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Anxiety and work

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Alex987654321
Alex987654321 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
Hi  I need some advice, I have been working from home for a while - 3 months - due to ongoing agoraphobia and anxiety. My company want someone in the office so my boss said I could work part time from home so a person could then work part time in the office. Which was fine for me. Now they have changed their mind and said I have to go on sickness benefit. I phoned ACAS and they said this could be seen as discrimination and legally reasonable adjustments should be looked into first. I told my employer this but regardless, today they have stopped my access to work from home and said I am to go on sick pay. I know they will now replace me. This has caused me great stress. I want and have been working from home up to now so not sure why this could not carry on. I have sent my boss a letter but cannot see them backing down and am not sure I have the strength to pursue it if in the end I either have to go on benefit until they get rid of me or I choose to leave.

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  • Bydand
    Bydand Community member Posts: 73 Courageous
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    Hi  I need some advice, I have been working from home for a while - 3 months - due to ongoing agoraphobia and anxiety. My company want someone in the office so my boss said I could work part time from home so a person could then work part time in the office. Which was fine for me. Now they have changed their mind and said I have to go on sickness benefit. I phoned ACAS and they said this could be seen as discrimination and legally reasonable adjustments should be looked into first. I told my employer this but regardless, today they have stopped my access to work from home and said I am to go on sick pay. I know they will now replace me. This has caused me great stress. I want and have been working from home up to now so not sure why this could not carry on. I have sent my boss a letter but cannot see them backing down and am not sure I have the strength to pursue it if in the end I either have to go on benefit until they get rid of me or I choose to leave.
    Hi, sorry to hear about your situation.

    can i ask a few questions first in order to maybe better advise.

    You state that you were allowed to work from home, can i ask…was this just a verbal agreement with your employer or was it part of reasonable adjustments through the OH process?

    were you off sick prior to being allowed to work from home?

    On what grounds is your employer stating to you that you have to go on sickness benefits, and do you mean…get signed off sick from work…..Are you signed of as sick?, how long for 

    with regards being allowed to work from home….yes an employer can grant this as a reasonable adjustment if their business can allow it, likewise if things change then an employer can remove this adjustment as not being sustainable, regardless of how long the adjustment has been in place, but they would need to evidence that allowing you to continue to work from home will or is having a detrimental effect on their business.

    It is important that anyone with health issues makes sure that everything is done above board and more importantly is recorded, hence why it is important to have OH involved at the outset. They are the ones who generally work with your employer to come up with reasonable adjustments that are beneficial to all parties.

    I have heard of stories of employers giving adjustments without any OH input but invariably as the business model, staffing levels etc change then it can cause real problems in continuing to manage an individuals needs moving forward as nothing official is recorded.

    not an expert in this but know enough about the processes that an employer should be adhering too.



  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 2,705 Scope online community team
    edited March 6
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    I'm really sorry this has happened to you. This really can't be great for your anxiety, and I imagine this has harmed your trust with the company. I would make sure you're getting everything you can in writing, rather than over the phone/video call. Just incase

    Also, just to clarify and get more info, how long have you been working at this company for? And have you had an Occupational Health review?
    They/Them, however they are no wrong pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
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  • Alex987654321
    Alex987654321 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    Thank you for your reply. In answer to your questions yes it was just a verbal agreement. I was working in the office up until around 3 months ago and since then I have wfh. However they are saying management want someone in the office. So they gave me an extra week for them to search for a replacement and then I go on sick pay. I was told I could go back in future but I would doubt this once they get a replacement. I am waiting for them to get back to me after sending them a letter. I really do think they will come up with something though to stop me being allowed to work from home again even though the job could have always been done from home.
  • Alex987654321
    Alex987654321 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    Again thanks jimm_scope I have worked there nearly 3 years and no occupational health has never been mentioned. (It is a small company).
  • Bydand
    Bydand Community member Posts: 73 Courageous
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    Thank you for your reply. In answer to your questions yes it was just a verbal agreement. I was working in the office up until around 3 months ago and since then I have wfh. However they are saying management want someone in the office. So they gave me an extra week for them to search for a replacement and then I go on sick pay. I was told I could go back in future but I would doubt this once they get a replacement. I am waiting for them to get back to me after sending them a letter. I really do think they will come up with something though to stop me being allowed to work from home again even though the job could have always been done from home.
    Hi again,
    I think your employer is making things up as they go along. 
    They can’t put you on sick pay if you haven’t gone sick, and even then you have employee rights and they likely have a documented process to follow.

    Have you been sick and off work in the period that you have been working from home

    You don’t say what profession you are in ( dont need a company name).

    Do you have an HR dept

    Do you have a union rep

    Who is telling you the things you have stated, a work colleague or a manager?

    sorry for the questions but knowing would make my answers more relevant






  • Alex987654321
    Alex987654321 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    I have been working from home for 3 months not on sick pay or off sick. It is a small company so no union or hr person or department and it is my manager who has told me what is happening. My work can be carried out at home as it is customer service.
  • Bydand
    Bydand Community member Posts: 73 Courageous
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    I have been working from home for 3 months not on sick pay or off sick. It is a small company so no union or hr person or department and it is my manager who has told me what is happening. My work can be carried out at home as it is customer service.
    Hi again, thanks for extra info.
    Having no union or HR dept not helpful as they would naturally be your first line of contact in trying to resolve any issues, sooooo

    I realise you may not want to go down this route but I would ask employer, manager (by email preferably), for a copy of their grievance policy and procedure….When you have this I would seriously consider putting in a grievance about how you have been treated….If nothing else this can lay the foundation evidence if you decide to go to an employment tribunal.

    I realise you may wish to continue working from home but you’re employer is under no obligation to facilitate this if the business model, practices change etc….but they would need to provide evidence as to why you returning to work is more beneficial than you working from home.

    from the Gov.uk website..

    Grievance procedure

    By law employers must set out a grievance procedure and share it in writing with all employees, eg in their statement of employment or staff handbook. It must include:

    • who the employee should contact about a grievance
    • how to contact this person

    It should also:

    • say that if the problem can’t be resolved informally, there will be a meeting with the employee, called a grievance hearing
    • set out time limits for each stage of the process
    • identify who to contact if the normal contact person is involved in the grievance
    • explain how to appeal a grievance decision
    • state that employees can be accompanied in any meetings by a colleague or union representative
    • outline what happens if a grievance is raised during disciplinary action

    You don’t have to include information about the grievance procedure in employment contracts. However, if you do, you must follow the procedure, or the employee could bring a breach of contract claim against you.

    Acas Code of Practice

    The Acas Code of Practice isn’t legally binding. However, an employment tribunal can reduce or increase any money awarded in a case by up to 25% if the code hasn’t been followed.


    Hope this helps some and hopefully others with more knowledge than myself will chime in




  • Alex987654321
    Alex987654321 Community member Posts: 7 Listener
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    Thanks for this. I will see what my manager says, I have said in my letter they have 14 days to reply. I am not sure if I want the stress of going to a tribunal and I might just cut my losses but part of me thinks that it is the principle and they could and should have handled it better. 
  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 4,081 Scope online community team
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    Hey @Alex987654321, I understand that the thought of a tribunal may seem very stressful, but they're there to support you and to help you get the best outcome from the situation. Ultimately the decision is yours though. 
    Albus (he/him)

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