I really hope you can help with this.
I work in a small office – only myself and one other lady work full time and there are two part time workers.

There is a lot of background to this but the short version is that we have been without a manager since Nov 2006 as he went on sick leave just before he was going to be suspended following a complaint.

My colleague had been off sick several times ie. 6 periods of short term sickness in 2 months, ranging from half a day to 4 days – never enough for her to need a GP note.

Without a manager, things relaxed in the office a bit – all work was completed however the other full time lady was taking advantage ie. leaving early, coming in late and disappearing off to do a quick shop etc, and as I said, all work was completed but mostly by me.

Eventually, this situation spiralled out of control and we had a full blown argument and my colleague then went home sick.

At this time I informed the temporary line manager, in writing with the full details of the situation and also stating that I felt aggrieved at the amount of time I was covering 2 persons workload. I had no response to this.

My colleague returned to work but the atmosphere was very difficult to work in and a week later we had another argument which resulted in me being in tears in the office and at that point I went to my GP who signed me off with work related stress. I was off work for 5 months and received couselling. I had no contact from my employer for 6 weeks, despite me contacting them and raising a formal grievance with the HR dept.

I returned to work on the 15th Aug, despite the situation not being resolved but felt that staying at home even longer was more detrimental to my health.

My colleague has been off sick since the day I returned also with work related stress.

My managers and HR have been very poor throughout this and I have accidentally discovered that my manager has arranged a mediation meeting for myself and my colleague with HR. I stated to them during my sick leave that I was unwilling to attend mediation because my colleague is a very strong character and I feel intimidated and unable to express myself without getting emotional.

My question is can they force me to attend mediation if I am back in my job and doing the job well? The thought of it terrifies me.

As I said at the beginning, there is a lot more too this but this is a basic outline, any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Laura Roberts

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