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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My wife has worked present employer as a sewing machinist

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My wife has worked for her present employer as a sewing machinist since June 22nd 2015. Unfortunately in September 2015 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was off work until January 11th 2016. She then began a phased return to work, but today her employer laid her off claiming that there was not enough work to go round. There are three sewing machinists at this factory and one of them has been there for less time than my wife. I see no reason why they cannot job share and I believe my wife has been discriminated against.
As she has been with the employer for less than 2 years I understand that she cannot claim unfair dismissal, but does she have any legal remedy?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 11 months ago.
What does her contract say upon this point?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She has never received a written contract
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
this is a small firm of about 12 employees
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. So you believe that the reason she was selected as because of her illness or absence as a result of that illness?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My wife's manager told her that she was the one chosen to be laid off because she was the slowest worker. This is partly if not wholly because of the breast cancer surgery
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
As a machinist my wife uses her arms and this causes stress on the operation site under her breast and the one under her arm where lymph nodes were removed
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. Whilst she does not have protection against unfair dismissal, she will have additional rights as a result of her medical condition. A cancer diagnosis means that the person is automatically classified as being disabled for employment law purposes. This means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees. What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples: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. If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination and any associated dismissal would be automatically unfair, regardless of length of service. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination and/or unfair dismissal should be made in an employment tribunal (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act or dismissal taking place). I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi Ben,
There is just one point I need to clarify. My wife has been laid off without notice, so is no longer an employee of the company. Can she still raise a grievance in accordance with the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
I she is no longer an employee technically no, but if it only happened today she can still try. If they refuse to hear it then at least she knows the next step is ACAS conciliation before she is allowed to make a claim in the tribunal. If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45377
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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