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  1. #1
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    Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Hi All,

    As some of you already know my Doc has signed me off work, I went back to see her yesterday and she has signed me off for a further week. My first sick line from the Doc did not have the true reason why I was off on it, the reason for this was that I did not want everyone at work knowing, only those I trusted to tell. However within 24 hours of being signed off, I got a phone call to go and see my boss as he didn't believe why I was off. As I'm sure some of you can imagine, I was in no fit state to go anywhere, so I called a more senior collegue who knows what is happening and she went to see my boss for me. After she had spoken to him, she called me and told me that everything was fine and to concentrate on getting better.

    Yesterday when I got signed off for a further week, I had no option but to go into work and tell them. As soon as I walked through the door my boss got me and ordered me to his office. Where he then started having a real go at me about how much trouble I had caused by not telling him straight away, he then asked me why I hadn't told him and I tried to explain how upset I get and that I couldn't even think straight, but that was not good enough for him. He also told me that I wasn't helping my self because I had been in work during the night, one night at the start of the week, I told him that I had gone into work because I could not sleep and at least in work I would not be sat on my own, (where I work is operational 24 hours a day 7 days a week). By this point I was very upset and he then went on to say that I should not be out and about (during the day) staff had seen me and told him. So I asked him if I was meant to stay indoors getting worse instead of better to which he did not reply. He then told me that he wants a letter from my Doc explaining what type of depression I have etc, does anyone know is he legally entitled to that, or is a Doctor's sick line enough?

    I now feel just as bad as I did last week, after I had made slight progress before I saw my boss. The man is totally insensitive and has made me feel worthless and guilty, because I am not well. Surely no one should have the right to do that? I just feel so low and desperate for a way out.

    I am now on a waiting list for therapy.

    Please help me, I just don't know where to turn next.

  2. #2
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    Re: Signed Off Work Right or Wrong???

    I'm not sure what part of the world you live in, Floating, but I can tell you that in most areas that is bordering on harassment.

    He most certainly does NOT have a right to details about your illness. He's not a physician. That's precisely why employers require documentation from physicians and psychologists, since the employer or manager is obviously not in a position to judge how serious a condition is or the degree of impairment of one's ability to continue with normal work duties. That is also personal, private, and confidential information. If you are on disability, the insurance carrier may be entitled to some details as to diagnosis and limitations (with your signed authorization) and similarly in some cases Human Resources may require certain information (again with your signed authorization) if the employee is trying to arrange modified duties. Your boss doesn't need to anyhing more than that you are on medical leave and some estimate of anticpated return date if that is known.

    He also does NOT have a right to tell you to stay indoors. There are many physical as well as psychological conditions where your doctor may expressly encourage you to walk or otherwise engage in activities outside your home. That is none of his business and you do not owe him anything in the way of an explanation or justification.

    Even his phone call to you after receiving the medical note where he demanded to know "what was wrong with you" was an invasion of privacy. In similar cases, I have advised clients to simply not answer the phone and to communicate with the employer only in writing and/or through the doctors. If you have call display, don't answer the phone when he calls; let him leave a message and then you can decide how you want to respond to it.

    Basically, I am suggesting you have rights that he is effectively trying to take away with his bullying. Stand your ground.

    That said, it is a bad idea on many levels for you to attempt to go into work at all while you are on medical leave. In a way, that suggests that your doctor is "lying" in the medical leave statement. It may also invalidate any disability or long-term medical plan that you have.

  3. #3
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    Re: Signed Off Work Right or Wrong???

    He then told me that he wants a letter from my Doc explaining what type of depression I have etc, does anyone know is he legally entitled to that, or is a Doctor's sick line enough?
    Floating: i don't know about over where u are, but over here, the sick note does not have to outline the severity of any illness, just that u have one and cannot work for whatever Duration. I can't see that anyone would have a legal right to demand a letter from a doc outling your illness. But as i say maybe over there it's
    diff.

    The man is totally insensitive
    you're right when u say this, from what i read above... HE has a problem, do not take his outbursts ect to heart, leave them where they really belong.. with HIM. You are coverd already by your doc's sick note and if he not satisified... then it's his prob, not yours.

    I glad to hear you are on waiting list for therapy.. i hope you won't be waiting too long. meanwhile keep us up to date on how u are doing ok.

    oh one other thing , you mention a senior collegue that you know and it sounds lke she understands where you're at. if you have to contact work again, go thru her again, save u having to listen to an insensitive boss.

    You are not worthless, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. let whatever he said to you go over your head, like i said earlier, It's his prob not yours.

    thinking of you

    nsa




  4. #4
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Hes a bully, and has no right to do any of this to you, i would try and ignore him, I know its hard, but hes not worth it, get yourself better, here in the UK only the DSS that pay state sick pay can ask for more details from your DR, they usually write to you first with forms to fill in first and telling you they will be contacting your GP for more information, Im not sure about private health care here, having never had it, when I have been at work a sick note is all that is needed, its says a little about whats wrong and how long you will be off work, thats all an employer needs to know, take care,, TTE

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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Hello,

    Thanks you all for your replies, I am within the British Isles but not part of the UK, one of those odd ones I know! I know the Social Security who pay our sick pay have the right to gain more information from my Doc with my authorisation, and I can understand that.

    I am going to contact the Commerce and Employment Department, (they are a bit like Citizens Advice but for employees and employers) perhaps on Monday and see what they can tell me.

    Now I am trying to focus on myself, as I think is clear my boss doesn't care, but I have been told that he may not be with us for much longer, as he is not doing the job properly and does not care about the staff or the buisness.

    Many thanks again.

  6. #6
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    I have just spoken to my senoir collegue, and she has told me what the boss has said to another member of management...Which is he knew that I was on the verge of a breakdown and all he wanted to do was have a "chat" with me and tell me everything would be okay! I am now starting to wonder if he may need help of some kind or if he is just an insensitive compulsive lier. He also said that it was all the fault of my senior collegue, (the one who has been most supportive to me) that I am depressed and have now been signed off!

    Is it just me or is my boss completely out of order?

  7. #7
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    1. your boss is definitely out of order

    2. your boss sounds like he knows he's on the carpet and is desperate for a spin that may save his job

  8. #8
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Hi Floating,

    I only have one thing to say...Your boss sounds like a real JERK!! I hope that you stay strong and move past this/him.

    Take Care
    Nancy

  9. #9
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Floating-- I would do a search on the internet to find out what the laws are regarding your employers right to know. Here in the states, only certain people are entitled to have medical information about you, unless you so choose to disclose it to them. It's none of anyone's business. It seems to me that maybe he doesn't want to pay you the "disability" from the company. I worked for an employer here in the US that did nearly the same thing. I had to take time off from work while pregnant b/c I couldn't deal with all the stress :red: and I had some legal issues going on with the assault case, so it just got to be too much. My doctor let me off work for several months! I happened to be entitled to disability through my employer. They made it nearly impossible to get the disability, but I jumped through all their hoops and let me tell you, they paid through the nose! Dr. B's right. Your employer's behavior DOES borderline on harrassment, as well as discriminatory. I'd look into my rights and look into the employer's rights. Then, I'd politely remind him what his are!
    --Poohbear

  10. #10
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    Re: Signed off work: Employer's right to information

    Thank you David, Nancy and Poohbear for all your helpful words of advice and encouragement.
    Quote Originally Posted by poohbear
    I would do a search on the internet to find out what the laws are regarding your employers right to know.
    I did have a look on the net about this, however I did not get very much information. Where I live we have an independent Government. So some of our laws are very different and our Commerce and Employment website did not really give specific information. I have decided that I will try to contact Commerce and Employment tomorrow to find out where I stand. The last thing I want is to cause hassle for myself!

    Thanks Again

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