Employment Law/HR advice needed!

caLLous

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OK, here we go.

[background waffle]
I work in a nightclub which has had 2 armed robberies since October. Our UAC (Unit Administration Controller, she deals with all the money and personell and stuff) was in the building when the first robbery happened. Now, she's 60-odd and to be fair, it pretty much fucked her up.

She went off on the sick for about 3 weeks afterwards and when she returned, she was very unsure of herself and made demands like 'there should always be another person in the offices with me when I'm at work'. There generally is someone in the offices (either myself or one of the other 3 managers) but there comes a time when you simply can't sit in an office all day (deliveries need to be taken in, things need to be signed for, engineers need to be supervised, that kind of thing) so she then went back on the sick with Post Traumatic Stress claiming that she couldn't work under the circumstances.

A week after she went back on the sick (this would've been on the 23rd of January), we had another armed robbery (or rather attempted robbery, because they all got arrested in the club, mwahah). I was there for this one along with 2 other managers and our lighting technician (it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be).
[/background waffle]

Around about the middle of March, she decided that she was ready to come back to work and offered herself for a couple of hours a week just to try and slide back into the role. We thought this was a good idea so we accepted it. She came in for 2 hours last week and ended up fucking hyperventilating in the office because she'd had a 'funny turn', so she went back home again and hasn't been heard of since today.

We spoke to our HR department at head office and they said that she wasn't allowed to come into work until she was declared fit to work for insurance reasons or something. She basically had two options - come off the sick and come back to work or go on the sick and not come in at all.

I rang her and asked her if she could come in on Monday to help out because we're all going to be in Northampton on the piss. We have a couple of guys in at the moment doing marketing and promotion work, so there's always someone in the offices. She said she didn't feel too well and was going back on the sick.

What I basically need to know is - how can we get rid of her? We're all getting sick of having to babysit her when she's here, and struggle without a proper UAC when she's not. Our HR department is essentially pussyfooting around the topic, not being that clear when we ask them for guidance.

If there was some way we could just fuck her off without any backlash or payouts or anything, that would be just swell. If there's a loophole or something we could exploit, then someone let me know. We're basically paying her to sit at home and do fuck all - we can't even get a doctor to give a second opinion because as far as I know, Post Traumatic Stress is diagnosed only by symptoms and cannot be disproved. She could've looked it up on the interweb and started acting it out for all I know.

I think that's all. I'm tired and I can't think straight, so I'll probably come back to it tomorrow and add/alter something. As usual, any constructive help is very much appreciated.
 

Paradroid

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We use Occupational Health Advisors to independantly assess any log term illnesses, and we do home visits, then we look at the Contract they're employed under and may possibly sack them for Breach of Contract - our contracts are pretty much standard regarding attendance and capability. Also, if they're not fit for work and don't attend, they could be medically retired.

In my work they expect you to retire at 60. For every year you opt to stay on after that, you have to formally request it - and we could just decline the request.

I suppose if you're worried she may be trying to fleece you until she's 65...lead her into a position where she admits, and is assessed, to be of a certain standard (ie able to do simple menial tasks), then offer her "other tasks more suitable to her capability", but work so dissmal she'll hopefully leave - if she doesn't, well, at least she's working.
 

Tom

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Well, she isn't going to be coming back to work is she? Perhaps get her in for a chat, and ask her to step down?

Failing that, isn't there something in most contracts that limits sick pay to 6 months or something?

I don't fucking know. I've never even had a full time job tbh. :(
 

Gumbo

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If somehow she stumbles onto this thread you are going to be royally screwed in the tribunal by the way.

You just need to know what it says in her contract or terms of employment. You probably only need to pay her for a bit, then she'll be on SSP so not too much skin off your nose and she'll be quite well off on incapacity benefit.

It is damn hard to get rid of someone now, harder still if they are sick, harder even than that if they are injured at work, which is basically what your situation amounts to.

You just need to accept she's going to be off for a while and get in some early twenties, blonde, temp to do the admin that this woman seemed to cover. I believe those are the hardest working sort anyway :p
 

Escape

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Offer her a redundancy package with one months salary. Build the impression that she doesn't have a choice. Though if she insists on keeping the job, you'll have some leverage to set conditions.
 

leggy

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My god callous you seriously did not want to post that in here.

I would consider a request to get this thread perma-deleted.

Basically I think she needs to be paid 6 months sick pay. Hire someone else in the mean time. When the 6 months is up she will bugger off somewhere else.
 

Clown

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I say hire someone else.
To kill the old lady.
 

Mey

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Tried talking to a lawyer, who can offer you professional help?
 

yaruar

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Escape said:
Offer her a redundancy package with one months salary. Build the impression that she doesn't have a choice. Though if she insists on keeping the job, you'll have some leverage to set conditions.
that would mena that for 1 year they couldn't hire someone to take over her role.
 

yaruar

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caLLous said:
OK, here we go.


What I basically need to know is - how can we get rid of her? We're all getting sick of having to babysit her when she's here, and struggle without a proper UAC when she's not. Our HR department is essentially pussyfooting around the topic, not being that clear when we ask them for guidance.

If there was some way we could just fuck her off without any backlash or payouts or anything, that would be just swell. If there's a loophole or something we could exploit, then someone let me know. We're basically paying her to sit at home and do fuck all - we can't even get a doctor to give a second opinion because as far as I know, Post Traumatic Stress is diagnosed only by symptoms and cannot be disproved. She could've looked it up on the interweb and started acting it out for all I know.
you really do live up to your user name.

stop being suck a c u n t and realise that her panic attacks are directly related to the robbery. Personally i hope she sues your arses off, you'd deserve it for this attitude.
 

Escape

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yaruar said:
that would mena that for 1 year they couldn't hire someone to take over her role.
New positions can be made, with spiced up descriptions. That's how corporations handle it when executing mass redundancies. One place I worked at lost 50% of their staff. Within 2 months they were recruiting again to fill the vacuum.
 

Tom

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yaruar said:
you really do live up to your user name.

stop being suck a c u n t and realise that her panic attacks are directly related to the robbery. Personally i hope she sues your arses off, you'd deserve it for this attitude.
Get real tbh mate. A certain amount of time off to recover, but if she is never going to get better, then get rid.

Its not callous, its called real life. There comes a point where either "she fucking comes back to work, or she fucks off tbh".

If she wants to sue anybody, tell her to sue the scum that robbed the place.
 

JBP|

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I suggest talking to ACAS they have been most helpfull with my enquiries regarding employment laws.

I won't go into any details but its a hard task (and costly) getting rid of someone who is on the sick long term.
 

haarewin

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cant believe noone has suggested this so far - she should be referred to a psychologist, as they could help her build up enough confidence to come back.

when we got robbed i didnt want to be in the house on my own, but i had to deal with it.
 

SAS

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You have to show you have helped her in some way. If you just get rid of her, she can sue your backside off (after all it was caused by a work related incident.

I think yaruar is right on that the problem is caused by the last armed robbery. Try and work on a plan to get her back in slowly. Offer help from medical sources, and maybe offer her another position where she is not alone throughout the day?

Your HR department are playing about and they should be the ones giving you advice on this.
 
G

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Whats her name and address so that i can write to her and show her all the "nice" things you have said about her, as a manager you have a duty of care for her, and posting on a forum asking how you can sack someone legally isnt really showing any type of duty of care to her is it. She has a contract of employment that will have a sickness clause in it that states longterm sickness and what happens, that is there to give the employer contractual rights to end a persons employment through sickness.
The length of sickness will be outlined in that contract of employment, so i suggest you get HR to tell you the company policy on longterm sickness, and stop posting potentially libelous comments on this forum.
 

yaruar

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SAS said:
You have to show you have helped her in some way. If you just get rid of her, she can sue your backside off (after all it was caused by a work related incident.

I think yaruar is right on that the problem is caused by the last armed robbery. Try and work on a plan to get her back in slowly. Offer help from medical sources, and maybe offer her another position where she is not alone throughout the day?

Your HR department are playing about and they should be the ones giving you advice on this.
Indeed, my other half, a few years ago was working as a cashier at a bank in london when they were held up at gunpoint. They were offered no voctim support or counselling. For a long time afterwards she had major panic attacks and became agrophobic without understanding fully why. Eventually she got medical help (and delt with a hypnotherapist) and got over the post trauma stress and it's symptoms.

As an employer you owe it to this person to try to deal with this in a way that helps them. EMployers are liable for the case of their staff whilst they are at work. IN cases like this there should be counselling and other therapies on offer immediately after the fact and ongoing therapies to deal with longer term issues. Only if all avenues are exhausted should you give up on the person and offer to buy them out so both parties can move on.

I very much doubt that this woman is faking her symptoms, i suspect she is playing them down and not explaining them properly because she doesn't want to talk about it and is embarrassed by the panic attacks (which are nasty nasty things) avoidance and dissacoation also occur in these circumstances.
 

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