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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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One of our staff (who is pregnant ) asked us about 2 weeks

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one of our staff (who is pregnant ) asked us about 2 weeks ago if she could cut her hours as we work a late night on Thursdays till 7 we said we would look into it for her, In the meantime we have discovered that she has crossed herself out without any permission from 6 onwards on her own accord.
what is my legal position? has she broken her contract ? can I fire her? do I have to warn her... can I cut her hours down even more..

Hello how long has she worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
4/5 years on a 4 day week recently asked for 5 day week which we gave her
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
she is 10 weeks into pregnancy

It is unlikely that you can dismiss her just for that. Whilst her crossing her name out from the rota would likely be a misconduct offence, in the circumstances it would be very risky to dismiss her, especially considering she is pregnant and could try and find a link between this and the pregnancy. I would say that you should consider disciplining her but issuing her with a warning rather than dismissal.

In terms of cutting her hours down, be very careful with that too – she is after all contracted to do specific hours and cutting these will amount to a potential breach of contract on your part. And also if there is a link between this and the pregnancy, for example you penalising her for her initial request to reduce her hours by going even further and reducing them more than what she had asked for, it could be discrimination.

I would therefore recommend that you discipline her for the changes in the rota, issue her with a warning but do not deliberately reduce her hours for more than what she has asked.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do I have to agree to her request for a shorter evening can I say ask her to start later in the morning

You do not have to agree to it if there is a business reason why this is not possible. There are limited grounds n which you can reject her request and I can discuss these further with you as a follow up question to make sure you use the allowed reasons and ensure everything is done legally. So if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page, I can then continue with this matter for no extra charge, thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you much appreciated

Thank you. When a formal flexible working request is made, an employer can only reject it on a limited number of grounds. These are:

· 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

In addition, the employer has a duty to explain their rejection in writing. They must state why the specific business ground applies in the circumstances and include the key facts about their decision. These should be accurate and relevant to the reason used.