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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 70900
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been asked to work at the weekend with days in lieu

Customer Question

Hello,
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: I have been asked to work at the weekend with days in lieu as a replacement day. I have asked initially if this is voluntary or contractual and been advised it is voluntary. I have declined the opportunity advising I have been struggling to sleep as work has been very pressurised during Covid 19. I work for a logistics business nd weekends are a time to recuperate and spend time with my family . I have then been advised to strongly reconsider this decision a week or so ago. With the suggestion anecdotally that it would be "career suicide". I reaffirmed my position then no further correspondence has taken place. I have then been told today that my feedback has been pushed up to the top of our company. The response to not work does not fall into line with the companies core values and that if I do not change my decision I will /could be taken into a disciplinary process as this would fail to confirm to a reasonable management request. What are my options here please? Apologies a long one. I did request to have the message shared in writing but was advised to write it down myself.
JA: Have you discussed the disciplinary action with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Not yet it took place this afternoon. It is my manager who has delivered this message. I am set to contact our HR team through their portal shortly.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Full time employee. As far as I am aware I am not aligned to a union.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No that is essentially everything.
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

How long have you worked there for? Please note this is not always an instant service so I may not be able to reply immediately. Rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you the same day. Thanks

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
6 years joining date 14.01.2014
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 14 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. Can I just check what your contract states about this please, such as what your working hours are or what you can be asked to work by the employer?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
let me gather this information and share in due course
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi I have requested a copy fo the contract via the HR portal we have so will share in due course.
Regards
Will
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Thanks for the update

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hi there, any luck with the contract, please? I can only keep this open for up to 7 days before I provide an answer without it, many thanks

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hello, Sorry for the delay our HR dept has a portal with a 72 hour lead time hopefully it should be received shortly.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 days ago.

Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Without the requested information, I can only provide you with the following general response, which will hopefully still answer your query.

The key will be what your contract says and whether there is anything in there which states that the employer can ask you to work weekends or any other similar wording which can include this, such as ‘reasonable overtime’. It is all about the contents of that contract and the employer’s ability to dictate your working days or to request that you work extra hours as and when required by them.

In the event that they are not allowed to do this, what they are asking of you will be an unreasonable request and it is something you can challenge them over, such as by raising a grievance to start with. Your next steps will very much depend on what path the employer talks, such as whether they discipline you and dismiss you, or just discipline you with a warning and make your life difficult.

The former will allow you to consider an unfair dismissal claim, whereas the latter could prompt you to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

Either way, you can make a claim int eh Employment Tribunal if needed, but if it gets to that It is also worth mentioning that there is a possible alternative solution to this, which could avoid the need for legal action. That is where the employer is approached on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record and with protection against these discussions being brought up in future legal proceedings) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. This can be done by asking for a meeting, or it can be done in writing, via letter or email. Under a settlement 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 the Employment Tribunal. However, it is an entirely voluntary process and the employer does not have to participate in such negotiations or agree to anything. There is nothing to lose by approaching this subject with the employer and testing the waters on this possibility - 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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.