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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 54552
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I work in HR and submitted a flexible working request back

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I work in HR and submitted a flexible working request back in Oct 2016 and I still have no formal outcome.
I have chased a number of times and still not getting anywhere, I have written up a formal grievance but feel if I submit this I am in a lose lose situation. What should I do?

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

why is the employer taking so long to deal with it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My manager was asked to it together a strategy for the team, which we both completed months ago and I am not just waiting on my manager to ok with senior team. He is worried about presenting to one of the managers and has been holding off - even though I have chased and chased.
I am happy with whatever outcome but being left in limbo is affecting my family life as I want to change my hours for child care reasons.

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 right to make a flexible working request applies to any employee who has been employed by the employer for at least 26 weeks and is limited to one request in any 12-month period. Examples of the changes that can be applied for in a flexible working request include changes to working hours, times and work location.

Once an employer receives a formal request they must deal with it in a reasonable manner, ideally meeting with the employee to discuss it and, if rejected, communicate their decision within 3 months of the date the initial request was submitted. When rejecting the request, the employer is only able to do so by relying on any of the following grounds:

· Planned structural changes

· The burden of additional costs

· A detrimental impact on quality

· The inability to recruit additional staff

· A detrimental impact on performance

· The inability to reorganise work among existing staff

· A detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand

· Lack of work during the periods the employee proposes to work

Ideally, the employer should also try and explain their decision in writing, such as providing information on why they believe the selected reason for rejection is relevant and they have relied on it.

It is important to note that when selecting the ground for refusal the legal test is mainly a subjective one on the part of the employer. If the employer considers that one of the grounds applies, then the test is satisfied. The test does not create any requirement of reasonableness into the employer's judgment. It would appear that only if the employer's view is based on incorrect facts, could the decision actually be challenged as incorrect.

An appeal can be submitted once the decision is communicated. If the appeal is rejected then the only option left is to make a claim in the employment tribunal. A claim can only be made on one or more of the following grounds:

· The employer failed to hold a meeting, notify their decision within 3 months or offer a right of appeal

· The reason for refusal was not for one of the allowed reasons

· The rejection was based on incorrect facts

The claim should be presented to the tribunal within 3 months of either the procedural breach or of the date on which the employee is notified of the appeal decision.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** have not had any refusal in writing or actually anything in writing to accept of refuse this request.
It's been left open and my only next stage is a grievance against the procedure as it fails to follow any of our policies.

A grievance would indeed be the next step in this process. In terms of a tribunal claim you should have considered that within 3 months of the time the outcome should have been communicated, which itself was 3 months from the request. So basically the claim should have been made within 6 months of the initial request. I see that has now passed so a grievance would be the only realistic option here. Hope this clarifies?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I could not take this to an employment tribunal?

The time limit is 3 months from the procedural breach and the breach occurred 3 months after submission of the request. However, if you push them to provide a response now which you then appeal, the time limit can restart after the appeal decision is communicated to you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Also to add to the twist there is a male colleague (same level) who has been offered part time work, no request submitted. Does this lead me in to a sexual discrimination claim?

It depends on the reasons for this decision. Just because he is male does not mean gender was the reason behind the employer's decision. But if there is some evidence that this could be behind their decision then yes you can consider that too. The problem (potentially) is that you also only have 3 months from the alleged discriminatory act to make a claim so if this decision was made more than 3 months ago you will be out of time.

If your original query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above as it is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions if needed and the question will remain open. Thank you

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