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Doctors advice to continue remote working due to underlying condition-work says come in

  • 31-01-2022 11:52am
    Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Background, A person (not me) working successfully from home,civil service job since this Covid thing started

    They have a serious underlying lung condition and have successfully avoided covid

    Their doctors are unanimous in saying they are not comfortable with a return to an office environment

    There is zero social distancing at the office currently and the public are in every day in droves

    What are this person's options,what should they do ?

    Can they be given an ultimatum to go in ?

    Thank you


  • They can ask their HR to refer their case to the Office of the Chief Medical Officer for review.

  • Registered Users Posts: 553 ✭✭✭ gibgodsman

    Either go to work or go on the illness benefit if the doctor is giving them a cert. You can't expect every employer in the world to allow their staff to work from home because they "Might" get Covid.

    If this person has a serious underlying lung condition, they will always have it, and can catch a cold or flu at anytime. If they are too unwell to work, they go on illness benefit, I understand why people like working from home, but if your job is requesting you work from an office, then you have to do it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 875 ✭✭✭ AyeGer

    They aren’t too unwell to work if they are doing the job to the required level from home.

    A lot of managers in the CS and PS are really old school and like to have their staff in the office even if they don’t really need to be.

    However, if the job can not be done adequately from home then their boss is entitled to call them in. Then the decision must be made whether they should look for other work or go in and risk their health.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,504 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble

    Look for a job in somewhere that isn't public facing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭ sekond

    Depending on their grade, are they on the various mobility/transfer lists? It's likely to be an issue for them for some time, and longer-term it might be worth trying to see can they transfer to a less public-facing role.

    If the doctor thinks it might be a shorter term thing, then maybe they can look into sick leave for a period (if office are insisting they come in, then they 'can 't' do their job from home).

    Also - is it their line manager or HR that are insisting? In our place, when we returned to the office in autumn, the general approach was that the PO of the area was responsible for managing attendance for those who were coming in one day a week, to ensure spacing out etc, but I know HR were involved in discussions around people with specific concerns.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 875 ✭✭✭ AyeGer

    Is this person interacting with the public or just happens to be in an office where the public are calling in to see another employee?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    They are sharing the office space with the public but not directly interacting with them

    They are or will be sharing workspace with everyone in the office

    It is HR and the line manager that is driving the return which was communicated by email today

    No conversation has been had yet on this person's circumstances

    They've often caught flu pre covid but that hasn't ever got into the lungs

    The doctors are concerned covid would

    Its not a nice dilemma tbh as they do work hard and are conscientious

    Their bosses will know that

    The role from what I can see is fully doable remotely

  • All they can do is request referral to the CMO, who will review the circumstances, any recommendations from consultants etc, and will give their recommendation to your friend's HR Division.

    However, its is a double edged sword. If the CMO says they are not fit to carry out their duties in the office, there is a risk that an argument could be made that they are not fit to work there at all and another role would be need to be found for them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭ wench

    If the CMO agrees with their doctors, then the employer would need to look at what are reasonable accommodations to allow them continue working.

    This could be working from home, or from a smaller office away from the main floor.

  • Registered Users Posts: 238 ✭✭ leanbh

    Your friend should write to head of HR and cc line manager saying "as you know ive been able to do all my work at the requisite standard while working remotely. On account of my x condition I need to continue with this arrangement. Its a matter of health and safety as my doctors have advised that i am at risk from covid if i return to the office."

    Furnish copy medical reports to hr and line manager.

    Also say if this facility no longer available , please consider facilitating me with transfer to dept where i can work fully remotely .

    Be prepared for hr to refuse, referral to cmo etc. Appeal etc.

    Dont presume cmo have your medical reports even if you gave them to hr. Give cmo those reports and more.

    Its important that you stress its a health and safety issue (and ensure you have strong specialist medical reports to back this up. Gp reports dont really cut any ice.)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 238 ✭✭ leanbh

    And its different from a disability accomodation- the big difference being that this is a health and safety issue.

    While your friend can cite the disability stuff (its very useful) its the health and safety dangers that make it vital: health and safety act 2005

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Thanks everyone

    Very helpful