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Work injury leading to absence....Dismissed?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by twinkleystar, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. <font size="2">Hi, </font><font size="2">I hope I have posted in the right place. I have a major dilemma and I don't know what to do for the best. </font><font size="2">In 2007 as an NQT I sustained a back injury from an accident at work helping a boy with disabilities. As I was an NQT I didn't want to rock the boat or cause bad feeling so I didn't pursue this in compensation ways. I felt like I was in a job I was planning on staying long term. At the time I felt what I did would have been everyone's natural reaction in that situation not knowing the knock on effect years later or just how bad the injury was. I didn't have too much time off and over time I felt it was ok apart from the odd pain but I had massages regularly and didn't feel it was a major issue. I managed to work in KS2 without it causing any issue. I was prescribed painkillers at the time and didn't have a scan so I thought it was ok.</font><font size="2">Then last year I was moved into a challenging KS1 class and I did say at the time that the weakness in my back was a concern with the lower levels yepetc. Almost immediately I was ill, collapsing, exhausted and just a mess. I was under the doctor tested for various things and work related stress but at the time it wasn't picked up that it was coming from my back. I had tensed up so wasn't breathing and my hair was falling out. I was rock bottom and it wasn't until I had an appointment with a counsellor regarding breathing that she picked up on my tense posture and asked if I had a bad back. I was then sent for an MRI scan which showed a prolapsed disc and a tear that was leaking onto my sciatic nerve. The constant bending on lower levels had caused the disc to tear and aggravate it. I did try and work but after a meeting with Occ Health he said I could be making it worse and didn't want to end up in a wheel chair and I was finding the basic of tasks such an ordeal never mind teaching pe and fastening shoe laces.</font><font size="2">Since I have been off work I have had various treatment's from physio to injections and various kinds of medication but because these have not worked they are going to have to go down the more invasive route of treatment as the disc is causing bigger problems than they first thought.</font><font size="2">I have an attendance meeting with my union rep after half term and although my treatment hasn't ended my doctor has said he will allow me to be phased back to work as long as suitable adjustments are put in place. However my union rep is concerned by the timing of the meeting it will mean dismissal from my role as in the future I may need more time off if it does go down the surgery route- this is not definite.</font><font size="2">My main concern is should I resign due to health reasons before I am dismissed as I don't want this to end my career. I want to be employable as my specialist has said that with time my back will get better! But would dismissal look really bad for future applications? I have always wanted to teach and can't imagine doing anything else so much so I am willing to go back into the same situation still in constant pain. I have significantly improved since my absence especially my movement. Occ Health has informed me that it would not be possible to be moved year groups so I would be working with smaller children for the foreseeable future despite medical advice saying it would be beneficial to work with older children who are more independent with higher level furniture etc until my back is better.</font><font size="2">I have been off work since June and have tried everything recommended to speed up the process of going back to work and I just feel rock bottom. I haven't had much contact from my colleagues and this has been tough from a job I gave everything to and all the hours I put into work outside of the working day like most people and especially as it was from an accident caused at work. I understand completely that they need a fit teacher in the classroom but I feel like I am on the scrap heap in my twenties. I know the school has a duty of care to staff but I just feel like their negligence has put my whole life on hold.</font><font size="2">Sadly my motivation has been to get better to get back to work while the bigger issue is that my whole life and social existence has been put on hold.</font><font size="2">I think my main question is what would you do in my situation? Would you resign before I am dismissed? I just don't want it to reflect badly on applications. My GP did say he would provide me with a letter for future to explain absence reason.</font><font size="2">Thanks in advance x</font>
  2. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    You really need to get specialist advice. You could have a claim for constructive dismissal as they are ignoring medical advice. At the very least you want a reference agreed before you leave.
  3. Do not follow advice from your union. Get a solicitor who specialises in employment law. I have been screwed over by advice from unions and my friends have in the past because they dont want to rock the boat with education authorities believe it or not.
    As for compensation you are never out of time if cause can be found that you were mis diagnosed and given incorrect advice which i believe you were
    Good luck
    Andy x
  4. Thank you! I have found local employment law solicitors so I will ring them on Monday. I did speak to a solicitor linked to the union but nothing taken any further because of the time lapse. I think it would be good to get advice away from my union as like you say they don't want to rock the boat but it would be good for them to see the bigger picture.
    Thank you all for your support x
  5. I would like to thank everyone for their support and advice. It has helped me a great deal. I was just wondering has anyone moved onto phase 2 of absence procedure and not actually been dismissed due to health grounds? I am imagining worse case scenario but feels like it could be likely as may need future treatment.
    Thanks x
  6. I sympathise with your position. To answer your question - the school does have to abide by published procedures (usually adopted from your LA) that specify what is usually termed "the management of attendance". A teacher who is medically unable to teach cannot expect to remain in post indefinitely, and the procedures should specify what should happen - usually a sequence of review meetings that incorporate input from LA HR, occ health - and of course, representation from your union. As this is a complex matter do insist on union support from your county/city or regional office: school reps are rarely sufficiently trained to deal with what is a complex issue in employment law,
  7. Thank you for your reply. I have the regional union rep with me. What will be will be I guess! Just need to concentrate on getting fixed!

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