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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I think I have been managed out of my job (I'm a vet). I

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I think I have been managed out of my job (I'm a vet).
I suffer from depression but on the whole have been well for some years. I've been with my employer for 8 years and in that time have never reached trigger point with sickness and have never had any sort of verbal or written warning on file. We complete an annual health and safety risk assessment, which is signed off by our line manager and I declare my depression each year as a chronic illness.
Over the summer for various reasons I became very unwell and was signed off for two weeks. I met with my work during that time to discuss what could be done to help me on my return. I asked to reduce my hours from 4 days a week to 3 days a week and was told to put in a flexible work hours request, which I immediately did. I also asked if I would be able to come back on any kind of phase-back situation but was told this would not be possible. I was given the option to book annual leave days to reduce my hours but only rota permitting, and certainly for my first few weeks back this was not possible.
I was told that I would have a decision regarding my flexi work request within 4 weeks - actually the company's own policy says up to 3 months so this was unhelpful information that added to my anxiety levels when what I believed to be the deadline had come and gone. I had a meeting with HR and my line manager 6 weeks after submission, during which they asked me for suggestions as to how they could make up the extra day my reduced hours would leave open, plus another day as my line-manager had been promoted and now needed an additional admin day. They claimed to have asked some other staff members if they wanted extra hours but had not really thought about it much otherwise. I explained that, for health reasons, I would probably need to leave if they were not able to grant my request. I did get an answer within the next 7 days - no - as they could not feasibly backfill the day. Per the terms of the application system I was not permitted to apply again for 12 months, but was told I could have another meeting to "see if they could do anything else to help", or "hang on and see if you feel differently in a few months". I chose to action my resignation.
Being obliged to work my 2 month notice period has been so deleterious to my health that I have been signed off again by my doctor for depression and anxiety.I'm honestly not sure I have any sort of case against them, but I do feel I have been discriminated against. At the time I put my flexi work request in, the hospital were advertising a 2.5 day a week role, which I did not apply for as I wanted 3 days. When this was eventually offered (after my flexi request was submitted and definitely after I had verbally informed both my line manager and the Hospital Lead of my wish to reduce my hours and what hours I wanted) it was offered as a 3 day/week role. At no point was this role offered to me as an option. Two options they claimed they had investigated to fill my reduced hours were using an ad-hoc locum or getting a vet from another hospital in the organisation to fill the gap. They claimed neither were feasible and yet both those things are happening there now. They also granted another colleague's flexi request a few weeks ago, though admittedly he is a nurse manager rather than a vet.I must stress I am not looking to gain any sort of remuneration, I just feel that in a way they have discriminated against my disability (chronic depression) and I wondered where, if anywhere I stand legally.
Submitted: 28 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 28 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 28 days ago.

What are you hoping to achieve in the circumstances please?

Customer: replied 28 days ago.
I just want to know if legally my work have done anything wrong so if they have I can decide whether to pursue it or not.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

Hi there, sorry I was back in court by the time you had replied. I would agree that it is likely you have been discriminated on grounds of disability, which your condition could amount to. Many people believe that disability only covers physical conditions, but mental ones are included as well, so long as they are serious enough. I would argue that you did have a disability based on the length you have had this and how it affects you overall.

When someone is disabled the employer has a strict legal duty to make reasonable adjustments, if they are likely to be placed at a disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances of the employer, their business, the potential impact on other employees, the available resources, etc. Whilst legislation does not currently provide specific examples of what adjustments can be made, the following are examples that have been considered reasonable in case law over time:

· making adjustments to work premises

· allocating some of the employee’s duties to others

· transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy

· altering the employee’s hours of work

· allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability

· acquiring or modifying specialist equipment

· providing supervision or other support

You should not be required to submit a flexible working request - the employer should be proactive in making the necessary adjustments automatically, without such a formal request being made. Their failure to make or even consider making these could make their actions discriminatory and allow you to potentially take it further if necessary.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to take if you wanted to pursue this further. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 27 days ago.
Thankyou Ben, that is really helpful to know.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 27 days ago.

You are welcome. In the event you wanted to take this further, before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####