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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44962
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello My name is Harvey. My concerns are that i work the

Customer Question

Hello
My name is Harvey.
My concerns are that i work the usual 8.5 hours per day, but have to travel 80 miles each way (160 miles per day) to and from a Customer site. I am a permanent employee (of 7 years) working for a very large Corporate IT Company.
Adding my travel time (1.5 hours each way, 3 hours per day driving) and my working day, this equates to 57.5 hours per week time on-site, including the hour for lunch.
I was in this post as a temporary measure from Jun12 to Dec'12 whilst another post was found closer to home. Unfortunately, with a combination of "hard times" and Customer contract changes, i was "not given a choice" but to continue with the aforementioned working conditions due to my in-depth Customer knowledge and experience.
I complained early this year of my constant tiredness and the affect it was having on my body (stress through long distant driving and bad seating on-site), but was basically "ignored" as i am making the Company money by being on-site.
I have developed a situation in my neck and back, partly, i think, as a consequence of the above, and will need a course of corrective Medical action to re-align my spine.
There is nothing in the Corporate Policies that i can find about my situation.
Also, the stress has affected my home life, i get involved less and less with my kids as i just lie there. Weekends are just to get over the week.
Since December 2012, there have been 4 offers of Voluntary redundancy in our department, i have been declined on ALL 4 occasions, replying that my role is not up for redundancy.
i may have to resign to get out of this situation, is there a case for constructive dismissal?

I think i need an Employment Solicitor for advice as to my best course of action. Can you help to point me in the right direction?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What would you ideally like to achieve in your situation?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Were you based closer to home when you initially took the job?

Ben Jones :

Once you clarify that I will consider the best options for you and get back to you later today, thanks

JACUSTOMER-tb0bm7f6- :

Hello Ben, no i have been an on-site Engineer for a number of years, and have been driving long distances regularly. However, due to my age i assume, i am starting to "feel it".

JACUSTOMER-tb0bm7f6- :

But, i was promised by a previous Program Manager that i would be moving close to home at the end of last year. But as it happens, change on our Management, and change of Customer Contracts, i was given no option but to continue doing this job 80 miles away from home.

Ben Jones :

Hello Harvey, many thanks for your patience. There are a few issues here which I can deal with separately.

First of all you need to ensure the employer is only asking you to as per your contract of employment. So if your hours, place of work, etc are different now that in your contract, then you need to raise this with them. This may especially be the case if you were only assigned to the current job temporarily and your old contract remains. You need to make sure that you do not continue on the new terms for too long without challenging them as it may eventually be implied that you have accepted them and challenging them could become more difficult.

The next issue is the maximum hours you could be asked to work per week. By law you may only be asked to work an average of 48 hours a week at most. This is calculated over a rolling 17-week period. Travel time to/from the workplace does not usually count as working time but if you are asked to travel to customers as part of your working day then you can argue that this is working time and would count towards your working hours when calculating how many you work in a week.

Finally, employers have certain duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act and under common law to take reasonable care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their staff. This would also include preventing or reducing the causes of workplace stress. So if they are asking you to do all these extra hours and are generally treating you unfairly in that respect, they could be acting in breach.

In terms of taking this matter forward, you would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring your concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then you can consider resigning straight away and pursuing a constructive dismissal claim. It is not an easy claim though so give it some thought before deciding which way to go.

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much

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