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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50147
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a permanent contract of employment at work. Ive asked

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I have a permanent contract of employment at work. Ive asked for reasonable adjustments to be made for medical reasons. Namely a move from constant night shifts to day shifts. There are 160 employees in the office and only 10 of us do night shifts. I have been told that they will allow me to move onto days, but the only position available would require me to go on to less hours and sign a new contract for the dayshift job which is only temporary!
In addition, my current contract allows for enhanced payment for overtime and for public holiday working. New contracts (since 1 Jan) only pay basic time for to and PH working.
I feel I am being badly treated for becoming ill.
My employer is a multi million pound business. Can they do this?
Hello how long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1 year
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So you are fully updated, I was diagnosed with Bi Polar Disorder / Depressive illness around 20 years ago due to PTSD.
This has been well controlled for all that time with prescription drugs. I've had very few relapses, never been hospitalised or required mental health intervention. I have times of depression which have been well controlled, until recently!
I took on this job approx 9 months ago and (being closer to 60 than 50 now), I am really struggling with constant nightshifts. My drug regime is all out of whack, I am unable to sleep and things are getting progressively more difficult day by day.
I have explained all this to my boss and on the advice of my GP, I asked for the move to dayshift as this will alleviate all my problems as it has for the past 20 years.
My GP, my previous employer and my own research advises me I am covered under the Equality Act 2010. Is it fair therefore that I should be required to sign a new contract which treats me far less favourably than my current contract? Also, can I be moved from my current permanent contract to a temporary one which Im sure will not be renewed in 3 months!!
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query. The first thing is to try and determine if you are classified as disable and therefore protected under the Equality Act. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’. The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break this definition down:Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.) If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which 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. The old legislation (the DDA) had a list of factors that had to be taken into account when determining whether an adjustment was reasonable:· The extent to which the adjustment would have ameliorated the disadvantage.· The extent to which the adjustment was practicable.· The financial and other costs of making the adjustment, and the extent to which the step would have disrupted the employer's activities.· The financial and other resources available to the employer.· The availability of external financial or other assistance.· The nature of the employer's activities and the size of the undertaking. These factors are no longer required under the EA but they can still be used as a useful guide on what will determine the reasonableness of an employer’s refusal to make the necessary adjustments. 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 the matter can be taken further if necessary. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you decide to take the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Thank you. In the first instance you need to consider raising a formal grievance with the employer. You also have the right to consider a claim for disability discrimination for failure to make reasonable adjustments. This must be done within 3 months of the failure to make the adjustments or the decision to refuse this request. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Mr Jones, thank you for the comprehensive reply.
I work in a large supermarket owned by a very large and profitable company. I am one of 160 plus employees in the store.
Without revisiting the criteria of the EA (old DDA), I have been classed as covered previously as my condition, while not life changing while on medication, will become life changing if not on medication. My position at present is that my current working conditions are causing my medication to be less effective at controlling my mood and I am struggling to keep control. There is no other suitable alternative medication available to me, therefore to avoid a serious and potentially long term return to an uncontrolled and very unpleasant bi polar state I need to change my working hours from nights to days.
As of today, there is no like for like "vacancy" available which I understand. However I have offered to work in any section of the store, in any capacity, on any set of days and any hours that suit the store (as long as they are not during the night).
I'm told there is one vacancy available, however, it's less hours, and I need to sign a new (temporary) contract with much less benefits than I currently have. Can they do this?
I don't want to give up working, but feel I'm being stitched up and I have offered to help as far as I can!
Sorry I think our replies crossed
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They did, thanks. Can I just confirm then, in your opinion, I should not accept the detrimental terms of a new contract contract? I am willing to take the drop in hours, just not sign a new contract.
Yo should certainly not accept the detrimental contract just to be placed on days. They should leave you on the same terms but change you to days