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My legal right to refuse a certain driving route due to PTSD issues

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Hello anyone who is an employment law specialist. I've been working for my company for a little over three years now as a driver. (I don't want to say to much about it in case it identifies me, as I know certain work colleagues use this site). I've worked hard and diligently for those three years without any issue.


However, last week I was put on a ridiculous route that I hadn't been trained for and despite saying this before, and doing my best during, I still made a massive mistake that could potentially see the company fined a shedload of money. So, naturally, my boss went mad and called me into an unofficial meeting.


I suffer from complex PTSD. This is something I chose never to reveal on my yearly review health form, because I find it embarrassing personally, and also my boss is 'a good ole boy' who's opinion is 'man up' and get the job done.


In the meeting I stood my ground and politely, calmly, professionally explained to him that it wasn't 100% my fault because I'd never been trained on the operating system of this new van, on this new route, to access places I had no idea where to deliver to. He went crazy. I told him, again calmly and politely, that after 3 years of diligent work I'm happy to continue to do any of the 15 out of 16 shifts - but for my own mental health I'm refusing to do THAT 16th shift which I failed in.


Again he went unprofessionally aggressive - "I will not have my drivers laying down their terms to me, if you don't like it FFF off, I'll have you rota'd to do it every day next week if I choose, in fact I think I will...." etc.


I was faced with the choice in the moment of grabbing my ankles and apologising for things that weren't my fault, or standing up for myself and losing my job. My ass is still sore from choosing the former course of action.


My question is, can he indeed simply 'fire' me for refusing to do this shift, whilst I'm happy to do any other of over 15 others? Would it be helpful to explain, backed up with medical notes, that he needs to make special adjustments for my 'disability' due to my PTSD as to why I'll not be doing that particular shift however much he gets busy with his pen on the rota sheet?


My feeling is I could 'win the battle; lose the war' - I might be able to force him through DDA or ET to take me off that shift, but it will inevitably lead to such a souring of day-to-day personal relationships as to force me to leave quick-smart anyway.


Apologies for rambling a bit, but I hope anyone with knowledge can get the gist enough to advise.


Thank you in advance....

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well, you're not going to get far expecting him to make reasonable adjustments for something he doesn't know about


but neither will you get far admitting you lied on your health forms - breakdown of trsut happening right there could lead to dismissal


it sounds like you and this boss are not a match made in heaven, and drivers are in short supply nationally, so there's an obvious solution

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Thanks for the reply Emmzi.


I guess you are probably right, but having done this job for so long I'm scared of change, and this is part of my MH condition.


I enjoy it, (well, more than any other job I've had in my 30 years of jobs! ha!) and I genuinely like my work colleagues and I think they like me too. I would be very reluctant and sad to just walk away over what, in reality, should be an easily resolved minor issue.


But my boss is a real "[removed]" - if you understand what i mean, so any challenge to his managerial god-like omnipotence is met with Thor's hammer!!



He's actually not a bad person, but when pushed into a corner because he's a bit thick he comes out fighting like a rat.


Also, just to add

- on my original health form after being offered the job I did put "Anxiety".

So maybe that would help my case.

(I've subsequently been diagnosed with Complex PTSD

- from an event that happened way back in 1994).



with all the stigma surrounding MH,

I was even reluctant to put 'anxiety' because I desperately needed the job at the time and didn't want to give them any excuse to choose the next guy!


I don't want to leave this job, but I CANNOT do this particular shift and it looks like he will force my hand.



Does anyone have any real world advice on my rights when he does please?

Edited by dx100uk
merge/space + naughty word removal - dx
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I would guess your contract has something about "carry out reasonable instructions" and unless you can show why it is unreasonable, you're probably looking at conduct followed by dismissal if you do it a second time


Rights will only come into it if you are prepared to show your hand probably with an occupational health referal and all that entails.


So, you need to choose which risk you want to take.


Is there any way you could get comfortable with the route? Going out with another driver maybe? On your day off if you don't want boss to know. Beta blockers? CBT? "cannot" is a very strong term before you have tried anything to help. Bosses do not like "cannot" and you may in turn get "it is a requirement of the job that all drivers are flexible to cover all routes." If it is a smaller employer then the "reasonable" barrier for reasonable adjustments is quite low.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Fair advice again, thank you.

Yep, that's pretty much exactly what my supervisor said.

(Supervisor is a great person and one step between me and the boss).


I was just hoping for some sort of 'rabbit in the hat' knowledge from you that would simply get me out of having to endure this shift.


I don't want to go into details, but there is something about this particular route and where it drives past that 'triggers' my PTSD, whilst no other route ever does.


It's a long and boring story, and I guess in this age of disposable work force I just have to suck it up or move on - which I will do.


A shame though.

Edited by dx100uk
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I perfectly understand your situation.

15 years ago i was run over by a car and up to last year i would drive a much longer route to avoid passing that spot.

When i mentioned it to my friend in his car he drove past that spot reassuring me that nothing would happen and in fact nothing happened.

A couple of days later he was with me in my car and the short route to where we were going was passing from there.

I was gonna take the longer route but he convinced me to drive past there and face my fear.

I did and nothing happened.

I now drive past that spot regularly and despite always remembering the incident, i am not afraid anymore.

You could try the same thing with someone you can trust and see if it helps

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