How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49836
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

Having worked for the same company for 34 years about 6 years

This answer was rated:

Having worked for the same company for 34 years about 6 years ago a 6-2/2-10 shift pattern was introduced,i did this for only a few weeks as i had to have a partial knee replacement. After returning to work i was kept on a 7.30-4.30 regular day shift and have worked this ever since,(i was off work for 6 weeks ).Last week i was aked to go back on shifts including a night shift, 1 week 6-2, 1 week 2-10, 1 week 10-6. about 14 months ago i had a partial replacement to my other knee, i still suffer pain in both knees and other joints and take regular pain medication. i feel that shift work will be detramental to my health and well being. can they make me do the shifts? I am a maintenance fitter in a textile company with heavy machinery and would be the only maintenance staff on shift.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Would you rather remain working the current hours? NB: as I am in tribunal today there may be a delay in responding but I will certainly get back to you this afternoon, thanks

I would like to remain on regular days 7.30-4.30

Ben Jones :

Thank you very much for your patience. Your rights will largely depend on whether you can be classified as disabled in law. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled for legal purposes, they need to establish whether they meet the legal definition of ‘disability’.


The Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) 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, including progressive conditions and mental conditions such as depression;

  • 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 are not defined but would include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. eating, washing, driving, walking, shopping, etc.)


If a person satisfies the above elements, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated less favourably 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 of what could amount to a reasonable adjustment:

  • 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.


So if you believe that you are disabled according to the above definition you can argue that your employer should be making reasonable adjustments and that one of these would be to adjust your hours to accommodate your needs. Even if you are not disabled your employer has a duty to try and ensure you health and safety in the workplace and if there is anything that is likely to expose you to an increased risk then they should do their best to avoid or at least minimise that.


Finally, you have worked set hours for the last several years. It is likely that these hours would have become your implied contractual terms and by attempting to change them now your employer is basically going to be changing your contractual terms and conditions. They cannot really do this without your consent, consulting with you or even terminating your contract and offering you a new one with the new terms.


So if you are being treated less favourably because of your disability or your employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (bearing in mind that the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory behaviour taking place).

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you


Hi Ben


The advise you have given has made me feel more positive and will help me with my problem, if I need more advise I will come back to you




Phil Hampshire

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you