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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71386
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been off work since july with a sleep disorder i

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I have been off work since july with a sleep disorder i asked to be put on furlough as my results are delay because of covid lockdown i have been told no even though in march before lockdown another engineer was off sick but was then put on furlough i feel discriminated against as we are of different nationalitys
JA: Have you discussed this discrimination issue with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I have with hr all they say is the other engineer had underlined health problems
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am paye not in a union
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

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.

How do you know this is because of your nationality?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
I dont know it but i feel discriminated against as i am white British and the other engineer i asian
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Prefer messaging at the moment

Thank you. Is there any evidence at all that suggests race was a determining factor?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
The same scenario for both of us. If it was the other way round would it be classed as discrimination without questions being asked

Not necessarily, I mean it could easily be a coincidence in either scenario as it could still be easily down to other factors, which have nothing to do with race. So that is why at the moment, without any specific evidence, it is a bit of a stab in the dark in the hope it may be the reason.

The first and most important thing to appreciate is that furlough is not an employee’s right and there is no ‘right to be furloughed’. It is simply an option open to employers to use as they see fit and the Government has entrusted them fully to decide as and when furlough needs to be applied. Therefore, even if an employee meets all the criteria to be eligible for furlough, the employer can still decide not to do so and they cannot challenge that decision (unless it was made on discriminatory grounds such as because of gender, age, race, religion, etc).

So you could raise this issue with them about the alleged discrimination but bear in mind that it is certainly not a strong claim so far with the absence of evidence to back it up.

You can still raise a grievance about it though if you wanted to. You can get a detailed explanation of the grievance process here:

https://www.acas.org.uk/grievance-procedure-step-by-step

In summary, an employee is expected to submit their concerns in writing and send them to their line manager, or whoever is nominated as the person to send grievances to under an official workplace grievance policy.

The complaint should include details of what the grievance is about, any evidence that may exist which is relevant and also what the employee wants their employer to do about this issue.

Once the grievance has been submitted, the employer is expected to arrange a formal grievance hearing, inviting the employee to attend and discuss the nature of their complaint. The meeting is also as an opportunity to ask for further clarification or information, as required.

Following the meeting, the employer will take time to consider all the issues and evidence and then make a decision, communicating it to the employee. If the outcome is not to the complainant’s satisfaction, they can appeal and get a second opinion from a different person assigned by the employer to consider the appeal. Once the appeal is also completed, that brings to an end the formal grievance process and there is no option to escalate it further internally.

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.

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