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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49811
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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. I have worked international company since March

Customer Question

I have worked for an international company since March last year. About 3 weeks ago I asked my manager if I could go down to work 4 days instead of 5 due to health issues that they are already aware of. I was told no but instead offered to start an hour later every day which I accepted. I was told no because my boss said i was the only DK speaking person in the company (when I am on holiday the other not her nordic team members help out and most of my client contact is in English). I was told by my manager on Friday that two other people on my team had changed working hours one for 3 days a week and another to 4 days a week which i am really upset about. I have a disability that makes 5 days a week a challenge. Is it ok for them to do this to one employee and not the other? ? Thank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are the other employee's circumstances similar, in a sense that they have language skills that are needed the same as you?

JACUSTOMER-fly73d6i- :


JACUSTOMER-fly73d6i- :

I forgot to add that bit. I am the only one on the team that speaks Danish. The other two people has another one on the team speaking the same language. When I am off on holiday the other team members take my DK enquiries and speak English with them which is perfectly acceptable from the clients perspective. The majority of my work is done in English it is only because I can I use Danish. I was told when I asked about working a four day week that it wasn't possible as I am the only DKsspeaking person on the team. My argument was that my illness (fibromyalgia) makes me have a lot of time off ill and to redeem that time it is important for me to let my body relax and recover.

JACUSTOMER-fly73d6i- :

Thanks for your help

Ben Jones :

You will have certain protection under the Equality Act 2010, which deals with rights against discrimination, one of which is disability discrimination. As a disabled person you have the right to expect the employer to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. 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 have asked to amend your hours of work and unless the employer can show that it is entirely unreasonable in the circumstances to accommodate that change. Then they could be guilty of discrimination by not making reasonable adjustments. The employer could just try and say this change is unreasonable but they will have to provide some strong justification as to why that is the case. In the circumstances that may be difficult assuming that your queries can be handled by your colleagues without the need to speak Danish. Had it been imperative to speak Danish and the employer was not in a position to recruit someone else to deal with the gap your absence would create then they may have had a slightly stronger defence but in this case it does appear rather weak.

You are able to pursue this further by raising a formal grievance and if needed you can also make a claim for disability discrimination in the employment tribunal.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks