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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a recovering alcoholic working in a recovery position

Resolved Question:

I am a recovering alcoholic working in a recovery position helping others to recover. I attend Alcoholics Anonymous where I got well and saved my life. My employer is now saying because I work in the recovery sector that i am not allowed to attend meetings anywhere in the whole county. Can they do this,can they sack me when my own welfare is at stake? I am a single parent family i need the job, and i need my recovery more. What can i do.?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. ow long have you worked there for?

Customer:

12 months

Ben Jones :

If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim. However, substance misuse/dependency is specifically excluded from the definition of disability so you would not be able to argue that you have protection under discrimination legislation.

If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

If you were not paid your notice period when you were due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and you could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that you should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim. However due to your s3rvice you will not be able to challenge the dismissal itself unfortunately.


Customer:

can they dictate where i can and can't go to maintain my own recovery as i can't afford to travel to meetings 20 miles away to stay sober? surely i have rights in this?

Ben Jones :

if it is to keep your job then they can - if you do not agree with this then you can go wherever you want but it does mean that they can till dismiss you if they are unhappy with that

Customer:

that is ludicrous.. So i have to suffer because they don't understand my illness, that is what the British Medical Foundation accept it is now. They employed me knowing my illness and that actually was why they did employ me in the beginning and new where i attend meetings, now they are changing their minds, how is that fair..

Ben Jones :

it is an illness but it is not a disability under employment law as the Equality Act specifically excludes it from that definition which means that the employer does not have to make special adjustments for it and you can also not claim that they are discriminating against you. So with the length of your service it means you are at their mercy in this respect because you do not yet have rights to be protected against unfair dismissal

Ben Jones :

morally it is not fair, I agree, but legally they can do it I'm afraid and in this case it is the law that takes the upper hand not the moral argument

Customer:

thank you.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45291
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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