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  • FIRST POST
    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 12th Mar 18, 9:51 PM
    • 1,202Posts
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    butterfly72
    Employer contacting off sick employee. Allowed?
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 18, 9:51 PM
    Employer contacting off sick employee. Allowed? 12th Mar 18 at 9:51 PM
    Asking on behalf of a friend.

    So my friend was off sick from work for 4 months due to work related stress and anxiety. This was caused by unfounded accusations pointed at her by her boss which have since been withdrawn.

    During her time off she was messaged by a colleague with details of a job in a different company. The colleague was acting on behalf of the boss, even tho she said she'd heard of the job 'on the grapevine'. There is a witness to this. Her question is..is an employer allowed to contact a member of staff who is off sick with details about a job in another company?

    Thanks.
Page 1
    • John-K
    • By John-K 12th Mar 18, 10:06 PM
    • 654 Posts
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    John-K
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:06 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:06 PM
    Yes, they are.

    Why do you ask? It seems like a nice thing to do.
    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 12th Mar 18, 10:33 PM
    • 1,202 Posts
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    butterfly72
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:33 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:33 PM
    Thank you John-K. My friend really just wanted to know. She didn't think it was appropriate to be sent job information whilst she was off sick. I don't think she ever told them she wanted to leave and thought the message was a bit, well underhand.

    She is aware contacting employees is fine...to check how they are (according to the sickness policy) ..not to help get rid of them!! It actually caused her more stress.

    Thanks again.
    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 12th Mar 18, 10:39 PM
    • 1,202 Posts
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    butterfly72
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:39 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:39 PM
    Just done a bit of googling.... apparently no the employer should not contact the employee except for the purposes given... i.e. facilitate return.. http://www.landaulaw.co.uk/stress-at-work/
    • Les79
    • By Les79 12th Mar 18, 10:41 PM
    • 255 Posts
    • 318 Thanks
    Les79
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:41 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:41 PM
    Thank you John-K. My friend really just wanted to know. She didn't think it was appropriate to be sent job information whilst she was off sick. I don't think she ever told them she wanted to leave and thought the message was a bit, well underhand.

    She is aware contacting employees is fine...to check how they are (according to the sickness policy) ..not to help get rid of them!! It actually caused her more stress.

    Thanks again.
    Originally posted by butterfly72
    Well, even if it IS underhanded surely it is something worth exploring?!

    Currently:

    - Your friend is not earning any money (unless they still get sick pay, but surely that will be lower than normal pay?). Also, your friend isn't currently getting experience/skills or even moving on with their life (unless they are running some scam like having a 2nd job whilst off sick, or studying etc)

    - Their employer is a person down and as such is getting less work done.

    - Your friend seems to hate the place anyway to be off for so long, and to think that the company are stitching her up here.

    Instead of the tit for tat, why doesn't your friend simply find a better job?
    • Masomnia
    • By Masomnia 12th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
    • 17,206 Posts
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    Masomnia
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
    Encouraging an employee to resign just looks like a constructive dismissal.

    If anything they should be contacting her to try to facilitate a return to work. If it's work related stress and there's nothing medically wrong then the only way to get her back to work is to discuss the issues with a view to resolving them.
    “I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.” - P.G. Wodehouse
    • elsien
    • By elsien 12th Mar 18, 10:45 PM
    • 16,520 Posts
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    elsien
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:45 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:45 PM
    How do you know the colleague was acting on behalf of the boss? And even if they were, what's your friend going to do with the information which is probably next to impossible to prove?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 12th Mar 18, 10:48 PM
    • 1,975 Posts
    • 2,933 Thanks
    shortcrust
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:48 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:48 PM
    Well, even if it IS underhanded surely it is something worth exploring?!

    Currently:

    - Your friend is not earning any money (unless they still get sick pay, but surely that will be lower than normal pay?). Also, your friend isn't currently getting experience/skills or even moving on with their life (unless they are running some scam like having a 2nd job whilst off sick, or studying etc)

    - Their employer is a person down and as such is getting less work done.

    - Your friend seems to hate the place anyway to be off for so long, and to think that the company are stitching her up here.

    Instead of the tit for tat, why doesn't your friend simply find a better job?
    Originally posted by Les79
    Quite. Energies that could be applied to finding a better job do seem to get diverted to the daftest things quite often.

    It's difficult to see how pursuing this would make for a less stressful return to work.
    • John-K
    • By John-K 12th Mar 18, 11:12 PM
    • 654 Posts
    • 1,016 Thanks
    John-K
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 18, 11:12 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 18, 11:12 PM
    Just done a bit of googling.... apparently no the employer should not contact the employee except for the purposes given... i.e. facilitate return.. http://www.landaulaw.co.uk/stress-at-work/
    Originally posted by butterfly72
    For god’s sake, that is from a firm of ambulance chasing lawyers, of course they are going to spin it to get people lining up for a compo claim.

    Is this the aim here, your friend wants a bit of compo?
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 13th Mar 18, 7:10 AM
    • 5,002 Posts
    • 5,411 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    How do you know the colleague was acting on behalf of the boss? And even if they were, what's your friend going to do with the information which is probably next to impossible to prove?
    Originally posted by elsien
    As Elsien says, trying to prove that the boss was involved in sending the information about another job is going to be difficult or impossible. It would be the boss's word against that of the person who actually sent the e-mail, unless there is a paper trail, and the person who sent it is prepared to put their own job at risk.
    If involved, it's something the boss should not have done. Either way, as the friend has been off sick for months maybe they should consider seeking employment elsewhere for their own sake.
    • butterfly72
    • By butterfly72 13th Mar 18, 7:38 AM
    • 1,202 Posts
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    butterfly72
    Thank you everyone for your replies and opinions. I'll show them all to my friend.
    • LittleMax
    • By LittleMax 14th Mar 18, 12:35 AM
    • 1,284 Posts
    • 1,931 Thanks
    LittleMax
    Just done a bit of googling.... apparently no the employer should not contact the employee except for the purposes given... i.e. facilitate return.. http://www.landaulaw.co.uk/stress-at-work/
    Originally posted by butterfly72
    Err, what about the line before it that says, "Should my employer be making contact with me if I am signed off work because of my stress?
    Such contact can amount to fair and appropriate management by your employer, and is often beneficial to you too so that you don’t have the feeling of being isolated or ignored."

    For god’s sake, that is from a firm of ambulance chasing lawyers, of course they are going to spin it to get people lining up for a compo claim.

    Is this the aim here, your friend wants a bit of compo?
    Originally posted by John-K
    They don't even need to spin it people pick and choose the bits that suit!
    • AstroTurtle
    • By AstroTurtle 14th Mar 18, 9:02 AM
    • 151 Posts
    • 533 Thanks
    AstroTurtle
    They could probably go down the route of dismissal based on capacity if they really wanted to get rid of her.


    The colleague ringing about "Another job" but "Acting on behalf of the boss" seems more long winded and unnecessary if they REALLY wanted to dismiss her.




    Long-term sick

    With long-term sickness absence, the employer still needs to consider the employee's right to put forward their case and balance that against the organisation's needs to carry out the procedure without unreasonable delay.
    Although an employee may be off sick, he or she may still be able to attend a disciplinary hearing - and employers should consider making reasonable adjustments to facilitate this. This could include visiting the employee at home or meeting in a neutral venue.
    If the hearing can't be postponed until the employee is well enough to attend, then the employer can, in exceptional circumstances, go ahead with the hearing in the employee's absence.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 14th Mar 18, 9:13 AM
    • 32,179 Posts
    • 19,331 Thanks
    getmore4less
    Asking on behalf of a friend.

    So my friend was off sick from work for 4 months due to work related stress and anxiety. This was caused by unfounded accusations pointed at her by her boss which have since been withdrawn.

    During her time off she was messaged by a colleague with details of a job in a different company. The colleague was acting on behalf of the boss, even tho she said she'd heard of the job 'on the grapevine'. There is a witness to this. Her question is..is an employer allowed to contact a member of staff who is off sick with details about a job in another company?

    Thanks.
    Originally posted by butterfly72
    Looks like she is now back in work.

    What was actually witnessed?

    Was the "hey your friend could do this job at xxx" before or after the allegation was withdrawn.

    The person that sent the message is the one that should have put in a grievance or just said no I am not telling them.
    (a smart boss would not have told them to send a message but just planted a seed).
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 14th Mar 18, 9:44 AM
    • 2,725 Posts
    • 3,899 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    The colleague may have been acting on behalf of the boss, but the boss was probably acting in a personal capacity, rather than on behalf of the company - a boss can be a person too, you know, with all the good and bad that entails, and can be separate from 'the company', just as an employee isn't the same as 'the company'.

    If the company wanted to get rid of her, they'd take direct action, not drop silly little hints like this.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 14th Mar 18, 9:52 AM
    • 6,566 Posts
    • 8,531 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    OP, it sounds as though your friend wasn't contacted by her employer. She was contacted by one of her colleagues.

    As others have said, I think she would struggle to satisfy anyone that it was 'on behalf of' the boss, - from what you say, the message didn't say that, and you'd need both the person who sent the message and the witness to be willing to say that it was an instruction from the boss. And even then, in isolation it probably wouldn't be enough to result in a successful claim.
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