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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and heart failure

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I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and heart failure in March and April this year. I have worked when I could rather than be signed off by GP. I am a single parent on a low income. I am a PA to the headmaster in a school and before summer holidays he talked informally about my hours. This was again discussed my first and second day back with a suggestion I work part-time which financially isn't an option for me. I asked for two home working days (85% of my role is computer based) to maximise my rest periods. Initially he said yes verbally then Wrote to me regarding my request I made under the Act for reasonable adjustment. He responded and said he would only consider 1 day with weekly reviews and a decision on whether it works for the business at the end of the month. What are my rights?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Since 2010
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'd prefer email please as I have limited funds
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

No problem and what ideally would you like to achieve?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Two home working days as per my request or early retirement or redundancy through ill health.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

ok thanks I will reply shortly

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

As your condition is most likely going to amount to a disability, you will have rights under the Equality Act 2010. You have already correctly identified that the employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments in order to accommodate you and ensure that you are not 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

Whilst the duty to make reasonable adjustments is quite strict, only what is reasonable would bee expected of the employer. If they have refused your request to work 2 days from home then they really need a solid reason for it. If you can show that the quality of work is unlikely to be affected and overall it is a reasonable request, then it would be rather difficult for them to argue that it is not possible. The issue is that you cannot force them to implement it and if you find yourself faced with an uncooperative employer, then your only option is to take it further, either through a grievance first, or even as far as making a disability discrimination claim in the employment tribunal.

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 follow if you had to take this further more formally. 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

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you I'd welcome support with next steps so I can be sure of the process etc
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Additionally my GP and heart health nurse believe two days will benefit me most the former will provide a letter to that effect this week. I provided several statements on
how this would work with minimal if any disruption to the business. My line manager seems concerned about escorting visitors, making drinks and telephone calls. Visitors are at best one per week and appointments typically made in advance and I've offered to change home working should both clash. I get about 2-3 calls per day which can be diverted to my mobile. The remainder of my work is typing letters, reports, power point presentations, budget work and keeping the school website and newsletters up to date. He hasn't formally refused my 2 day request but countered 1 day for 4 weeks where he decides at the end. Do I insist on a formal response to my 2 day request?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Yes of course, I the first instance I would suggest a formal internal grievance. It is a formal complaint but in the hands of the employer so at least it gives them a chance to resolve this without the need to go any further. You can appeal the outcome if you are not satisfied with it.

If the grievance does not resolve this then you really have to consider what to do next. You could try and make it work by accepting the offer they have made but if that is clearly not possible you have a couple of options - one is to remain employed and pursue a disability discrimination claim in the tribunal for failure to make reasonable adjustments. The other is to resign and claim constructive dismissal and disability discrimination by arguing you were left with no other option but to leave. Obviously the second one is riskier as you will be placing yourself out of a job.

It is worth mentioning that there is a possible alternative solution, where the employer is approached on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under such an agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company with no fuss and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, where both parties move on without the need for going to tribunal. However, it is an entirely voluntary process and the employer does not have to participate in such negotiations or agree to anything. It just means that these discussions cannot be brought up in any subsequent tribunal claim and prejudice either party. So there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them as the worst outcome is they say no, whereas if successful it can mean being allowed to leave in accordance with any pre-agreed terms, such as with compensation and an agreed reference.

As mentioned, if you could 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 discuss the steps you need to follow if you had to take this further more formally to tribunal. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. 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(###) ###-####