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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 58832
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Is it reasonable to demote an employee who is likely

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Is it reasonable to demote an employee who is likely protected under the Disability section of the EA due to having to work part-time hours instead of their contracted full-time hours
Assistant: Have they discussed the demotion with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Not at this point
Assistant: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: Unionised
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Only that employee has been employed 9 years and is currently an assistant manager

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

Please can you provide some more information on the circumstances and explain the situation in some more detail?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Employed 9 years as assistant manager in retail ull-time until 12 months ago when off sick for 12 months due to long term condition as result of surgery which severed vagus nerve. Now on long term pain relief medication etc. Unable to work F/T now on advice of GP and Occupational Health Physician for foreseeable future. Deemed fit for role but can my employer demote me from Assistant Manager role if they need the role to be F/T

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Unable to call

Many thanks for your patience. If an employee is disabled under law they will have relatively strong protection under the Equality Act 2010. Apart from the general protection that they should not be treated detrimentally because of their condition, the employer also has a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they will be placed at a substantial disadvantage.

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

In this case the reasonable adjustment should be to move you to the other role without your status or pay being affected.they can only demote you or reduce your pay if they had the contractual right to do so. If they did not, it can amount to a breach of contract and potential disability discrimination.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
but if my hours are to be reduced, have they the right to demote me?

No they should not do that because it would amount to unfavourable treatment because of the disability. Hope this clarifies?

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