"All they care about is me coming back to work. They don't care about me as a person,” said a U.K. bus driver after losing his job for failing to tell First Group, his employer, when he would be ready to return to work.
Robert Parkisson has been spending time with his family for over 7 months after his daughter Lisa, 35, died after giving birth to her son Zac. After that traumatic experience, Parkisson has been off of work and has been diagnosed with depression.
Parkisson has been an employee for First Group for over 10 years but is disappointed that he hasn’t received the support and understanding he hoped for in this situation.
“It is a disgusting way to treat someone while they are grieving for their daughter. I'm just a number to them,” Parkisson said, according to the Daily Mail. “I understand that I will have to return to work at some point, but at the moment it just isn't possible. I wish the company would understand that and be a bit more supportive."
Robert was simply asked to provide a date of when he could return back to work, but he felt that there was no way he could realistically answer that question.
"When I'm behind the wheel and I'm carrying a bus full of passengers, I'm responsible for their safety. But, with how I feel at the moment, I just couldn't drive the bus,” said Parkisson. “Sometimes I lose concentration and drift, sometimes I just break down into tears. I can't control it and each day is different to the next. I've spoken to three doctors, my own and two that were sent by the company, and they all agree that I am just not able to give a return to work date.”
First Group did not directly comment on Parkisson’s case but did say that they offer support and counseling to help employees who are in need of such help. “Such support includes a company confidential support line, counselling services and face-to-face meetings at work or at home as well as trade union support,” said a spokesman on behalf of the company.
The family is still devastated and grieving to this day. To make matters worse, Parkisson received the news of his termination on the same day he received a report in regards to Lisa’s death, which failed to provide an explanation about what had happened.
"We have so many questions about Lisa's death but we are no nearer to any answers,” said Parkisson. “Every few weeks when we receive a new report or a bit more information, the grief just hits us again. We are constantly being reminded of that day.”
The child is being cared for by Lisa’s sister, Ally Ziemniak, and was given a middle name of Robert in Parkisson's honor.