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Old 17-04-2009, 13:09
The Wizard
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Recently I got made redundant at work through ill health. I'd been off work with depression and after seeing the Occ Health nurse she decalred me unfit to return to work as she saw it as an ongoing issue. It wasn't quite redundancy in so much that we both came to the agreement that the job wasn't suitable so I took "mutual termination."

I was told by HR that I was welcome to apply for other jobs with the same company (local council) but before I could be considdered I'd have to return to Occ Health to get my all clear.

Last week I returned to Occ Health despite me not working for them now. I explained that even though I didn't work for the council anymore, I needed their doctor to say that I was ok in order to be able to return to the company and apply for future jobs. However the doctor refused to give me the all clear as I had refused to give them access to my mental health records. I told them that my records were private and that they didn't have a right to see them and she said that without access to those records and a report from my psychiatrist, she wouldn't be able to declare me fit to go back and work for the company. The reason I refused access to my records was because they had already decided to make me redundant before they even contacted my GP so I didn't see why they should have access to my records when they've just terminated my contract and I don't work there anymore.

Surely they can't do that. I have a right to refuse them access to my private medical records and they can't declare me unfit to return to work just because I refuse to share that information. That's like blackmail. That means 2 or 3 months down the line they can still hold this against me when it should all be forgotten. Surely I should be considdered as a fresh applicant and any previous records can't be held against me for an indeterminate length of time.
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Old 17-04-2009, 13:18
CABINET
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Sorry I disagree with you - without access to your medical records they can't possibly make a decision.

Are you expecting them just to "take your word for it" - you have already had to leave once through ill health why on earth should they take a gamble on you again if you aren't prepared to be cooperative.
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Old 17-04-2009, 13:19
DerekPAgain
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Recently I got made redundant at work through ill health. I'd been off work with depression and after seeing the Occ Health nurse she decalred me unfit to return to work as she saw it as an ongoing issue. It wasn't quite redundancy in so much that we both came to the agreement that the job wasn't suitable so I took "mutual termination."

I was told by HR that I was welcome to apply for other jobs with the same company (local council) but before I could be considdered I'd have to return to Occ Health to get my all clear.

Last week I returned to Occ Health despite me not working for them now. I explained that even though I didn't work for the council anymore, I needed their doctor to say that I was ok in order to be able to return to the company and apply for future jobs. However the doctor refused to give me the all clear as I had refused to give them access to my mental health records. I told them that my records were private and that they didn't have a right to see them and she said that without access to those records and a report from my psychiatrist, she wouldn't be able to declare me fit to go back and work for the company. The reason I refused access to my records was because they had already decided to make me redundant before they even contacted my GP so I didn't see why they should have access to my records when they've just terminated my contract and I don't work there anymore.

Surely they can't do that. I have a right to refuse them access to my private medical records and they can't declare me unfit to return to work just because I refuse to share that information. That's like blackmail. That means 2 or 3 months down the line they can still hold this against me when it should all be forgotten. Surely I should be considdered as a fresh applicant and any previous records can't be held against me for an indeterminate length of time.
To get a job with them you will need to have a medical ok - which will require you to release your records. They don't have to prove you unfit. You have to demonstrate you are fit.

They are only saving you time.

The only way it would be "forgotten" is if you have established you are fit to work. And to establish you are fit to work requires them to be aware of your mental health.
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Old 17-04-2009, 13:22
The Wizard
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To get a job with them you will need to have a medical ok - which will require you to release your records. They don't have to prove you unfit. You have to demonstrate you are fit.

They are only saving you time.

The only way it would be "forgotten" is if you have established you are fit to work. And to establish you are fit to work requires them to be aware of your mental health.
On my return visit to see the doctor I finally agreed that if that was the only thing that was stopping me from returning to work for them then they could have access to my medical records. However she said that seeing as I no longer worked for them anymore, they were not allowed to request them and I would need to request them myself which would incur a charge, which they would not be prepared to pay for seeing as I am no longer an employee. So basicly unless I pay for a letter myself from my GP to declare myself fit, it will remain on my record "forever" that I am not fit to return to the company. Can they do that? I wouldn't mind doing it if I thought I had a job offer on the table but not sure it's worth paying my Gp to write a letter when all I want to be able to do is apply for jobs without being turned down.
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Old 17-04-2009, 13:27
DerekPAgain
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On my return visit to see the doctor I finally agreed that if that was the only thing that was stopping me from returning to work for them then they could have access to my medical records. However she said that seeing as I no longer worked for them anymore, they were not allowed to request them and I would need to request them myself which would incur a charge, which they would not be prepared to pay for seeing as I am no longer an employee. So basicly unless I pay for a letter myself from my GP to declare myself fit, it will remain on my record "forever" that I am not fit to return to the company. Can they do that? I wouldn't mind doing it if I thought I had a job offer on the table but not sure it's worth paying my Gp to write a letter when all I want to be able to do is apply for jobs without being turned down.
Yes they can do that.

Some GPs charge for this some don't. They can't pay for it as you don't work for them.

You can't even get them to change it under data protection act as you will still have to show that the data they have is incorrect.

If you get a letter from your GP I'd get a generic "to whom it may concern" one - you may need it again.
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Old 17-04-2009, 13:27
stud u like
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Sadly mental health episodes haunt you forever.

It is best to give them access to your records. Otherwise,it will become increasingly more difficult to find work as you become stigmatised and branded as "difficult" and "un-co-operative".Far too many negatives.

There should not be this stigma in any modern social climate but the Social Exclusion Report detailed that stigma was one of the worst issues people with poor mental health face.

A good case argument could be that you have a right to work. Your work place should make allowances for your mental health and provide you with help and support. If they don't provide you with this,then they are neglecting their duties as employers and you could sue them.


This site explains things greater detail.
http://www.mentalhealthcare.org.uk/content/?id=201

You have a big fight on your hands and I wish you luck.
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Old 17-04-2009, 15:04
robinsbatman
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Can I be honest with you? I hope so. I'm going to tell you that you seem to want the tide to change direction according to which way you want to swim. It's not going to happen.

I've read your other threads re your employment & your health, & to be honest I get the impression that you think Occupational Health is working for the employer & not for you. It's actually in their interest, your interest & the employer's interest to ensure that you are fit enough for work before allowing you to do so - what's the point in starting a job you've convinced yourself you're well enough to do even if you're not, only to become ill again & end up with a poor start? They don't want you getting unwell any more than you do. For you to expect them to make a decision without access to your medical records is like expecting someone to fly a plane solo without accident with their eyes shut - it's extremely risky (to put it mildly), & no matter how sure they were of their capability would you want to be in the plane with them? No, thought not. I know that you have had a bad time & I realise that there are aspects of your health that you want to keep private, but I think you aren't thinking very clearly about this.

You had a lot of difficulties in your previous employment, which ultimately resulted in you being seen by Occupational Health & retired on medical grounds. That is not something that happens overnight - it takes months for that to happen, & it's not an easy decision for an employer to make. Prior to being medically retired, you felt your employers were being unfair to you, despite the fact that you've got a long history of illness going back several years, & you acknowledge that your ability to work had been affected by that. You then wanted to know about being "registered disabled", as you felt employers would treat you more fairly & people would believe you if that happened, despite the fact that you've not provided any evidence that you've been treated unfairly or would have been treated any differently with the label "disabled". More than one person here offered you advice on where/how to check you were getting all the benefits you were entitled to, & also advised you to get well before thinking about full-time permanent work again, especially as you're a carer for your partner & your health affects your ability to do that.

Now you've refused Occupational Health permission to get access to your medical records, & you're not sure it's worth paying your GP to provide a letter stating your level of fitness when all you "want to be able to do is apply for jobs without being turned down". No-one has that guarantee - loads of people would love to have that! You want to be able to apply on an equal footing with other applicants, & to do that your level of fitness has to be assessed, just like every other applicant's fitness has to be. If you were "disabled" you'd still have no guarantee of being short-listed, never mind of getting the job, & I get the impression that if you don't get a job you'd blame it on people discriminating against you or not believing you which may well not be the case at all. It's most definitely worth getting this letter even if you have to pay for it, but you have to realise that it won't guarantee you a job, it won't even guarantee you short-listing. If you won't get this letter & take your chances alongside every other applicant, then you'll have to accept that you can't work for the council, & will have to apply elsewhere. Occupational Health can't pretend you don't have a history with them, so as long as you keep trying to work there, you're going to keep butting heads with them until you can show something that indicates you're fit enough to work. Remember, they're not going to be looking at you on the grounds of whether you're fit to "return" to work as you don't work there any more, they're going to be looking at you on the grounds of whether you're fit enough to do a new job that you may have applied for. Allowing access to your medical records or getting a letter from your GP would possibly provide you with a fresh start, but it might equally confirm that you're not ready for work just yet. That could be a fair comment to make, given that you've only recently been medically retired.

I don't understand why you're so determined to work for them anyway. I know you're struggling financially, but if you're that determined to work, why not just apply somewhere else & try to start afresh? I don't think you're thinking this through properly, & you could be making things even more difficult for yourself than they are already. Regardless of all that, I wish you well.
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Old 17-04-2009, 15:50
The Wizard
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Yes I realise I've made some mistakes. Mainly due to my health but I agree I've been stupid. But I think it's mad that they can make a decision that I'm unfit to work unless I can prove that I am.

That's like saying your guilty until proven innocent just cos you had a past history of something. When a new candidate applies for a job they go for a medical and they make their decision on what they write on the form. Yet because I've worked for them previously they're holding my past against me. If I apply for another job I believe I should be considered fairly the same as everyone else and not have stuff dragged up from the past when I'm ok now.

What I mean is, they'll take the word of a brand new employee who may lie through their teeth yet just because I have a history of being ill they seem to think they have a right to hold it against me until I prove myself to be fit. Yet it's quite possible that there may be successful applicants alot worse than me with no track history.

I would be happy enough to get proof providing I have a job offer but to expect me to get evidence before I'm allowed to be even considered or allowed to apply for a job just seems crazy. What if I go to the trouble paying my GP to write a report then they don't offer me the job? I'd be just as well going and applying for a different company that doesn't know anything about me. One thing I've learned is not to tell the truth on medicals now. All it does is go against you. I might be ok now but I don't want my illness following me round everywhere I work. I need to start a fresh and put it behind me.
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Old 17-04-2009, 16:10
CABINET
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I'm afraid that I think your whole attitude to this shows that, just maybe, you are not as recovered as you think you are.

If you were an employer would you consider yourself worth taking a risk for? Especially since you don't want to provide any evidence of your recovery.
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Old 17-04-2009, 16:26
Magic8Ball
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Surely I should be considdered as a fresh applicant and any previous records can't be held against me for an indeterminate length of time.
While I can understand your desire to get back onto the local council gravy-train, I think the only way you can be considered as a fresh applicant with no previous record being held against you is to apply for non-council jobs.

It's not just a council thing, anyone applying to work for a company they have previously worked for will have to deal with the fact that their prospective employer knows a lot more about them than a fresh applicant. This can work in your favour, but also can work against you.

You might want to consider applying for jobs elsewhere.

I reckon you were scammed into the 'mutual termination' rather than 'redundancy' deal though.
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Old 17-04-2009, 17:11
robinsbatman
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Firstly, here you're saying that you finished work by way of "mutual termination", but in this thread you said "I have even been retired from work due to having time off with anxiety/depression". I'm a bit confused.

Secondly, according to the same thread your clinical depression has been an issue for over 10 years. You've also had other problems (health & personal ones) to deal with that you've put in that thread. Whether you've been medically retired or mutually terminated, no employer is going to take you back when you've only recently left because of health problems, they're really not. It just wouldn't make sense.

As for fresh applicants who don't declare previous health problems, please don't be under any illusions that someone with your history would get away with keeping that to themselves. These things have a way of coming out, & if someone did start a job & then went off sick with a condition they had prior to starting employment but didn't declare, it's very likely to be discovered. They might not only be sacked for gross misconduct or breach of contract depending on the circumstances, that information could be declared in a reference request, because past employers can state things on references that aren't necessarily nice as long as they are factually correct & can be proven to be so.

You were lucky in that you worked for a council, who as a large employer had an Occupational Health department & a decent sick pay policy in place. However your employment ended, it has ended. In your shoes, I would be taking at least six months away from permanent work, & would only be doing temping or part-time work if I worked at all. You think you are better, but your sickness history makes me think otherwise. Your reluctance to either give Occupational Health access to your medical records or get the letter from your GP without a guarantee of a job, & the fact that you can't see what you want is an unreasonable expectation of an employer who already knows something about you, speaks volumes. I'm sorry, but you wouldn't want people to give you false hope, & I think you're taking the council's statement that you were welcome to re-apply for a job there far too literally & taking them up on that far too soon. They didn't make you a job offer then, & they won't make one now or at any time in the immediate future without feeling sure that you're fit for work.
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Old 17-04-2009, 17:39
eunicelouise658
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I think you need to spend time getting yourself better and not trying to rush back into work only to quickly relapse. The fact you do not want Occ health to access the records but expect them just to take your word on the recovery is naive. A long history of depressive illness does not disappear overnight. Wouldn't you be better looking for work in the voluntary sector? I work for Mind and I know a mental health history would not be a barrier but they also use Occ health.
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Old 17-04-2009, 18:04
Sigurd
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Firstly, here you're saying that you finished work by way of "mutual termination", but in this thread you said "I have even been retired from work due to having time off with anxiety/depression". I'm a bit confused...
The title of one of The Wizard's earlier threads was Occupational Health Got Me Fired. That doesn't sound much like "mutual termination" to me.
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Old 17-04-2009, 18:04
The Wizard
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Firstly, here you're saying that you finished work by way of "mutual termination", but in this thread you said "I have even been retired from work due to having time off with anxiety/depression". I'm a bit confused.

Secondly, according to the same thread your clinical depression has been an issue for over 10 years. You've also had other problems (health & personal ones) to deal with that you've put in that thread. Whether you've been medically retired or mutually terminated, no employer is going to take you back when you've only recently left, they're really not. It just wouldn't make sense to re-employ someone so soon after they've left because of ill-health. I've had a lot of health problems over the last few years (physical, not mental health) & I know full well that if I was to leave, I would be daft to re-apply there in the immediate future, because my health record could well go against me compared to someone else even if my experience gave me an advantage.

As for fresh applicants who don't declare previous health problems, please don't be under any illusions that someone with your history would get away with keeping that to themselves. These things have a way of coming out, & if someone did start a job & then went off sick with a condition they had prior to starting employment but didn't declare, it's very likely to be discovered. They might not only be sacked for gross misconduct or breach of contract depending on the circumstances, that information could be declared in a reference request, because past employers can state things on references that aren't necessarily nice as long as they are factually correct & can be proven to be so.

You were lucky in that you worked for a council, who as a large employer had an Occupational Health department & a decent sick pay policy in place. However your employment ended, it has ended. In your shoes, I would be taking at least six months away from permanent work, & would only be doing temping or part-time work if I worked at all. You think you are better, but your sickness history makes me think otherwise. Your reluctance to either give Occupational Health access to your medical records or get the letter from your GP without a guarantee of a job, & the fact that you can't see what you want is an unreasonable expectation of an employer who already knows something about you, speaks volumes. I'm sorry, but you wouldn't want people to give you false hope, & I think you're taking the council's statement that you were welcome to re-apply for a job there far too literally & taking them up on that far too soon. They didn't make you a job offer then, & they won't make one now or at any time in the immediate future without feeling sure that you're fit for work.
Basicly I was mutually terminated after Occ Health sent a report to my employer after having 2 weeks off with depression. I thought this was a bit harsh for just having 2 weeks off but Occ Health said I was not fit to return due to my condition being possibly ongoing.

I think they wanted to play things carefully so not to get tangled up in legislation relating to an unfair dismissal. In reality they had no work on and they had been struggling to find anything for me to do for weeks. The job was going nowhere. We agreed that the job wasn't suitable for either of us but I think they used my time off to flush me out cos in reality there wasn't any work for me. As I was permanent they would have had trouble getting shot of me on those grounds alone so I think they used my illness as the perfect opportunity to push me out. That way they could put the blame on me save admitting responsibility for the job going belly-up. I agree that the job sucked and I'm glad in some ways I'm not there anymore but I would have liked the opportunity to get back with another department without something like this hanging over me forever. I just think that because I agreed to go see Occ Health they used that to sieve out unwanted staff in a job that was going nowhere. Partly my fault, partly theirs. That's why they went down the route of Mutual Termination.
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Old 17-04-2009, 18:42
robinsbatman
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Basicly I was mutually terminated after Occ Health sent a report to my employer after having 2 weeks off with depression. I thought this was a bit harsh for just having 2 weeks off but Occ Health said I was not fit to return due to my condition being possibly ongoing.

I think they wanted to play things carefully so not to get tangled up in legislation relating to an unfair dismissal. In reality they had no work on and they had been struggling to find anything for me to do for weeks. The job was going nowhere. We agreed that the job wasn't suitable for either of us but I think they used my time off to flush me out cos in reality there wasn't any work for me. As I was permanent they would have had trouble getting shot of me on those grounds alone so I think they used my illness as the perfect opportunity to push me out. That way they could put the blame on me save admitting responsibility for the job going belly-up. I agree that the job sucked and I'm glad in some ways I'm not there anymore but I would have liked the opportunity to get back with another department without something like this hanging over me forever. I just think that because I agreed to go see Occ Health they used that to sieve out unwanted staff in a job that was going nowhere. Partly my fault, partly theirs. That's why they went down the route of Mutual Termination.
But what were they supposed to do? Your expectations of them & what they felt they could do given the circumstances are two different things. I know it's hard for you to be impartial, but I think the reality of it is that you had a 10-year history of depression plus other problems, & when your depression resurfaced so soon into your employment they weren't sure whether you'd be able to cope with the job long-term. Your own comments about the job, plus the Occ Health review of your health, resulted in the decision to end your employment. You can't compare yourself to the social worker you mentioned in another thread who was off sick for two months but was allowed back to work. They may well have been doing their job a lot longer than you, may have had to deal with specific stressors in their job to do with their caseload that meant they weren't fit for work at that point but would have been by the end of the two months they had off, & they may also not have had your health history preceding that two months of illness anyway.

Employers have to be fair to their employees, but they also have to be fair to themselves. You view what happened as them using the info they had about you against you. I see it as them deciding to let you go, for the good of a person who'd repeatedly said the job was boring & complained about not having enough work to do (not a good move for anyone new in a job) & said the job was making them ill. If I was an employer & found myself in the same situation, I'd legally get rid of someone who had such a history & who I thought might cost me a bomb further down the line if they were saying the job was making them ill. Why would they do otherwise, when the longer you stayed the more chance there was of you becoming sick or sicker? You're bound to see it differently especially when money is an issue for you, but an employer can't keep you on just because you need the money - they need someone to do the job.

They gave you a chance at the job & it didn't work out. Maybe you'd still be there if you hadn't got ill, maybe you'd have left out of boredom or because you'd found something else, maybe they'd have made you redundant anyway when they realised there really wasn't enough work for you to do. You'll never know, & picking at the carcass of that isn't going to help you now. If you had refused to see Occ Health, you could have ended up out of work without the two weeks pay, so as annoyed as you might be about how things turned out refusing to see them isn't a decision I'd make in future if I were you. I still don't understand your determination to work there, & I suspect it's to do with either "righting a wrong" or because of the belief that council jobs (like NHS ones) are secure, have loads of benefits & are hard to lose. Not in this climate they're not. You need to let this go & move on, & trying to get another job there so soon isn't the way to go about it.
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