I work in the NHS and am undergoing a job consultation process as a result of a merger with another Trust. The consultation was announced in March (in a meeting at which I was not present- I heard on the grapevine!) and then we heard nothing for weeks despite my asking for communications to be clear and forthcoming. When we finally had a meeting with the relevant manager we told a date in June on which it would formally commence. The day came and went with no news being given. Then, 3 days after we finally heard that it was to begin a week later. I suffer from depression and my employer was aware of my condition. I have now been signed off sick for a month. The whole process has wrecked my mental health, forced me to suspend a doctoral study and left me feeling useless. I am now signed off sick- something that has never happened to me before. Do I have any options about a breach of care on my employers part for feeling to communicate adequately with us? Many thanks for any advice you can give.
Province/Country relating to question: England
I was going to launch a formal grievance about this issue but my ill-health has thus precluded me from doing so.
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please let me know how long you have been there?
For Ben Jones only
Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier. I can understand the difficult times you have been going through and it is certainly not a good situation to have been through. So it is best if I explain your legal position.The first issue is to consider if you can be classified as being disabled for legal purposes. Disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that amount to a disability under law. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled for legal purposes, they need to establish whether they meet the definition of ‘disability’ as laid down in law.Disability is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) and is defined as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break down this definition so that you get a better idea of the requirements necessary for a condition to amount to a disability:• Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition. It includes progressive conditions, can include mental conditions such as depression and dyslexia and certain conditions (e.g. cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis) are automatically protected from the point of diagnosis;• Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;• Long-term - the effect of the impairment must have lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months;• Normal day-to-day activities – these are not defined but would include anything considered ‘normal’ in one’s normal daily routine (e.g. eating, washing, driving, walking, going shopping, etc.)If a person meets the above criteria, they would be classified as being disabled in law and would have automatic protection against discrimination. In particular, that means that they must not be treated less favourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if the employee is likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees. So consider - is any of this linked to your condition? I presume it is unlikely so the next issue is - has this inadvertently affected your condition? I suspect the answer would be a yes. That could amount to indirect disability discrimination although it would be a matter of fact and legal interpretation.Finally as to breach of care - this is a negligence claim and these are not that easy to prove. There are a lot of elements that you must satisfy to succeed and I do not see all of them being present here. At this stage an internal grievance, potentially leading to a discrimination claim could be your best bets.Important information: As professionals on this site, it is extremely important that our customers rate the service we provided. This only takes a few seconds. I would therefore be grateful if you could please choose one of the following options: OK Service, Good Service or Excellent Service. If you feel the need to leave a lower rating, please reply to me first with any further questions you have. I will be happy to assist further and clarify anything you need me to. Thank you
Expert in UK Employment Law
Hello, Following our recent conversation, this is just a quick follow up to see how you are getting on and to check if my advice has been helpful in dealing with your query? I look forward to hearing from you.Regards, Ben
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