at the beginning of lunch and I would hypo if I didn't do this. If I'd known I'd have brought food with and eaten it earlier. I was 11 at the time though...
     
  9. Patch

    Patch Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    That's no excuse!!! :wink:
     
  10. bowell

    bowell · Well-Known Member

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    reff:
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/WorkingHoursAndTimeOff/DG_10029451


    Employer has duty to make reasonable adjustments.
    You have the right to eat at set regular times
    You have the right to test when needed
    should be a Risk assessment in place for you


    You Bunch of cow trailers :lol:
    Lunch time is lunch time ( Unless you are management )

    Most firms do NOT pay you for your lunch time .
    Have a look at your contract see how you stand
    Ie, at work for 8hrs but only paid for 7hrs @ day
    Did he Ask or Order you to go to meeting over your lunch ,,its your lunch time

    If you normally take a packed lunch go in with
    your packed lunch and flask pour your coffee out spill a bit over table (say sorry)
    Test BG wipe the blood off on any paperwork at hand (opps sorry)
    Inject at the table and then start eating ,Finnish off with nice crunchy apple
    answer any question with a mouthful food
    Guarantee will not ask you again

    I had 40 odd working for me would never dream tell anyone to work over lunch
    been a bl**dy riot
    Ever notice the Reps try it on ,and always call in at lunch time ,

    Check your contract
    See Union Rep if you have one
    Ask HR dept
    Go and see CAB
    Leave
    or just put up with it Just like Patch Would yerrrr I believe that NOT :D
     
  11. Patch

    Patch Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I've got a job. Diabetes doesn't stop me doing it to be best of my ability. And I don't use it as an excuse to be tardy.

    And I'd never DREAM of using it as an excuse for poor performance. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I did.
     
  12. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    :lol: :lol: :lol: That cracked me up bowell! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Nigel
     
  13. bowell

    bowell · Well-Known Member

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    Not aimed at anyone
    Just because some let others walk over them , Does not mean you need to put up with it


    [​IMG]
    If you don't need to stop for regular meal good for you,, But dont put others down that
    may have a more demanding or manual Job from yours or less bg control than you

    From my experience most work problems like this come down to some over enthusiastic new Lazy power mad manager/supervisor overstepping the mark ,sitting on your shoulders Trying to impress the Boss and making up own rules up
    A small chat with someone above will normally nip it in the bud. if not take a more formal route
    IF you know your in the Right.and always check your facts first
    I have always worked price per job or performance related pay so no Work no Dosh
    and done very well for myself Thanks :wink:
    know all about work ethic and lazy [email protected] who want to look good at your expense

    Mind you the coffee thing was a bit of a poor excuse :?
    Your will have to think of a better one than that :mrgreen:
     
  14. madness

    madness · Member

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    Thanks for all the messages and advice,

    Just to clarify I advised him before the meeting 15 mins that I needed to eat.
    I dont let my my diabetes rule me, I asked if the meeting could be postponed because I needed to eat.

    My diabetes is my problem, but I did not have a packed lunch and needed to use the microwave to eat my lunch, which was homemade.

    When he said no, was I supposed to go into a meeting and risk my bg dropping even further. and go into a hypo.?

    I injected my insulin and went to eat. He gave me no other choice, Already had the shakes by this time. 2.50pm.

    Had fasting bg test at my gp in the morning, had managed to squeeze a sandwich in the morning, and had to cover the service desk while 3 other people were on lunch.

    This man has shown total disregard for my health and safety and I could not rely upon him to call an ambulance, if I needed assistance.

    I am a woman working, in an all male IT dominated environment and I have been subjected to many inappropriate comments, which I keep to myself and complain to no one, as I chose this career.

    I will be contacting Diabetes uk advocacy for further help and advice, when I tried to explain to him about my diabetes in the meeting we had the next day, he told me he did not care about that and duly walked out.
     
  15. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
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    madness,

    It's time to get some professional advice as your boss sounds like a right bully and needs to be taught a lesson or two on people skills and discrimination in the workplace.

    Nigel
     
  16. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    I think some of this is attitudes towards work to be quite honest. If I had been in the same situation I would have ate something to get me through and then sorted out later. You say yiou needed to eat as if you were going hypo, but then you say you had your insulin and food, which I would never have done if I was on the verge of a hypo.

    I hope you get some advice from others qualified in HR matters, but from my own personal point of view, I think it is making a big issue out of it....there has to be some flexibility with managing your diabetes in a work environment.

    Personally, I did everything I could to ensure that my diabetes was never a factor for work at all. I thought if I made it an issue for myself, then other diabetics would never stand a chance of being employed by my employers as I could have ruined their chances, and when these maanagers moved companies etc, they would remember employing a diabetic that caused disruption...

    Sorry, I cannot agree that everything is your boss's fault, I wish I could, as I normally stand up for the 'under-dog'. However, I do try to see both sides of each story, putting on my management 'hat' and my 'HR' hat, and I really do not see that everything is all leaning towards you.
     
  17. tigger

    tigger Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    That definitely sounds more unreasonable than originally posted but in that situation I would have simply taken the food into the meeting with me and if any comments were made would have said that I've had to work through lunch, this has been sprung on me and I need to eat. If anyone had made any more comments at that point I would have said that this is a medical need and if it is not possible to eat here I will rejoin the meeting after it's done. You are allowed certain amounts of time off within set working hours (can't remember the exact figures but look at the working time regulations) and it is unreasonable to expect people to work without food even non-diabetics get low blood sugar and become unreasonable (e.g. the rest of my immediate family!). I do agree that injecting if you were already going low does sound a bit odd.

    Saying which I do a desk job where no one cares if I eat at my desk and if there are lunch meetings some people will bring in sandwiches irrelevant of any need other than simple hunger. For internal meetings this is not considered an issue and as said at external there tend to be biscuits.

    If he refuses to understand diabetes take it up through health and safety/occupational health or his immediate boss.

    Slightly reminds me of a driving theory test I did 2 years ago in which I turned up and they said I couldn't take any food in because of disturbances. After some argument I got them to agree that a pack of glucose sweets and meter was likely to make considerable less disturbance than an ambulance crew. I think quoting the disability discrimination act and suggesting they took it up on higher levels may also have helped.....
     
  18. bowell

    bowell · Well-Known Member

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  19. spideog

    spideog · Well-Known Member

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    From the information givent in that article I'm not sure I agree with their judgement. Doesn't seem that there was any "forcing" of her to miss lunch times, just that she carried on working regardless. The judgement seemed to be saying that it was the emplyers responsibility to tell her to take her lunch?

    It is your responsibility to remember to eat, you shouldn't need to be told to do so at a particular time every day. If the employer does not allow you to take a lunch break then they are at fault, but that case just looks like she didn't take her lunch through no fault of the employer. She just didn't ask.
     
  20. bowell

    bowell · Well-Known Member

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