I have been under investigation for various symptoms for over a year now.
sensory - tinging, crawling, temperature changes
Motor - left sided weakness, tremor
frequent urination, symptoms of infection with no infection present
At first all of these symptoms were being investigated as separate conditions but it September 2012 it was decided that since no individual cause could be found they must all be caused by one condition. Looking back through my medical history it became clear there was an obvious starting point and pattern thereafter. MS was suspected and I have been going through investigations since January 2013 (this was the first available appointment with a Neuro in my area).
I have had the MRI of which I await the results and various reflex tests. My Neuro is confident that it is MS but has also said that if it isn’t then he will be diagnosing me with Peripheral Neuropathy. He confirmed that both of these diagnosis would be covered under the equalities act. He also confirmed that I was already covered under that act due to the length of time my symptoms have persisted (3 years).
He said this as I had mentioned the number of absences I have had from work in the last year (8) and that I was on the last stage of the formal attendance process. He said not to worry, most of his patients are at this stage when they eventually get to him, it’s the nature of how MS presents itself and the long diagnostic process required.
I was put on the last formal stage of the absence process in December 2012 and it was due to run until 8th March 2013, at which point my attendance would be reviewed.
Since December 2012 I have been off work on two occasions totalling 11 days. One absence was due to Norovirus which lasted approx 9 days (my manager took me home from work) and the other was 2 days due to bowel urgency (I tried to prevent this absence by offering to work different shifts but my request was denied and it was put through as an absence). I have been in the business for 52 days.
Two weeks ago I received a copy of a letter sent to my manager from occupational health advising that my Neuro and GP had been in contact, it explained my condition and probable diagnosis - both of which if confirmed would be covered under the equalities act. In addition, it said that they felt it would be sensible to await the results of my neurological investigations before making any definitive decisions in this case. This letter was dated 26th February 2013.
The letter gave me the impression that all was well and that my manager could take no further action against me at this stage. It gave me a bit of piece of mind because I had been worrying about my final review.
Yesterday, my manager took me into a meeting and confirmed my pay rise and bonus details so again I thought all was well - I mean why would they tell me that if they were going to get rid of me the very next day?!! Right?
Today I had what they call my ‘Final Formal Review’ meeting. I wasn’t overly concerned given what had happened over the last couple of weeks but it was still at the back of my mind.
The meeting went on for around 40 mins with my manager going over what has been happening, confirming the level of absence over the past year and what assistance they have given me in order to improve my attendance at work. Basically on 20th February 2013 they had an external assessor come in and review my situation, I was given various equipment last week following the assessors recommendations. They also recommended various ways of implementing flexible working to allow me to accomodate the bowel urgency etc. None of the suggestions with regards to flexible working were agreed.
After the initial 40 minute discussion my manager asked me what I needed from her in order to continue my employment and I said ‘all I have ever asked for was flexibility, the department is open for 70 hours a week and I only work 35, therefore there are enough available opening hours to allow me flexibility’. She said ‘ok, well me and April will go and discuss what you have said and asked for and see if there is anything further we can do to help keep you in employment’. I was left sitting with my union rep for 10 mins when she came back into the room and said that after much discussion they have decided to terminate my employment with immediate effect. I was frogmarched back to my desk, while my manager watched I cleared my desk, I was not allowed to log onto my PC to retrieve anything or log off, my pass was taken away and I was left to sit in reception to wait on my lift. All of my colleague saw this and I could see the looks on their faces.
I have worked for this company for 11 years!!!
It was clear from the outset that she had already made up her mind about my employment before we even stepped into the room. I found out from one of the janitors that when she was away discussing my case, they were actually sitting in the canteen!!! Surely to God they should have been away on the phone to HR to make sure they were doing the right thing!!!
My insurances for unemployment, critical illness ect were all taken out through my employer and paid for at discounted rates from my salary and I have just been told that due to the termination of my contract I cannot make a claim to pay my mortgage. All insurance policies are null and void.
I will only receive 3 months salary.
I will not be paid my bonus as I have left the company before 31/3/13.
My case was not dealt with under the DDA or equalities act as I am not yet diagnosed.
I must also question why they did not take the advice of the occupational health letter dated only 2-3 weeks ago. Surely it is their opinion which counts?
I have the right to appeal within 14 days to get the decision overturned and my job back otherwise it will go to tribunal. My union rep did not fill me with confidence that either the appeal or tribunal will be successful.
Because of the way my employment has been terminated I can apply for benefits straight away. I have never been on benefits in my life and feel sick at the thought.
My father was picking me up from work today and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what had happened. I’m not sure if I should keep it to myself until the appeal process has ended as this only takes 14 days. I just don’t want to give anyone else the stress if I don’t have to.
I feel completely sick to my stomach at the thought of not having a job for the first time in my life. Not only that I now no longer have any financial protection for my mortgage and no means to pay it without a salary.
Please, please help me.