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TOPIC: Bullied out of job & ESA

Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59640

I haven't posted on here before, so sorry if I get something wrong, or this has already been covered (I did try searching, but...).
I suffer from recurrent depression but, despite one hospitalisation, had always held down my job without any particular adjustments or sick leave - just had to be careful about stress levels/extra hours. About 4yrs ago my Equal Ops form was leaked & a bullying campaign started. When it reached the level where I was contemplating suicide at the thought of working shifts with the individual in question I reported it - my biggest mistake as then management joined in (to extent my union are talking about taking it forward as a Human Rights issue). The 'strategy' has been to aim to keep me in post because of the recession and having a mortgage to pay.
Situation has now led to 2 suicide attempts (& regularly having to stay in a crisis house for safety) - something that had never happened before in my life. I've kept dragging myself back in there with promises from managers to sort things out, they've promised Occ Health to do things & then haven't; I cry my way in. Last time I bumped into one of bullying team in corridor a colleague spent the next 2 hours sitting with me telling me repeatedly I was safe whilst I shook/sweated/cried. I somehow put a professional face on at work, but effort now leaves me incapable at home (last cooked a meal 6mths ago, & left pan on after! Cups of tea end up reheated about 4 times before remember to drink them)
Each time I've gone back I've said to Occ Health/union I feel like I'm running on empty & it drains more energy away. I dissociate/have flashbacks in one of my employers buildings where a particular event happened.
I've just been off sick for 2 weeks with chest infection, & just phoning work to say when I'd be back had me shaking.
It now feels like I'm 'broken', that I've nowhere else to dredge any energy up from to walk back in. I feel as if the only way I'm going to survive, let alone regain any health, is to walk away.

So....ESA question. I'm really worried that because e.g. I've been doing complex things in workplace, that I can get from A->B on a bus (with multiple distraction techniques, can still end up crying, but do get from A->B alone), although all at a cost (did 1/2hr presentation last week then slept for 24hrs), I'll get declared fit. Or that I'll get labelled as having voluntarily left work. Having read the book on here, wonder if might be exceptional circumstances, but could DWP try and claim it's just that employer & I could walk straight back into a different one?(if there were jobs - which there aren't in my profession at the moment).
I think I've also absorbed some of the 'benefit scrounger' press & wonder if that's what I'd be being if I 'choose' to leave my job.

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Re:Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59666

Hi Snowy_owl

I'm very sorry to hear of your problems.

On the face of it the DWP could argue that you are fit for work because you can get from A to B and carry out tasks in the workplace, but a deeper analysis of your situation clearly paints a very different picture.

I think it is important that you have a chat with your GP and explain in detail problems you have been having so that he/she is informed and able to give supporting evidence should you claim ESA.

The term left work 'voluntary' is very ambiguous. It basically means that an employer was not sacked, but does not indicate that health or mental stress was not a factor in having to leave.

Exceptional circumstances is also a claim you could make if you feel after reading the guides that it applies to you.

And please don't take any notice of the the press says about benefit claimants as they don't even understand what the WRAG is.

Good luck

Derek

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Re:Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59675

I can relate to this issue of bullying in the workplace.
I had to stop working in 1999 after an campaign of harrassment was started against me.

I can do most things even though I have MS and feel when it comes time for my transfer from IB to ESA I'll have very little ground to score enough points to get onto the support group.

I have been thinking about maybe trying to find a job at the new Tesco store that has opened in town, imagine my horror when I found out one of my ex bully's is one of the managers there.

It's when you find out your health & mental state is very delicately balanced.

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Re:Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59681

Sadly I left work after longterm depression caused by my working conditions. I took all my SSP and contractual sick pay, then transferred to ESA while still employed. I felt bad about doing this but didn't feel I had any alternative. Eventually I took early retirement on grounds of ill health, got tier 3. so £25 a month!

Have remained in WRAG with 2 assessments, but they were before the descriptor changes.

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Re:Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59719

  • peterjclive
hi snowy owl the next thing you need to do is tell your GP of your sittuation at work and get a note from him or her stating you are off work because of stress and depression caused by your work situation then ask your union to help you through all issues you have raised with your company I worked in employment law for over 20years and if you need help I will help you peter

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Re:Bullied out of job & ESA 6 years 4 months ago #59731

Thanks for the advice. (& peterjclive the offer - guess there's been so much in 4yrs I need to get issues v straight in my head)
My GP has stayed v clear about the problem is, despite the length of time its now gone on. & also regularly offers to sign me off (but employer has stated to Occ Health (so OH consultant tells me), when asking the consultant to change his report, that if he wouldn't do it she'd find another way to get rid of me, & so any sickness record would play into her hands).
However, if things needed to be more complicated, I have been seen by a consultant psychiatrist. He only met me c.2yrs into saga, but has given me a diagnosis based on symptoms having been lifelong (!), admits I don't meet the criteria for the diagnosis but said "if we waited for people to meet the criteria some people would never get a label" and also "do you realise how difficult it would be for me to criticise my own employer" (yep, sorry, I'm NHS). GP's response to report was "that's bonkers" (she's v honest!), but I suspect DWP would give more weight to the consultant despite his conflict of interest?

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