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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 73475
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My probation was due to end today in my job, however,

Customer Question

My probation was due to end today in my job, however, yesterday I informed my manager I was struggling with my severe anxiety and depression (which she already knew about but I was not feeling well at all) and could I have an adjustment at work. I did not state what adjustment or for how long and was hoping she would discuss this further with me. Before speaking with me, went ahead and extended my probation last minute by 3 months. Can she do this? I feel discriminated against for having mental health.
JA: Have you discussed this discrimination issue with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee. Yes I have joined a union
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No thanks
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
She previously told me I had passed my 6 month probation and she would be putting it through as a pass on Thursday 29th April. When I then mentioned the following day about how I was currently struggling and could I have some adjustments, she contacted me a few hours later telling me that she has had to extend my probation last minute and that it would be extended by the maximum of 3 months. She went on to tell me that maybe this job isn’t for me. She has been aware of my mental health from the start and the fact that I have CBT therapy. The job itself hasn’t caused my anxiety, it is a severe condition that I have had for some years. It was just part of my job role is telephony based with vulnerable customers. I did not state that I wouldn’t go on the phones, I just asked for an adjustment and she has extended my probation before even asking how I am or how they can help me. Which has made my anxiety and depression worse. I have completed my job role fully up until 29th April 2021 and my probation end date was 1st May 2021. Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 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 12 days ago.

What do you specifically want to know about this, please? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Have I been unfairly treated? Is extending my probation by 3 months reasonable? Can they extend my probation despite being told I had passed my probation? Because it was assumed that I would not under take my full job role, before speaking to me first to ask what adjustments would help. Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Thank you. How are you disadvantaged by being on extended probation – do you get inferior terms whilst on probation?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I was informed that my annual leave would be affected and I don’t get as much leave. And more checks on my job tasks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Ok thanks. Whilst a probationary period can be extended before it has been officially completed, you have to consider what the employer’s reasons for doing so are. If you believe it is due to your mental health, that could amount to potential discrimination.

However, you need to first be able to show that you are disabled to get protection against that. The legal definition of a ‘disability’ can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that can qualify. Potentially, any condition or ailment can amount to a disability if it meets the required criteria.

That criteria are contained in The Equality Act 2010, which 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 and examine it in more detail below:

- Physical or mental impairment – this can include practically any medical condition, be it a physical or mental impairment

- Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial

- Long-term - 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. shopping, reading and writing, having a conversation or using the telephone, watching television, getting washed and dressed, preparing and eating food, carrying out household tasks, walking and travelling by various forms of transport, and taking part in social activities)

Please also take a look at this detailed guide on determining if you are disabled:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/discrimination-at-work/checking-if-its-discrimination/check-if-youre-disabled-under-the-equality-act/

If a person satisfies the necessary criteria, they will be classified as being disabled in a legal sense and will have automatic protection against discrimination. This means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability.

If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments, that would potentially amount to disability discrimination, which is unlawful. The first step to try and deal with this would be to raise a formal grievance.

If the grievance does not have the desired effect and the discrimination continues, a claim may have to be made for disability discrimination in the Employment Tribunal. The most important requirement with that is it must be submitted within 3 months of the alleged discriminatory act taking place. The next steps to start the process would be to initiate what is known as an ‘early conciliation’ procedure through ACAS, either online by filling in the following form (https://tell.acas.org.uk/find-a-solution-to-your-employment-dispute), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 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.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you very much for your help.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best