Help Please, HR Nightmare

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Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby AryaStark » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:59 pm

Hi everyone,

Ok so I wasn't sure whether to post this or not. Mainly because if the people who interviewed me are on here they will probably know who I am and for obvious reasons I would rather remain anonymous.
*Deep breath*
So after months and months of applications I landed a couple of AP interviews, one of which lead to an AP job offer. Obviously I was over the moon, it was my 'dream' department to work in and I was so so happy. DBS came back absolutely fine, filled out all occy health forms (never heard back from them) and chased references. After about a week all my references were back and all past employers were very nice, wrote lovely things and wished me the best of luck in my new position. (This made me really, really appreciate my previous manager!). Then silence from the new Trust's HR for days followed by an email stating that the job offer has been withdrawn due to my sickness record not matching up with their trust's policy.
I was really upset as you can imagine and completely shocked as I do not have a bad sickness record in any of my previous positions. I replied to HR asking what information was given to them and how I fell short of whatever thresholds they set. No response.
I spoke to my previous manager about this who was also completely shocked and told me exactly what she had put on my reference. This was very very little sickness in both instances and length. She explained that it was well below my previous trust's policy and that she was shocked that any trust would have a sickness policy that my record would be in breach of.
After the new Trust refusing to respond to my requests I spoke to external government advisers about this (ICO etc.) who said I could request my sickness reports from them as well as their policy. I sent all of this off to the new Trust who then finally replied to me. They have requested I fill in one of their forms and come to the Trust in person with ID in order to request this information. The problem I have here is that I don't live locally and have already spent a lot of money going in for the interview and ID checking appointments etc. So, do I go and persue this matter further to 'clear my name' or not?

I understand that the job won't be there anymore and after all of this I would feel incredibly awkward if I was placed in it! I just feel that this is really unjust after working so hard to get the post and not actually doing anything wrong. I'm unsure whether this was just an excuse to get rid of me as a candidate or whether they found something on my application they really didn't like. My confidence has been majorly hit and I'm not sure what to do. I feel like I won't be able to apply for this trust anymore for fear of the same thing happening again.

I'm really sorry for the ramble! I'm just a bit of a mess right now to say the least :( . Not sure what I'm looking for, just any advice on how to move on probably as I'm scared this will affect my confidence in any future interviews. Not to mention not being able to 'enjoy' a job offer again. Thank you in advance!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby Esuma » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:46 pm

I'm so sorry that this happened to you - it sounds absolutely awful I can't even imagine the disappointment after finally bagging a dream role :( I don't have any useful advice aside from look after yourself and try to remember you were awesome enough to stand out amongst hundreds of applicants and the other interviewees - you will do that again!!
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby alexh » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:40 pm

I think I'd want to know and would make the trip. Honestly sounds dodgy to me if you have minimal sickness. Sounds like they are putting a lot of obstacles in your way, why?

Are you in a Union?
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby AryaStark » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:05 pm

Thank you both.
Yes I don't understand it at all and do not understand why they are putting obstacles in my way. From what I've read online when an employers asks occy health questions and for sickness records they are meant to use it to make any reasonable adjustments not just use it against you. But thats even if I had a poor sickness record, we're really talking a couple of days off due to physical illness. Not part of a union I'm afraid as I left my previous job (moved away), had interviews and then 'got' this one so now I'm unemployed.
My concern with continuing to chase it is further annoying the trust with which I doubt I'll ever be employed with anyway. Mainly worried that it'll result in this 'never ending' thing where I will just be constantly chasing them and will have to do lots of trips. Also, I would have to complete a subject access request for my sickness records and this would involve them getting permission from previous employers to show me their reference. Obviously I would rather not annoy my previous employers and I'm scared that by doing this I would :( . I will need their references again whenever a new job arises.
I find it dodgy myself that I need to get all 'legal' and demand the information from them when they could have simply said (if we accept this as the truth) 'you have X sickness which is 2 below our Y policy'. So I think maybe they found an internal applicant or someone in another AP post wanted to stay on and it was just easier to get rid of me.
Obviously this is all speculation and I'm doing my best not to think about it too much. Just upset and angry at the whole situation and not sure how much energy to pour in to chasing it.
Any advice or guidance is appreciated. Really lost! :( :?
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
-Max Ehrmann,"Desiderata"
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby Charlie » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:57 pm

What a horrible situation. Could you call one of the people who interviewed you and offered you the job. Maybe explain the situation from your side and that you would really like to understand the problem so you can address it for future applications. I say this because HR are obviously going to be procedural, whereas if you speak to the interviewers (the ones who wanted you for the post in the first place) they might be more helpful.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby Butterfly » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:20 pm

Charlie wrote:What a horrible situation. Could you call one of the people who interviewed you and offered you the job. Maybe explain the situation from your side and that you would really like to understand the problem so you can address it for future applications. I say this because HR are obviously going to be procedural, whereas if you speak to the interviewers (the ones who wanted you for the post in the first place) they might be more helpful.



I am really sorry for your experience. I have changed a few jobs and I have not come across somethings like that before. Tbh I think I would still want to know. In some ways it is also to know if there is something that may pose a problem again in the future in any other job you go too... I do however know a friend who is nurse and had a similar experience. She followed it and found what the problem was. I think she is now working in the same trust, but in a different hospital. I don't think trying to find out is inappropriate and should not stop you getting another job there. Whether you still want to be there, this is another issue. I think that the advice quoted is good. I would probably do the same. Don't know what your previous role is. But having an AP job offer means you have done quite well so far. So if we think about karma, maybe the better job is there waiting for you.

Good luck in your future endeavours :)
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby Alex » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:46 pm

I would try and find out but then I am stubborn. If it relates to a disability then they have to follow equality act.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby LIWY » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:47 pm

I'm really sorry that this has happened to you and if it was me I would pursue it if only to ensure that I knew where I stood for any future applications.

Many Trusts have their managing sickness and absence policy available online these days so it's bizarre that they are being secretive about their own policy. I can't understand why they can't tell you what their triggers are and if you know you haven't breached them give you the chance to correct the discrepancy.

Usually you have to put your number of sickness days on your occy health form, how many did you put? Possibly there is a discrepancy between your figure and that put on a reference? I've worked at Trusts with dreadful HR systems that had records recorded incorrectly. Now, before I move on from anywhere I check they have my absences recorded correctly so I wouldn't worry about bothering your old employers, I'd be calling them myself and asking them how many sickness days and periods they have recorded for me.

Forcing you to go there and review this face to face sounds unreasonable but maybe check in with the ACAS helpline or CAB (or if you have house insurance you may have free legal advice) to see if they can legally demand that you can only consult the records in person. I've helped a patient pull their medical records in the past and they provided ID and proof of address via post and the records were then to this address via post (at the patient's expense for the postage).

This recent case was upheld against a NHS Trust for someone who had a major sickness record http://didlaw.com/disability/withdrawal-job-offer-following-proof-sickness-absence-record-section-15-disability-discrimination/ Quite different from yours but shows that this is something that is taken seriously by the law and Trusts do get it wrong.

Good luck!
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby eponymous85 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:57 am

I would definitely follow up as it may well be an error on their part, if it was me I wouldn't want to let that prevent me from getting a job let alone a dream job! I'd also repeat the advice about contacting a member of the interview panel - they may not fully know what has been going on and may even be able to advocate for you if it's HR being difficult - they did choose you after all so they obviously want you to work there!
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby sweetpea » Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:03 am

I would chase it up too, even if it meant another trip there in person. As you said, it's one thing if you have a poor sickness record (I would still question how they've dealt with it) but if you feel this is markedly contrary to your occy health submission and your references, then I would absolutely want some clarity. Getting an AP position is no small feat, so if it's fallen through after offer, I would want to know why. :?

I really hope you get some answers.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby ell » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:05 am

It sounds like you know what your sickness record is (having spoken with your previous manager) so surely all you need to do is find out the sickness policy of the trust? Perhaps then you wouldn't need to go to the place? Then, you can tell if there has been a mistake, or if you just applied to an extremely strict trust. And yes, get in touch with the CP recruiting, as they will want to know what is going on. I know you are worried about burning bridges etc, but it will look more professional to be open in communication with them. And you can't burn a bridge with a trust, as when you apply for future jobs there (should you want to) all that will happen is your application will get passed on to the shortlister via the computer system. There is not going to be a black mark against your name for making a perfectly legal and reasonable enquiry for information that you are entitled to see, and even if you majorly annoyed some HR individual, they can't do anything to hold back your future applications to the trust.

Good luck with it all, and let us know how it goes.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby AryaStark » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:20 am

Thank you everyone for the advice it is greatly appreciated!
I will be continuing to pursue this further. I think I will start with getting back in touch with the ICO/CAB etc in order to find out if I need to travel there to make this request face-to-face.
Unfortunately their trust policy on sickness is not anywhere online that I can find and their policy documents section of their website is currently 'down for review'.
I find it really disheartening that no-one in the trust, including the recruiting manager called me about this to discuss it. Instead it was a simple email (to which I responded explaining my case).
For those asking, I do not have a disability, however I do not have any 'long-term sickness' either. I know what my previous manager has put on the form and so yes I would just need to find out their policy and then compare. I would then email both HR and the manager explaining their mistake.
I have also run my sickness through the 'Bradford calculator' as online I have found that some trusts use this tool. I am also under any 'warning' limit for this.
As people have said, getting the position is no small feat and the idea of going through it all again is really difficult. I do not have any prior AP experience (just support work etc.) and so I do find getting these interviews difficult. Although when I am in the interview I seem to be fine!
I will keep you all updated, thank you for all the kind words and support, it means a lot at this time.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
-Max Ehrmann,"Desiderata"
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby ell » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:27 am

I would phone the recruiting CP/manager ASAP and explain the situation, in case they start phoning up alternative candidates to offer them the post. If there has been an error then you need to do what you can to ensure it's rectifiable.
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby AryaStark » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:59 pm

ell wrote:I would phone the recruiting CP/manager ASAP and explain the situation, in case they start phoning up alternative candidates to offer them the post. If there has been an error then you need to do what you can to ensure it's rectifiable.


I've been in email contact with the manager since it happened (I do not have their phone details) and they do not seem too bothered by it all to be perfectly honest. I'm annoyed that I wasn't given a chance to explain anything and when I did through email (as that is the only way they are now contacting me) they just said good luck for the future and that was that. So I'm pretty sure they've found someone internally or someone else has the post already (despite contesting the issue the minute I received the withdrawal email).
Todays update: Spoke to ICO again and they said I absolutely do not need to go in to the trust and have every right to request info and have it sent by email or post. They advised me of what to write in an email back to HR and I've done so.

Hoping at some point I'll get some good karma thrown my way :( . Fingers crossed another position will come up soon and I can forget about all of this! For now my confidence is really knocked and so I'll treat myself to some chocolate and cat cuddles.
I'll keep you all updated, thank you everyone!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
-Max Ehrmann,"Desiderata"
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Re: Help Please, HR Nightmare

Postby BenJMan » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:45 pm

Whilst I think you are doing the right thing with emailing, as it gives a paper trail, me personally would be phoning them as well on a VERY regular basis to make sure that you get a response to every email and request. If that makes you an annoyance or thorn in their side, so be it. The department who hired you won't be involved, and HR can't block your appointment on anything other than really official grounds, so annoying them is very unlikely to create any worse of a situation than you are in already. That said remaining professional throughout is of course necessary!

Sounds like such a tough situation, I hope you get it resolved.
I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people ~ Maya Angelou.
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