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Anxiety due to being ignored/gossipped about. Can I be sacked or disciplined for taking time off

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by imaan86, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. imaan86

    imaan86 New commenter


    I was diagnosed with depression (due to an assault) and anxiety 2 months ago (due to when I spoke up about it/going through the grievance procedure).

    I am now off work today I don't know for how long as I feel I may need a sick note but I am worried this will affect my work. I'm support staff but over these past few months have been hard and slt know I have depression and anxiety. I refused a 2 week sick note in December which my work are not aware of but took 2 days off instead. Upon my return I have not had a return to work meeting and slt only ask me how I am in passing in the corridor or if I am supporting a class. Like really?! You want me to say everything in 2 seconds?

    They might use the excuse that I didn't say anything before even though I mentioned the ignoring behaviour of some staff back in December and was told "as long as they're not saying anything that's the main thing'.

    Anyway, could they take action against me for not being in for a few days or 2 weeks???

    I'm in 2 minds as to whether I should go back in a few days or after a few weeks.

    Also can I apply for jobs and go to interviews/accept jobs while I am off?
    mindymole likes this.
  2. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    They can't take action against you, no. In fairness I see no evidence in your post that they would either....

    Going for jobs when off sick... a grey area. Speak to your union. Certainly it is a no-no unless you have agreed this with the Headteacher.

    Can I be honest... they have asked you how you are. They haven't ignored you. You have had a tough time, and what I say is no refelection on it. What exactly do you think they should do though? If you don't tell them, they don't know for one thing. How are they supposed to know about the sick note? Do they know about the assault? (Edit: is this a school issue?)

    Secondly, harsh though it may sound I guess that in the grand scheme of things, the life of one member of support staff isn't foremost in the minds of the leadership. You don't suggest this is for uncaring reasons. The response you seek isn't really going to happen I feel.
  3. missRV

    missRV Occasional commenter

    I'm an assault survivor from 6 months ago feel free to pm me if you need support.

    School can not discipline you for being off. But please do speak up. Ignoring a drs note is not recommended.
    Dragonlady30 and sabrinakat like this.
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You can't be disciplined for taking time off if you have been signed off. Take the two weeks and see how you feel then. It may be that some of the worries you feel about being ignored are part of the general anxiety and depression. If you have medication, you may need the time off for it to begin to take effect.
    Dragonlady30 and DYNAMO67 like this.
  5. imaan86

    imaan86 New commenter

    Hi and thank you for responding.
    Yes it is a school issue (one of the assaults happened outside of work) and they are aware of the assault and the
    [This comment/section/image has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
    has resigned.

    What I mean is that slt generally ask 'how are you' as they would any other person. I have not had a one to one meeting with my line manager despite it stating in the absence policy for managers to hold meetings with staff upon their return.

    I didn't want them to know about the sick note tbh as they are the type to use it against me e.g they'll say if you were sick you wouldn't have refused. But I didnt know they wouldn't be supportive or that staff would hold some sort of grudge against me.

    As for being ignored - this is by other staff
    [This comment/section/image has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]

    People who would usually speak to me no longer do unless it's once in a blue moon.

    Surely if it's not the actual work but the environment that is making me anxious then going for an interview isn't a problem or disciplinary matter?
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    As regards your health it is up to you to look after your own interests.

    Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by your actions at work. Workers must co-operate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements .

    They aren't telepathic and moping along the corridor isn't good enough. You have to communicate clearly or they can't help you. You really should have asked for a back-to-work. I can quite understand that you want to be 'nurtured' a bit and the whole thing is probably very difficult/embarrassing/mortifying. But you need to go to someone right now and be honest about your situation.

    I do not advise you to go for interviews whilst self-certificating or signed off.

    Talk to someone at school. It is your responsibility to do so.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's clearly a history which you can't post about here (please do not post anything that identifies you). Did the assault take place in school?

    I'm no expert on mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but I am a bit confused by the implication of your post that it is up to you how long you are signed off for. Surely your GP decides how long you should take off work? If the GP says you should be signed off then be signed off.

    Responses from others saying you can't be disciplined for being off sick (as long as you are signed off sick by your GP) are correct but I wonder if a little misleading? You can't be dismissed on disciplinary grounds for sickness but staff with long term sickness absence can be dismissed on grounds of capability. Two weeks however is not long term sickness. Your school should have a sickness absence policy that explains what happens after illness of various lengths, and how long you would have to be off before they start what's usually called "contract review".

    Are you in a union? Have you consulted them? Did they support you in the grievance you referred to?

    What does your school sickness absence policy say about back to work meetings after two days off sick? Not all schools would have a formal meeting after two days off.

    Unions recommend you do not go for interviews unless you have the permission of the headteacher. Going for an interview when off sick could expose you to disciplinary action.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
    emerald52 likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I would not expect more than this after just a couple of days off. If I had been asked to attend a return to work meeting after only 2 days, I would be annoyed about the waste of time involved.

    You really should take your doctor's advice on this. If the doctor thinks you should be off for 2 weeks, then you should be off for 2 weeks.

    You can apply for jobs, but not go for interviews without the approval of the school. The same applies if you need time off for interviews when you are not off sick.

    Yes. If the school does not know how bad things have become for you, they cannot do anything about it.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  9. You can't be disciplined for taking time off if you have been signed off. Take the two weeks and see how you feel then. It may be that some of the worries you feel about being ignored are part of the general anxiety and depression. If you have medication, you may need the time off for it to begin to take effect.
  10. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    You need to consider your long term health. Consider going back to your GP and getting a Doctor's note. You may be suffering from anxiety and/or depression.

    Put yourself first and be kind to yourself.
    Sending you a virtual hug...
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The school can certainly discipline you if you are not ill but simply choosing not to go in.
    You should not be able to decide that you 'want' a sick note for 2 weeks.
    If you are too ill to be in work, you go to the doctor and they decide how long you will need to be off. It is their expert medical decision.

    You school can also discipline you for comments you write on here and similar places. Be very careful what you post.
  12. imaan86

    imaan86 New commenter

    Can I edit my posts?

    And I have palpitations thinking about work. Im not off for the sake of it.

    Missrv- I may take you up on that offer. Thanks :)

    Yoda- thank you :)

    Piranha - yes I regret not taking that time off (it would have actually been one week off as the half term coincided with the other week)

    I just realised that it is up to the Dr how much time off they consider reasonable. I have never taken a sick note before and assumed one or 2 weeks was standard.
    missRV and emerald52 like this.
  13. imaan86

    imaan86 New commenter

    I am suffering from those and made an appointment yesterday in which I saw a different gp than usual who was not helpful in the slightest. I couldn't even say how I felt in depth due to his attitude.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Not directly but if you click on the Report button that's along the bottom line of every post you as TES moderators to either remove it or edit it to remove identifying information.

    Or ask if they will remove the whole thread if you prefer.
    Yoda- likes this.
  15. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I suggest you write down how you feel before you see your GP. Unfortunately the Old Stiff Upper Lip can get in the way. You need to list all your symptoms and ensure they do the standard depression/anxiety test with you. Ask for councilling and state you need help.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  16. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Are you on medication for your anxiety / depression? It sounds like you're finding it hard to have a sense of proportion over these issues - the feeling of not being dealt with correctly by SLT and other colleagues ignoring you. Your anxiety might be changing your behaviour and colleagues may not want to get involved - it happens. If you were well you would be able to see this and deal with it much better. So deal with the anxiety with the doctor and it sounds as though that might mean getting another appointment. You are not well at the moment, push for counselling and any other help they can offer as @Yoda- said
    grumpydogwoman and Yoda- like this.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Absolutely agree with @lindenlea

    I suffer with depression at times and simply can't afford to mix with other people who're depressed. I know that sounds awful but I have to look after my own health.

    Most staff in schools are stressed out of their minds these days and they just may not have time for you or they may be like me and afraid of getting too close in case it lowers their own resilience.

    Please do as @Yoda- and @lindenlea have advised.

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