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Employer not supporting employee with Long term medical condition. Advice needed?

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I wonder if any one can help.

 

My husband works as a Chef, he has been working as a chef for over 20 years.

he has a medical Condition Called Menierse disease.

 

He has had it about 5 years.

It causes him to have attacks where he colapses, becomes extremely, dizzy, vomits and he can’t stand up.

He has to take medication when he has a attack and ends up in bed for 3-7days.

After an attack he is left feeling very tired.

 

He does not have attacks that often, but they are normally triggered by stress, being over worked and tired among other things.

 

His employer knows about his medical condition but does not seem to care.

They force my husband to work 6-7days a week 10 hours a day whilst every one else gets 2 days and 1/2 days off each week.

 

They were working him so much that by end of November he had a attack, luckily he had just started his holiday so did not need to take any time off work sick.

He ended up in bed for 4 days.

 

When he went back to work he told them he had had another attack and that he could not continue to work 6-7 days a week and that he needed 2 day off a week.

But they don’t seem to care as they are still making his work 6-7 days a week whilst every one else gets 2 1/2 days off.

He is starting to look unwell and I’m concerned he is going to have another attack soon.

 

Would a doctor be able to write some kind of sick note stating that they need to accommodate his medical condition and that he needs 2 days off a week, or slightly reduced hours for a while.

 

before any one asks he has looked for another Job, he has been looking for a while but have not been able to find any thing.

Quitting is not a option as we need his salary as well as mine to pay bills, we have 4 children to support.

We would never cope on just one salary.

 

On top on this their extraction system, in kitchen is not good, it’s useless and does nothing and when in kitchen all the chefs are breathing in very greasy air.

It’s taking its toll on my husbands health and other staff.

My husband now continually coughs and throat clears, worse when he has just finished work other staff are too, we are worried as to what effect it will have on his health long term.

 

Is there any thing we can do to get employer to emprove condition in kitchen so they are breathing in clean air.

 

any advice much appreciated

thanks in advance

Edited by dx100uk
space/spell

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A couple of things

 

Has he been with the same employer for those 20 years?

 

Has your husband contracted out of the Working Time Regulations? If he hasn't then he cannot be forced to work an average of more than 48 hours per week.If he has opted out in the past, then he can opt back in by giving the relevant written notice. Also, he should be having the rest breaks allowed by law and uninterrupted periods of at least 11 hours between shifts - is he getting adequate rest?

 

Regarding the working conditions this sounds like more of a H&S issue. I am not familiar with the catering industry but would suspect that many kitchens are similarly uncomfortable to work in. I probably already know the answer, but is there a H&S rep at the workplace? There should be a risk assessment relating to extraction systems and a schedule of work completed to clean them and keep them effective. It would be interesting to see whether this is the case. Would fellow workers back your husband up in raising a complaint?

 

Ultimately it may be that your husband has to raise concerns directly with the employer in a formal manner by raising a grievance. This is not likely to make him popular and unfortunately may mark him out as a troublemaker so he will need to watch his back, but once genuine grievances have been raised, especially in connection with H&S or potential breaches of WT regs, then they should take this seriously and respond appropriately


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There are two seperate issues here, one a little easier than the other.

 

As far as the extraction system is concerned, I assume that as a chef your husband has training in n health and safety in the kitchen. So doesn't he know whether the system conforms to requirements? If not, then the obvious place to ask the question would be the environmental health or health and safety inspectorates. An anonymous complaint can't be traced. But the answer may not be what you want, as I assume that the employer has to pass regular checks anyway.

 

The rest is much more problematic, I'm assuming he's not already in a union, and unfortunately it's probably too late to join one as they won't deal with existing problems.

 

I'm also assuming that you already know that working seven days a week isn't lawful, and that there are strict rules about working hours, and even with the flexibility allowed in the regulations, regular seven day weeks won't be legal. But there is no superhero who enforces such things - he has to stand up for himself and say no. Nobody can "force" him to work seven days if he says no. Those rules apply whether or not you have a health condition.

 

I'm familiar with Menieres. So I understand how terrible the attacks can be. It may be considered a disability (long term health conditions are not protected in any way - and unfortunately disability isn't protected much either,), but in the end (a) he still has to stand up for himself and (b) there is a point- and on this amount of information nobody could guess where that falls - at which, if he cannot do the job due to his health, disability or not, the employer could dismiss.

 

Really, right now, it's hard to judge this. Why is he working so many hours? How do they force him to? Why do others not work these hours when he does? Has he actually talked to the employer about all this, and what happened?

 

A doctor might recommend or advise an employer- but they have no right to require it, and the catch would be that they could only do so based on a fit note that says he will be unfit for work if they don't allow it. At which point, the employer can say nov and he's on sick pay only and not in work until he's fit.

 

Yes, actually, I get it's hard, but you really have to redouble the efforts to find alternative employment. You don't have a lot on your side, and any advice we might be able to give will be probably only temporary relief. I seriously doubt, given the what you are describing, and the difficulties of treating Menieres effectively, that this type of employment has a long term anyway. Even if, and it's a very big if, you might one day have a claim for disability discrimination, they aren't easy, they aren't quick, they aren't odds on to win, nobody wins as much as they think if they win - and you are already unemployed by that time anyway!

 

That won't be what you want to hear, but at best anything we could suggest will be a stop gap on the way to somewhere else - and that might be a step best taken in your own time (or in his) whilst you still have time and options.

 

What is he prepared to do to stand up for himself, and is he prepared to take the risk? If the answer is nothing, he needs to find a new job. Sorry.

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Unfortunately the question is what action is he ready, willing or able to take?

 

You say he still needs the job to pay the bills and regrettably that often means not rocking the boat.

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A couple of things

 

Has he been with the same employer for those 20 years?

 

Has your husband contracted out of the Working Time Regulations? If he hasn't then he cannot be forced to work an average of more than 48 hours per week.If he has opted out in the past, then he can opt back in by giving the relevant written notice. Also, he should be having the rest breaks allowed by law and uninterrupted periods of at least 11 hours between shifts - is he getting adequate rest?

 

Regarding the working conditions this sounds like more of a H&S issue. I am not familiar with the catering industry but would suspect that many kitchens are similarly uncomfortable to work in. I probably already know the answer, but is there a H&S rep at the workplace? There should be a risk assessment relating to extraction systems and a schedule of work completed to clean them and keep them effective. It would be interesting to see whether this is the case. Would fellow workers back your husband up in raising a complaint?

 

Ultimately it may be that your husband has to raise concerns directly with the employer in a formal manner by raising a grievance. This is not likely to make him popular and unfortunately may mark him out as a troublemaker so he will need to watch his back, but once genuine grievances have been raised, especially in connection with H&S or potential breaches of WT regs, then they should take this seriously and respond appropriately

 

 

I support this

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Lets consider the last point, there are regulations for air extraction so your hubby needs to take some measurements of the kitchen to determine the air volume and then the amount of air that needs to be replaced will be simple to calculate.

 

the company that installed the system will have left ther makers plate on their kit so he could give them a ring to see what the spec was when new. It may be that it is as simple as replacing filters or resetting the baffles to get the correct air flow. If it wasnt up to spec from the beginning then a letter to the council dept that deals with food hygiene to ask them to have a look would be in order..

 

As others ahve said, Menieres is crippling and incurable, he should seek a consulatation with an expert on it and occupational health to try and see what can be done to minimise its effects. Stress doesnt make it worse but attacks are often positional so changes in how he does things to keep his head level for example may be worth exploring.

 

Does his employer know he has this? If not why not? that can be part of the converasation about working hours and working environment. Beleive me, his boss needs him more than he needs this job

Edited by honeybee13
Paras, typos

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I'm familiar with Menieres. So I understand how terrible the attacks can be. It may be considered a disability (long term health conditions are not protected in any way - and unfortunately disability isn't protected much either,), but in the end (a) he still has to stand up for himself and (b) there is a point- and on this amount of information nobody could guess where that falls - at which, if he cannot do the job due to his health, disability or not, the employer could dismiss.

 

.

 

 

Hi,

 

 

By the way, any physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities is defined as disability

 

 

See https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

 

 

Also see https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/protected-characteristics/what-counts-as-disability/

 

Finally, under section 15 of the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against you because of your disabiity

 

if you can't no longer do your job because of your disability your employer has a duty to make Reasonable Adjustment (see section 20 of the Equality Act 20)

 

 

South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v Billingsley is a case law when there was a failure to make Reasonable Adjustment

 

In Ring v Dansk almennyttigt Boligselskab DAB; Skouboe Werge v Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, the European Court of Justice confirmed that an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments can include an obligation to consider a reduction in hours.

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Finally, under section 44c of the Employment Rights Act 1996, your husband can ask the H & S rep to raise concerns

 

If no H & S rep then your husband can do it himself

 

Section 44 doesn't have much case law but you can view Edwards & Ors v The Secretary of State for Justice UKEAT/0123/14/DM as it would assist

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if you can't no longer do your job because of your disability your employer has a duty to make Reasonable Adjustment (see section 20 of the Equality Act 20)

 

 

they have duty to consider adjustments and decide if they think them reasonable or not... and can reject them if not.


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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Hi,

 

 

By the way, any physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities is defined as disability

 

 

See https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

 

 

Also see https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/protected-characteristics/what-counts-as-disability/

 

Finally, under section 15 of the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against you because of your disabiity

 

if you can't no longer do your job because of your disability your employer has a duty to make Reasonable Adjustment (see section 20 of the Equality Act 20)

 

 

South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v Billingsley is a case law when there was a failure to make Reasonable Adjustment

 

In Ring v Dansk almennyttigt Boligselskab DAB; Skouboe Werge v Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, the European Court of Justice confirmed that an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments can include an obligation to consider a reduction in hours.

There is, as already pointed out, no duty to make reasonable adjustments. Only to consider them. But, equally, got are assuming something not in evidence. Menieres is a longstanding health condition, but it does not qualify as a disability unless it had a substantial impact on day to day activities. The OP had already said that it doesn't and that not only does her partner have few attacks, but Aldi that they normally work seven days a week and very long hours. So not really a substantial impact on normal activities! It is therefore not in evidence that the Equality Act applies.

 

However, that is all irrelevant right now, and will remain so unless the OP comes back to answer some questions. It is not really possible to force someone to work. What we do not understand from the information is why he is working those hours when others are not. They are almost certainly, even if voluntary, unlawful working hours - but the thing that makes them unlawful is the employee refusing to work so many hours, which cannot possibly be contractual hours. What the law says has no relevance if people let the employer do things! If you let an employer conduct themselves in this way, then the law doesn't protect you - there needs to be a complainant!

 

Now what the OP really wanted was a doctor's note to tell the employer to back off. That isn't the way things work, for the reasons that I have already explained. The doctor can advise that he is unfit to work those hours, but a GP cannot make an employer comply, and the risk is that if they declare the employee unfit for working those bouts, that simply hands ammunition for dismissal to the employer.

 

Based on the information given here, the best anyone can do is explain the broad strokes of the law - but we would need context to advise further. And there is certainly no current evidence that there is a disability, and if we are to take the OPs information to date, that would suggest that there isn't one.

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An employer may reject an adjustment however of course what is a reasonable adjustment is determined by the Tribunal, which can obviously include matters which neither the employer nor employee "thought of" or requested.

 

Also bear in mind "day to day activities" does not only include work but also many other things such as gardening and socialising, shopping and so on....

 

I also assume he has signed to confirm he has opted out of Working Time?

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Of course, the problem is that by the time you get to a tribunal, you are usually unemployed, and as I says earlier, tribunal awards are never what people think they will be. That is a risk the employee needs to think about, given they've suggested finding another job has proven impossible.

 

And yes, the qualifier of normal day to day activities is broad, but there is no reason to say that the condition had an impact on any of those things - the hours of work certainly won't allow for those things anyway!

 

I think the problem here is that we are all doing a lot of assuming. Perhaps the OP will come back and answer the questions?

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Yes quite so the main issue tends to be people have been sacked or quit when they bring a claim, or in the alternative they suddenly become redundant/managed out etc when they are "difficult" (or as I like to think of them, people who want to have their legal rights).....

 

As always, the question is what does the OP want to achieve, bearing in mind possible consequences and given the caveat that he can not afford to quit work as they need the income.........

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I agree - people are often managed out because they want to be treated better or differently (but not always, to be fair - I've represented more than one of our members who, in other circumstances, I'd have sacked them myself if not murdered them!). But, as I'm sure you'll agree, people often want "rights" they don't have. Maybe they should have some of those rights. There's a lot of rights I'd like people to have too. But you do have to be careful - unless you don't mind being sacked - that you actually do have the right you are demanding. For example, that whole myth about the right to reasonable adjustments, when the right is to have them considered.

 

I can happily say that I got where I am today by making a total nuisance of myself with my own and other people's employers (and I still do the latter!). But I'm not hiding the fact that a price was paid more than once, and I've been lucky. I've been unfairly dismissed twice (and won that) and been repeatedly refused promotions that I was more than qualified for in favour of people with little or no experience; and had I not moved into the union I'd probably have no career and quite possibly no job either for most of my working life.

 

I took the risk because it mattered to me. Not everyone can or will take that risk; and it doesn't matter that much to most people. I don't like that fact, but that's the nature of the world right now, and the reason our unions are weak. Not liking it doesn't change it though.

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they have duty to consider adjustments and decide if they think them reasonable or not... and can reject them if not.

 

I wonder why people got this misconception, you have to be careful you don't mislead people

 

The Law is quite clear; it is a duty to make reasonable adjustment

 

You have to read the relevant section of the Act (section 20, 21 and 22)

 

20 Duty to make adjustments

 

(1) Where this Act imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments on a person, this section, sections 21 and 22 and the applicable Schedule apply; and for those purposes, a person on whom the duty is imposed is referred to as A.

 

21 Failure to comply with duty

 

(1) A failure to comply with the first, second or third requirement is a failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

(2) A discriminates against a disabled person if A fails to comply with that duty in relation to that person.

(3) A provision of an applicable Schedule which imposes a duty to comply with the first, second or third requirement applies only for the purpose of establishing whether A has contravened this Act by virtue of subsection (2); a failure to comply is, accordingly, not actionable by virtue of another provision of this Act or otherwise.

 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/20

 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/21

 

I have attached the relevant section of the Act, please could you show where you got the information that it is only a duty to consider reasonable adjustment

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I have attached the relevant section of the Act, please could you show where you got the information that it is only a duty to consider reasonable adjustment

 

Sigh. Please read what I actually wrote and not what you think makes a good arguement.

 

I'm here to help people, not to pretend to be a lawyer or points score.


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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Sigh. Please read what I actually wrote and not what you think makes a good arguement.

 

I'm here to help people, not to pretend to be a lawyer or points score.

 

 

I have never said I was a lawyer

 

I only asked that you provide the source of your statement

 

While we try to assist, we also learn (nobody knows everything)

 

Learning also means debunking a myth

 

I have always seen that it assist people greatly when you provide the source of your information as it would give them more confidence

 

That's why I asked for the source of your information

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I have never said I was a lawyer

 

I only asked that you provide the source of your statement

 

While we try to assist, we also learn (nobody knows everything)

 

Learning also means debunking a myth

 

I have always seen that it assist people greatly when you provide the source of your information as it would give them more confidence

 

That's why I asked for the source of your information

 

If the OP asks me, I'll answer, but I've no interest in continuing pointless academic debates with you. And honestly, you do not need to tell me you are not a lawyer, I had worked that out quite some time ago.

 

In this instance, my opinion is that straight forward advice pertinant to the situation at hand is most useful; not a long screed of sample cases, or points of law which are easy for the lay person to misinterpret, which might or might not be useful in a theoretical ET which will probably never come into existence. By the time it gets to ET, you've already lost your job. And debating law with your employer is never a great tactic for getting what you want. We do not live in a fair world. Pragmatism will win out over pendantry in almost every case.

 

I see OP has not been back since they first posted. That's quite common in threads which descend into point scoring and law/case quoting, from my observations. I don't have case law to back that up, by the way, before you ask yet again. And I think driving people off with irrelevant rambles does more harm than good. Again, my opinion.

 

I do wish we could focus more on actual helpful advice, and not long rambling screeds of "what ifs" and cases of dubious relevance that simply confuse the core issues.

 

A simple review of the actual wording of my posts will reveal the point I am making; no sources or cases required, just logic and a basic grasp of language.


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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I entirely agree with every word Emmzzi has said. And I underline.... There is very dangerous advice being offered by Dondada. Follow it at your own risk. Past that, I'm now out on this thread unless the OP returns to provide some requested information.

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I entirely agree with every word Emmzzi has said. And I underline.... There is very dangerous advice being offered by Dondada. Follow it at your own risk. Past that, I'm now out on this thread unless the OP returns to provide some requested information.

 

Point of correction; I never gave any advice

 

I only provide links to the various govt websites and legislation

 

I know the links debunked most of your myths and misconception

 

You have never provided any links to your assertion that there is only a duty to consider reasonable adjustment

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Posted (edited)

I'm closing this thread for now to give everyone a break.

 

Teddybear, if you'd like to answer people's questions and be advised further, please contact one of the site team and we'll reopen the thread for you.

 

HB

Edited by honeybee13
Clarity

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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style="text-align:center;"> Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 257 days.

If you are trying to post a different story then you should start your own new thread. Posting on this thread is likely to mean that you won't get the help and advice that you need.

If you are trying to post information which is relevant to the story in this thread then please flag it up to the site team and they will allow you to post.

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