Absence management meetings. I ended up at a few of them over the years. What a fucking joke they were. My absence record was not great, with back problems, a heart condition and the stress the job caused me. So, I kept on triggering absence management meetings, where management was supposed to ensure I was OK and if there was anything the job could do to help.
I quickly realised that they were designed to bully and the best way to stop that was to take someone else with me. Even then, there would still be a level of intimidation by management just making sure they outnumbered us.
One meeting was myself, my wife and five others from HR and the Division. That was a crammed room. The next meeting triggered purely because I had been off three times in a year, which included a minor road accident that put me off work for a few days, my wife and I were asked if we had any martial problems. That was just embarrassing and my wife was furious.
I then switched to taking someone with me who I described as my “advisor”. He was in someone I knew, who after a night in the pub said he would like to come along and see what the job was like. He did have some experience, being a manager himself he had conducted many absence management meetings at his old work.
The first meeting he came to, was made up of the two of us, a Chief Inspector, Occupational Health and someone from HR. My “advisor” asked the HR rep why she was at the meeting, to which she replied, “I only got a phone call this morning and know nothing about the background”. She was clearly there to make up numbers. That meeting soon ground to a halt as the Chief Inspector struggled to answer my advisor’s questions. It was hard not to laugh.
My final absence management meeting, in the run up to me leaving with early retirement, I could not get my “advisor”, so instead I took someone I had met through an NHS/local council advisory service which offered assistance to people who need help with work problems. You can find such services if you search return to work advice and your local council or fit for work Scotland.
By now work had sussed what I was doing and that last meeting basically involved my advisor telling a Chief Inspector and lady from HR what they needed to do and they did it.
I would highly recommend that for all absence management meetings, you take someone from out with the job. In my experience, it forces management to behave themselves and cut out the bullying tactics.