advertisement
Question
Posted by: worried employee | 2011/04/01

Readers please help. CS, i apologise for long post but am very worried.

I know this is the wrong forum but i desperately need some advice. How does one go in contacting the CCMA? I have absolutely no idea. Are they perhaps open on a Saturday? Who do I contact? Does anyone have a contact no. or the process one follows? I have posted to the labour lawyer but it takes a while for them to respond. I was given a final warning letter and asked to sign it. I knew i shouldnt just sign and was apprehensive but my boss made me feel he has my best interest at heart and was trying to help me. Because of absenteeism (due to depression/anxiety), i was given verbal
" warnings,"  therefore they say they are in their right to give me a final written warning (said they consulted a labour lawyer). He now says he wants to help me by changing my workload. He wants me to work directly with him and said that he would be able to " shelter"  me whereas if i would continue working for the other people, i would be in the spotlight and they would need to give constant feedback re my work. He, therefore, feels he is able to protect me as well as stand up for me. But, i told him I dont think this would work, as i become very nervous/anxious working for him. I know working for him will be my quickest way out of the company and therefore decided to be honest. I know honesty doesnt pay as it has never helped me before but I dont want to give anyone the wrong impression. I suffer from a mild form of bipolar and have my highs and lows. Right now i am in a very good space (despite what is happening) but I am scared about WHEN I will " slip"  and have an off day as that will be the final nail in my coffin. Everyone here knows how unpredictable depression/anxiety/bipolar is. I try my best to not let it interfere with my work but at times one has no control, however, those days are becoming far and few as I am slowly learning to manage it, but my past history of " unreliability due to absenteeism"  is being held against me. Why is it okay for others to take 3 weeks leave to go on holiday but because I took 3 weeks sick leave to book myself into a clinic inorder to regroup and get myself back on track due to emotional problems which lead to eating problems. This is my 4th yr since being diagnosed with depression etc and yes, they have been supportive but why when I am finally making good progress in all spheres of my life (especially work), i am told they can''t carry me any longer? Yes, my boss spoke to me re my absenteeism and I was honest with him from the beginning. No one will believe how much I actually enjoy my job. My future is uncertain. If i get fired, i will not be able to work anywhere as I suffer from social phobia/anxiety. My life has always been going from work to home and vice versa. There is absolutely no way i would be able to work anywhere else. I will lock myself up in my home Since i have been told my job is uncertain, it has made me more anxious and it has become more difficult to focus or understand instructions. My boss feels I should feel reassured that they are giving me a final chance, and yes, i am but at the same time my anxiety levels have escalated which is going to cause me to lose my job. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Not what you were looking for? Try searching again, or ask your own question
Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

OK, I do hope some of our highly knowledgeable readers can give you good answers to your quertion, because, as you note, it is outside my personal expertise.
Isn't there a branch of the CCMA in your town, and thus in the phone book ? Have you googled them online to see where they have branches, and how to contact them ?
A branch of the Dept of Labour may be able to help, too. And they may be able to call your boss and tell him he should not rush into any decisions here, or to make you sign anything, until you have received proper expert and neutral advice, perhaps from them.
And I do hope you have been and will be, receiving proper competent treatment for your social phobia, which should include CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) and possibly also medication which is also used to treat depression.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

7
Our users say:
Posted by: Hestia | 2011/04/04

You can be fired. Not for being ill but for not keeping to your side of the contract. Remember that employment is a contract. Side A (you) are providing a service and side B (company) is providing payment. if you can not adhere to your contract " providing service"  you are not keeping to the agreement. thus due to this your service can be terminated due to this factor.
In some instances you can be provided a final written warning without prevouis warnings. Your company should have a Code of Condact as part of their ER documents. In our company it goes straight to a final written warning if Unauthorized and/or un-communicated absence from the place of work for three (3) to five (5) days.
The problem the company will have is to proof that they did everything in their power to assist you in the matter. As far as I am aware you can not be given a final warning without given a fair change to proof your case. Eg. Why you are absent, what you did to correct it, improvements up to date. This is just a few excamples. It is also not a disiplinary issue but rather Incapacity. Disiplinary is if you do not WANT to, incapacity is that you are not able to eg poor health.
If you get fired and the company did not provide you an opportunity to proof your case, you should be able to take it to the CCMA because although it might be substantially fair it is not procedurely fair. You were not given the opportunity to proof your case therefor correct procedure was not followed.
Also the company must prove that the rule is applied fairly toward everyone in te company.
Hope this helps

Reply to Hestia
Posted by: jess | 2011/04/04

May I ask what you are doing to combat your illness on every level?
I have bipolar too and yes, work absenteeism is a concerning reality. I have been through so many jobs and then I decided to take control.
I know this is an illness and you can''t just snap out of it, however, you can take action in every sphere.
1) I have stopped alcohol intake completely
2) I go to gym / do yoga, and if you have social anxiety and don''t like gyms then get a exercise DVD (or a few) from places like Dischem / CNA / etc.
3) Avoid junk food and sugar as much as possible
4) Even though I cannot afford to see my psych and am not on medical aid I have an arrnagement that he still gives me 6-months repeat prescriptions for my existing meds that seem to be working. Therefore I MAKE SURE I take your meds
5) Find and attend a weekly support group (especially if you cannot afford professional medical help)

Everytime I have a dilemma (eg. no medical aid) I force myself to try and find solutions, even if they seem silly. It''s a force of habit now and that''s how my mind works. Find solutions, don''t use painful circumstances as a crutch (forgive if this sounds so harsh but I have to be tough on myself, I''m single and I lose friends second to none, so I am my only support structure). Even though there are days when I really cannot find the gumption to give a flying toot, these are now far and few between.

DO something and everything you can.

We as humans are all more powerful than you know.
And make no mistake, if this was a cure we would all be well, right? However, this action success plan will definitely at the very least reduce the severity and frequency of episodes.
And if you are showing this kind of initiative and action your boss and colleagues will certainly be inclined to be more ''accommodating'' as they can see you are combating this disorderwith ALL you have.
And you can. Plus, there''s nothing wrong with trying this out anyway. worst case scenario, you''ll be fit and physically healthy at least!
All the very best!!!

Reply to jess
Posted by: CCC | 2011/04/04

Hi There

I was in a slightly similar position some time ago. The CCMA has a website and from there you can find your nearest branch.

With regards to your condition. If you are being traeted by any doctor ask him/her to write a letter out lining you condition and the progress you have made thus far.

The Company CANNOT fire you for being ill. What they can do is put you on unpaid leave for a certain period untill you are capable to work nomally. From what I gather in your post, you still perform ok at work and the warning is for being absent. as long as you can proof that you were absent due to illness the comapny has nothing to stand on.
They are just scaring you by saying they consulted a labour lawyer. I was told the same and was then fired went to the CCMA and won the case as I was also ill due to depression which conflicted with my work. Dont let then scare you. They know you are vunerable at this point becuase of your illnes and they will use this against you and use whatever methods to make you believe the care.

Believe me you he=ave a strong case and they know what they are doing is wrong.they CANNOT fire you for being ill

Good luck and all the best

Reply to CCC
Posted by: Purple | 2011/04/04

The CCMA has a web site and local offices are listed in the local phone books.

A disciplinary discussion should have been held with you before any kinds of warnings were issued - verbal, written or final written. You can''t just be given a warning to sign.

Going to the CCMA will probably worsen the relationship you have with your company at this point. Use it if they fire you - which will be their next step.

Bear in mind that regardless of any medical condition you might have, if you are absent a lot and can''t cope with your work, a company is allowed to discipline you for this or to follow an incapacity process (fire you for being too ill to work). It might seem cruel and callous but they can''t afford passengers.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Joe CCMA | 2011/04/03

Hi Worried Employee,

In terms of the CCMA, just google it and there is an 086 number you can call.

In terms of warning letters etc, it''s from my understanding that a verbal warning is not the same as a written warning. They can''t just make a final warning letter appear, you need to have a three written warning letters first - I may be wrong.

From those written warning lettrs, you get a final warning letter.

However, your company has to ensure that they put in place the proper procedures and guidelines to ensure that you perform correctly at your job.

They MUST assist you.

Just keep doing what you need to do, but make sure that you follow their instructions. If there is something that you don''t understand, ask them.

Good luck

Reply to Joe CCMA
Posted by: Anon | 2011/04/01

I''ve been in a similar situation. Just remember, the final written warning is only valid for 6 months, so try your hardest to be at work during that time. Good luck.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/04/01

OK, I do hope some of our highly knowledgeable readers can give you good answers to your quertion, because, as you note, it is outside my personal expertise.
Isn't there a branch of the CCMA in your town, and thus in the phone book ? Have you googled them online to see where they have branches, and how to contact them ?
A branch of the Dept of Labour may be able to help, too. And they may be able to call your boss and tell him he should not rush into any decisions here, or to make you sign anything, until you have received proper expert and neutral advice, perhaps from them.
And I do hope you have been and will be, receiving proper competent treatment for your social phobia, which should include CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) and possibly also medication which is also used to treat depression.

Reply to cybershrink

Have your say

Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
Thanks for commenting! Your comment will appear on the site shortly.
advertisement