Grievance Meeting..................

As some of you already know, I went to a new job which went pear shaped on account of my employers not handling things properly within the remit of the DDA.

Well, I went to a grievance meeting with them today and my goodness did I fight my little corner with them! They have told me as far as they are concerned they made reasonable adjustments in view of the fact they were OK about me taking time off for hospital appointments! I was put into an all male environment which I was not comfortable with on the back of having a female illness and when I asked them if this had been considered I was told they could not understand why I had a problem with that as no-one needed to know I had BC. The lady who was supposed to be my manager attended and she had turned everything round to make me look bad (which my solicitor told me to expect). I quite calmly looked her in the eye and told her that was not my recollection of events and gave her my version. After an hour I told them I felt everything had been discussed and that the meeting was not actually achieving anything, so I will be interested to see their statement next week. Let’s just say I’m preparing myself for a bumpy ride, but I just don’t think employers should be allowed to get away with treating new staff who have been ill like dirt.

Hi Cherub

Sorry to hear about your work problems. I’m going to be joining you in terms of grievance as my work won’t let me come back part time as a phased return to work. I have a meeting with them in about 10 days time - not looking forward to it and I can imagine how horrible it is for you. Did you take anybody in with you? These employers have no idea and can sometimes just be so cold hearted it’s unbelievable. Anyway I completely agree that if you feel the strength to fight this then go for it. After all we’ve been through I believe this makes us stronger and more able to cope with more trivial things!!!

Best wishes
Ruby xx

Hi cherub and ruby,

So sorry that you also are having problems with your employers when returning to work.
I have recently been in an employment tribunal with my employer and am still awaiting the result.

I just wanted to send you some cyber (((HUGGGSSS))) .

I totally agree with you cherub that employers (both old and new) should not get away with treating people like this.
However I do think that maybe some employers are just plain ignorant about the DDA rules… but there is loads of information about this on the internet.

LOL to you both

Hi Lambkin and Cherub

Thanks for the support Lambkin - I’m kindda dreading this meeting but know I must do it. I did spell out to my employers that I come under the DDA. Sorry to hear that you’ve also been through it and wish you good luck with your results. I’d be very interested to hear the outcome.

Hugs to you too.

Ruby xxx

Hi Ruby,

I had the standard offer of taking in a union rep or former work colleague. However, as I had not been there very long I did not have time to really make any friends and I have never been in a union. My solicitor told me to ask them if I could take someone else in as some employers will allow this, but it is not a legal requirement and is discretionary. I had to go on my own as it was not their policy. I was told at the start of the meeting it was merely an informal discussion, but the HR representative put me under pressure the whole time by saying every 5 minutes that as far as they were concerned they had acted responsibly under the DDA, it was getting like a mantra and I’m ashamed to say I did raise my voice slightly a couple of times and she said “DO NOT raise your voice!” to me. I wasn’t shouting, my voice was just raised slightly as I was under pressure. The meeting started late as they kept me sitting in the corridor for 10 minutes. Apparently this is often what employers will try to do in order to put you on the back foot, but once again I was told to expect all this.

When I got back I typed up my account of events to email my solicitor with as the employer says they will not be sending out a statement until the middle of the week (it’s public sector so will probably have to go through about 5 other channels to get to the head of HR - the whole place was drowning in paperwork and bureaucracy as far as I could see). My solicitor told me to get back to him after I had attended with what happened. He has told me he deals with this type of case frequently and says it is usually the case that anything to do with the words cancer or disability means the employers want you to go away. In most of his previous cases he said they have just offered a compensatory settlement as they don’t want to drag it out. We have used this firm of solicitors for business purposes for about 4 years now and they have a very good reputation locally. However, I don’t know what I would do if they wanted to drag it to a tribunal, but my solicitor assures me it won’t get to that stage.

Hi Cherub

Your situation sounds horrible. The last thing you need is all this stress and no doubt this is what your employers are banking on and probably hoping you will give up. I was recently in a similar situation - nothing to do with BC, before dx but I had been serving out my notice and there was loads of tension because they were peeved I was leaving. for my final payment, they withheld a few hundred pounds saying it was because I had breached my contract (my son had been taken ill and I had to stay off and care for him - never been an issue before). They were clearly doing it as petty revenge. I was sorely tempted to let it go, but thought, no you horrible bullies, I will get what belongs to me. I got advice from my solicitor and got to the stage you were in. Any thoughts of backing down were diminished when I saw how they wanted to fight dirty, so I fought back, good and hard although this is not in my character to do so. They backed down because they could see I meant business. Its a tough call. On the one hand you want to walk away, but you will churn it round in your head if you know you are in the right. It just shows how many people must get trampled on because they are too scared to fight back. Go for it girl!


They know I have got a solicitor on board and the statement I submitted was prepared by him for me to sign - it had his reference on the paper and you get tell it was from a legal office because of the way it was typed. I asked my OH last night if he felt I was doing the right thing ( he is always very mindful of me putting myself under added stress), but he said “you are in it now, so you should keep going”. He was in a tribunal situation years ago with a company he had been a director of for 10 years. It was quite high profile as he was fighting for about 150k in bonuses which had been withheld from him, a barrister and QC were involved. His case collapsed on a legal technicality the night before it was due to be heard in London and him and his former employers had to sign confidentiality agreements. Although he never got anything, he was pleased it cost his boss thousands of pounds in legal fees as we were covered by an insurance policy we had. He just hates injustice and hates the way I was treated by this employer. I also turned down other interviews as I was taking this job and at the moment I am retraining as I don’t think I could cope with interviews now, so I want to work for myself.

Hi Cherub,
You fight your corner, Go on girl.
Best of Luck
Andrea x

I expected to get the statement from the employer today, but nothing. I suppose this will be the start of them stringing things out…

Hi Cherub

I’m really feeling for you and I’m going through something similar so can understand all the more.

Thinking of you

Ruby xx

Hi Cherub

Yes, I guess this is mind game time. You half expected this kind of strategy though, didn’t you? Haven’t they got a time limit in which to reply? If so, do nothing and wait and then throw the tribunal at them. They are hoping you wont have the stamina or the guts to do so. I am sure they dont want a tribunal but they are being very canny. Don’t let it get under your skin. It is business, not personal and go for it. I wish I could be with you to give you support because I hate this industrial bullying.


Hi Cherub

This information from the cancer backup site might help. It also gives some useful telephone numbers if you need more advice and support.

Hi Cherub,
You are inspirational! stand your ground…i work for a large NHS trust and HR tell me i have no rights to even attend hospital appointments, i work mornings, have to take annual leave for hospital , same trust but different site. also herceptin has been very stressful to arrange with healthcare at home in afternoons as i need periton ect…
A caring profession?? ive nursed for 22 years…hmmmmmmmmmmmmm


Hi Jill

Just read your post - I can’t believe how mean they are! I work for the NHS too and only started in November. i have treated brilliantly, given all the time off I need without any hassle. I guess it helps that my line manager is a professor who has been the most fantastic boss ever.



I work for the NHS too and asked my manager just over 3 weeks ago to look into me going back to work about June. find out about phased return, wages, annual leave entitlement but to date I haven’t heard a word so I am in limbo. I emailed her again yesterday to jog her memory but no acknowledgement up to now !

Liz xx

Can’t believe how some of you ladies have been treated. I wouldn’t wish harm to anyone but sometimes you think these employers need a reality check.
If anyone needs advice ACAS has a web site and help line no 08457 474747. You can also contact your local CAB they often have employment specialists who take things as far as tribunals, some even represent clients at tribunals. It’s a free confidential service. If they don’t have their own specialist they will often advice on local organisations that specialise in employment issues.
Good luck ladies
Caz x

Thanks Caz I did go to the CAB and have followed some of their advice. I have my work meeting next week and will see what happens from there.

Cherub - any news?

Ruby x

Nope, still nothing. I like to think they are making me an offer I can’t refuse…

Yes wishful thinking but no harm in thinking that way. It’s horrible waiting and wondering.

Good luck

Ruby x

to all,

Please bear in mind there are STRICT time limits for raising a claim at Employment Tribunal. You basically have 3 months less three days from the day you raise your grievance. Even if you are in the midst of grievance/disciplinary procedures, PLEASE ensure you get an ET1 submitted (you can do it online) in time. Employment Tribunals are “unfair” in that they often allow the employer extra time, but the claimant doesn’t get it. The rules are somewhat muddied for claims made relating to DDA, but it is best to follow the general rule - 3 months less 3 days.

Good on you all for pressing ahead with this - Don’t let them grind you down! Remember, ACAS or CAB are very good sources of information.
Sue xx