Work troubles...

Well, I’ve not exactly lost my job, but I’ve lost my post, which is not quite the same thing.

I work on a team of three people. We’d been notified that, as of 1st April, we would only be funded for 2.5 people, which meant all three of us would be expected to chip in at other odd jobs, to balance the books.

However, I’ve just had a call from the boss, to say it’s been decided they’re not going to do it that way, and that from 1st April, they’re only going to be funded for two people - and the one to get the axe is me.

I still work for the company, but am now on one month’s notice of redeployment, which means the company - and me - are supposed to find replacement work for me within that time.

If that fails, I will go “on the bench”, which is the pool of people who don’t have current assignments. You can only be “on the bench” a limited amount of time (I forget how long, but it’s only a few weeks), before the redundancy process is initiated.

I can’t help thinking: “Would this have happened if I’d been well?”

I know I’ve not been deliberately selected on the basis of health, which would be outright illegal. However, I feel that my declining health and dwindling work output have meant I haven’t been considered such a core part of the group as I used to be, and therefore I was the natural choice, when it came to deciding which of us to dump.

I don’t think my boss (who is also leaving the team) had any say in this, and he sounded upset.

I have to spend the next few days handing over my duties to my remaining colleagues, but to move on to…nothing.

I think my poor health, and my difficulty travelling, or even working in a normal office, instead of from home, will constitute a big obstacle to reassignment.

I’m wondering if I should hope it will lead to redundancy. I haven’t exactly been coping well, and I’d get about two years’ pay, which I realise is generous compared to the state minimum.

But two years’ money, at 45? It’s tempting, as a lump sum, but not much if I don’t have anything else to go to, is it?


Sorry to hear this Tina, I hope the future is much better than it appears to be at the moment.

That sucks Tina. Sorry

I hope you’re on the bench only momentarily and that something really good takes you off it.

Karen x

Thanks Annie,

I’d always felt confident the company would be very wary of anything that might even look as if it was discriminatory, but now I’m not so sure.

It’s very hard to prove anything, of course, but my recent appraisal mentioned I wasn’t proactive enough, or putting myself “out there”.

I feel this has been due in large measure to MS (How do you set about being “proactive”, or “out there”, when every day feels like you have flu’, and you have enough trouble just getting through all the basics of the job?)

I feel that if I’d been more like my old self, I wouldn’t have been viewed as “surplus to requirements”, and the most logical member of the group to lose.



Thanks Karen,

I’ve been in this post literally years. I know hardly anyone outside of it, to ring and ask: “Gi’s a job!” I knew things were bad, but they’re always bad this time of year, and we always have a fight to get the budget approved for next year. I had got used to it by now, and expected it would be the usual storm in a teacup, and that, as in previous years, we’d still be expected to deliver more for less budget, but that nothing else would change - let alone that one of us would be told we couldn’t be on the team any more. :frowning:



Hi Tina, this is awful news for you and very worrying about what`s going to happen next.

You did intimate that you have not been coping so well, due to the fatigue etc of living with MS. So i guess you`re not very surprised.

But, its one thing to think something isnt going as well as youd like, but its another kettle of fish when you actually hear the news first hand, eh?

So, if you do take redundancy and have a bit of a cushion money wise, what will you do next? I think i recall you saying youd got something worked out so you dont need to claim ESA type benefits.

Is this still the case, as I feel for you if you have financial worries on top of losing your job?

luv Pollx

Hi Poll,

Well, strictly speaking, it should be two completely unrelated issues. The fact I’m struggling a bit with ill-health shouldn’t have any bearing on being picked to be jettisoned from the team. In fact, health is something they are expressly NOT allowed to consider. However, without being paranoid about it, I’m sure the fact I’ve managed less work, and not been so “proactive” means I’m seen as less of a loss, so the logical person to drop.

I’ve not been given (or offered) any redundancy so far, but I’m sort of on the first bit of the conveyor belt that leads to it, if you see what I mean, because I’m no longer required in my present role, but without an identified new role to go to.

Yes, I did get a critical illness payout on diagnosis, and I will get a lump sum payout on redundancy too, if it eventually comes to that. So there would be no immediate crisis. But considering I might live to be 90 with MS (my great aunt lived to 87), I can’t really quit at 45, and expect to live the rest of my life on the nest eggs 'til now, can I?

I already feel this is the last job I will ever hold. If I lose it now, I can’t see myself rejoining the job application and interview circuit.



Hi Tina, I’m not sure what to say except I really feel for you and understand how Worrying this must be for you, i think as well it’s the not knowing, you can’t really move on while you don’t know what is going to happen. Reading what you say, it is hard to think that perhaps your ms hasn’t come into play, although, of course, as you also say, that is quite illegal. Did they not apply a process to tell you which of you would be selected, you know something transparent so you could see for what reason it was you who was picked? Where to go from here, well I guess you need to see what other job they come up for you within the company, I don’t know what kind of work you do so it’s hard to comment, do you know if there are job vacancies within the company at the moment? I’m also aware of the fact you work from home and don’t drive. Would you be prepared to travel to an office building to do another job, do your company have premises located close by where you life, I wonder. Oh Tina, I’m sorry, I can’t really offer anything helpful, but I really feel for you, Cheryl:)

Hi Cheryl,

They insist it’s purely based on experience and qualifications, and not on health, volume of work, or even appraisals, though recent appraisals have been at least “OK”, notwithstanding the comments made last week, about proactivity, which I don’t think my boss even included on the official record.

I think one of my colleagues is clearly better-qualified than me, so fair enough. But the other almost certainly isn’t - and is junior to me! I find it hard to believe he’s better qualified, OR has had better appraisals (IF, which they deny, appraisals had anything to do with it).

No, the process is not transparent, and I don’t know if there are any grounds for appeal. I suspect not, because don’t forget, this is not a redundancy…yet. So probably doesn’t have to follow the usual rules about selecting for redundancy.

I don’t think I’d be prepared/able to travel to an office every day on public transport. I remember the days when I still used to do that, which was before I knew I was ill, but it was beginning to be very fatigue-inducing, even then - which was several years ago. Although it was never explicitly for health reasons, that was one of the reasons I gradually drifted into permanent home working. The company allowed, and even encouraged it (cheaper for them), and I found it easier, and eventually they made it official. But all without any of us knowing I was ill. So although it worked out very handy, in the light of my subsequent diagnosis, there’s nothing anywhere that says it was a “reasonable adjustment”, which they’re obliged to honour.

The trouble is, in these situations, the onus falls very much on the employee to find their next assignment. I think this is WRONG - even for a healthy employee - but especially so for a sick one, who isn’t going to have the drive and initiative to find their own next work.

I’ve never heard of another employer who doesn’t TELL you what you’re required to work on, but this one doesn’t: you’re expected to bid for work yourself, like applying for jobs on the open market.



Well T.

You seem to have lost that undoubted get up and go; nothing will defeat me; I will use knowledge to defeat it attitude you had that came shining through in the short time you have been on this board.

You say one of your team has less knowledge than you but you say they are not being discriminatory. What other reason is there; of course they are discriminating?

Its time to draw a line in the sand and tell them no further; redundancy money is not worth the paper it’s printed on. Contact any of the organisations below who will help, my recommendation is EHRC.


Hi Tina,

Sorry to hear your news. But don’t give up on finding something else if you do take redundancy. Two years ago I was made redundant-I worked for a large UK charity. All of my department was offered redundancy and then told if we didn’t want that we could reapply for our job. The team was reduced from 5 regional staff to 1, in 5 regions of UK. I took the redundancy and have since found a new job which suits me much better. It is local so much less travelling and although the pay isn’t as good it is much less stressful and more easier to cope with alongside MS.

Hope things work out for you

Cathy x

Hi tina…sorry to hear your news…I too hope you are deployeed with them still…and not on the bench too long…must be very hard place to be put by your company…I would certainly see the help of the CAB. You can claim ESA and also do " permitted" work as long as you dont work more than 16hrs week and earn no more than 96.00 per week…you have to get permission to do this…and you cand do it for 52wks if in the work related group…but then you have to stop for 52wks…ludicrous I know…however if you are in the support group there is no 52wk rule. You can work for yourself or for an employer re permitted work…hope this helps…dpending on your plans…and outcome…

em x

Hello George,

Thanks for the pep talk.

But basically, even if they ARE discriminating, I don’t think there’s any reason they would not be allowed to…so far.

All that’s happened is they’ve told me they don’t want me to do what I’m doing any more. This is NOT sacking. Surely, any employer can direct any employer to do/not do something, without having to give a reason?

In this case, the reason given is “lack of budget”. If it wasn’t me, it would be one of the other two, as it’s quite clear they’re not going to keep three on the team, no matter what.

So somebody was always going to be told: “Stop what you’re doing, and look round for other work [within the company]”. In this case it happens to be me. It’s not a sacking; it’s not even a constructive dismissal.

The reasons why it’s me are not entirely clear, but I’m not convinced they have to be. Can’t they deploy staff however they like, including telling them NOT to work on something, as well as to work on it? Case law shows that an employer has no obligation to provide work. They can direct an employee to stop, without having to supply alternative duties. So they haven’t done anything wrong, at the moment.

Obviously, crunch time comes if there still aren’t any alternative duties for me after a month, which is when the accountants start to get upset. They won’t pay me to file my nails indefinitely.

But the company still isn’t necessarily doing anything wrong, if there genuinely isn’t another job I can go to.

They might have to pay me off - which would not be a paltry sum (it’s waaaaay better than the State basic) - just nothing like enough to retire on.


Thanks Cathy, for that positive slant on things.

I suppose getting the payoff AND finding something better would be the dream solution. It’s just that I’ve worked there for over 20 years, and am now 46, and ill. I’m having trouble even imagining starting again with cvs and interviews, and think I’d have had trouble imagining it, even when I was well.

Good for you, though, that it worked out!



Hi Scoobs (er…Em :wink: )

Don’t think I’d have the choice of ESA, because I’d be redundant, not sick. If it was anything, it would have to be JSA.

I know I am “sick” in the broader sense - as is everyone with MS. But if I’d not been signed-off sick in the run-up to any redundancy, I can’t see how ESA would be an option.

If you’re working, but made redundant, it’s not sickness, is it? Even if you do have a sickness that makes it harder for you to get back into work.

Thanks for the thought anyway.



Tina I’m really sorry that work is being urghh but on the benefit front – if you were made redundant you could apply for ESA. If you decided that this was the point you were taking yourself out of the job market you needn’t have been off sick on the run up to the redundancy. You would need to:

  • have had an illness or disability which affects your ability to work for at least four days in a row (including weekends and public holidays)
  • be unable to work for two or more days out of seven consecutive days
  • be getting special medical treatment

I’m not suggesting that you should give up work just that you would be eligible to apply for this sickness/disability benefit just like anyone else.


I’m so sorry to read this Tina, I wish you good luck with what ever you decide to do.

Take care