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advice999

Urgently need your advice for a family member having issues at work

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Hi everyone.

Thanks very for a great forum with so much wealth of information. I'm hoping someone could give me some advice on current on-going issues  a family member is having with an employer and getting extremely stressed with the situation. They are  currently so stressed out, that I've had to write this on their behalf and with their permission.

I'll give you a bit of background, but will try to keep it as brief as possible, but there has been a lot going on, so please bear with me.

Health

  • Has multiple mental and physical health problems - deafness, depression, stress, anxiety, low confidence, stuttering, backache, bells palsy - some I can't mention as I'm restricted with what I'm allowed to share.
  • Has been on medication all their life and  sees various consultants for these issue
  •  

Past Employment

 

  • Has been working with the same large organisation for  years in one dept as a typist worker. This dept was very empathetic and after an occupational health report, they were very supportive in providing reasonable adjustments, such as time-off for appts, late start at work due to medication side-effects, reduced workload and part-time hours etc. This allowed  to excel in the role and actually exceed the minimum requirements and management were very pleased with this. Applied for a promotion in a different dept for a full-time role and succeeded. The role wasn't for a typist, but without stating too much, it still involves 99% working-time on computers.


Current Employment

 

  • Started  new role about 4 months ago. But before  actually started the new role, the old manager met up and explained the conditions and reasonable adjustments to the new manager as they are all in the same building and same floor.
  •  
  • However upon starting the role, the new manager advised that due to it being a totally new role, any reasonable-adjustments, bar the break-times, would be withdrawn, as he believed that the new role was totally different and also he felt occupational health needed to reassess employees health, in order for him to decide what reasonable-adjustments he should make. Family member complained, but eventually reluctantly agreed as they assumed that the manager was doing what was best for her.
  •  
  • Whilst awaiting for the occupational health report though, within a short frame of time, family member started to become ill, such as feeling very stressed, sleepless nights, anxiety. felt this was due to the current pressures of the role, due to it being full-time and due to the reasonable adjustments being withdrawn.
  •  
  • Family member decided to do what they felt was right and spoke to the new manager about their problem, expecting some empathy and support. However the manager turned against them and after their private meeting, he wrote an email stating that family member was not willing to take responsibilities or wanting to work the current role. Basically the email twisted everything thatthey had told him. It was eventually agreed that they would wait until the occupational health report came through before deciding next course of action.
  •  
  • However around 1 week before the occupational health report was due, the manager called family member  into a meeting and advised that although the report hadn't been released, he preempted that it may state reduction of hours and responsibilities and if it did, he said that he would block this request from the occupational expert on the basis of business needs. He also said that family member would be blocked from unreasonable flexible hours, even though this role could be worked at anytime during the week, day or night and she also was denied to work from home until  fully trained, even though most training is completed and they only need to ask occasional questions which can be done via skype chats and emails.
  •  
  • Felt very stressed out and unwell, so after speaking to their gp,  went on sick leave.
  •  
  • When feeling better,  returned back to work, but now he's  giving family member the cold shoulder treatment, whilst being friendly with the rest of the team. Sometimes he's nice, but most of the times, he ignores . This is making  life hell and already has been off-sick due to this. All the family member wants to do is get on with their work.
  •  
  • Even though he has since received the report, he's not informing family member of his decision and delaying answering it as much as possible.  This has left her in a limbo and anxious.

 

 

  1. I would be very grateful if you could you please help give us any advice for this?
  2. What do you make of this situation?
  3. Do you think what he's doing is fair or is it discrimination?
  4. What is the law for this kind of scenario?
  5. What should she do?


 

Thanks very much and I eagerly look forward to your reply.

Advice999

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One question must be asked and it's a brutal one:

Can they really do this new work?

Or have they been pushed to promotion by  nice ex manager who now got rid of her with a smile?

It's a poker game and the nice manager might be the one who screwed  your family member, while the nasty manager is now in deep waters because of the adjustments that he might not be able to provide without losing ground (and bonus)

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Hi king12345. 

 

I think it's a very fair question and one that I asked only recently.  The answer to that is a resounding yes, if reasonable adjustments were in place. The proof is clearly in the previous job role, that once they got the RA,  did exceptionally well in her role and exceeded many colleagues too.

 

To be honest, they applied for the job out of their choice and not because someone had recommended or pushed her towards. 

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you say part time hours is a reasonable adjustment and then say " They applied for a promotion in a different dept for a full-time role and succeeded."

 

These two things don't align neatly in law. The time to check the flex is before taking the job, not after...?

 

Honestly I'd ask for the old job back if it hasn't been filled. 

 

Your questions seem to seek clear cut responses. Everything in this area is grey and opinion.... only the court define "reasonable", and if you have to get to that stage to get something workable, it's failed already.


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 Emmzzi,

 

Unfortunately the old position is not available anymore. 

 

Regarding the F/T position - The job ad  stated that although the position was F/T, there maybe a chance of P/T if that's what the applicant wanted.  However, they didn't intend to go P/T, hence they didn't to ask the vacancy holder.  Also the report has clearly stated recommendation of less hours and other adjustments.  Having said this, it's not simply about reduced hours, but it's about the whole situation, i.e. the problems with management not allowing for a fair chance of discussions and her manager giving them the snub, whilst having a great time with the rest of the team - I personally see this as harassment and victimisation, but that's my own opinion.

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You can never tell if it’s harrassment from a one sided second hand account though....


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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So where do they go from here? 

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I’m hoping the union. People with complex employment needs should be in a union.

 

if not, HR for mediation. Because as soon as you make it a fight, someone loses.


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 Emmzzi. 

 

I will speak to them and see what they think. 

 

I appreciate your time in helping us. 

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sorry to hear about the problems but it is an unfortunate thing that people often get promoted and cant cope with the new job for reasons that may have nothing to do with qualifications or personal attributes.

i visited a large science lab once and the person doing the washing up used to be the lab manager- he just couldnt cope with the promotion and took a lowly position to see out his last year to preserve his pension.

 

Now the new manager appears to not want to understand and seems quite rigid but as someone else has said, they may be under enormous pressure to hit targets and dont have the necessaries to nurture your family member to reach their full potential.

 

taking up another point is why did the employers interviewers not determine whether they were really suitable for the role at the time and save everyone this  bother now?

 

If they were happy in the last position then perhaps they should ask for it back

 

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From your OP it sounds as if the new manager only learned that your family member needed adjustments when the old manager told him.

 

Is that right?  Surely your family member would have raised the need for adjustments at interview?  (Sorry - I don't know how this sort of scenario is meant to be handled by the employer.  Sounds a bit like the new manager has been lumbered...)

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Ericsbrother - The old position is not available anymore. 

 

Manxman - I'm very surprised that you're using words such as being lumbered.  Would you say the same if someone was in a wheelchair?

 

Firstly family member has a disability/protected characteristics, hence under the law has equality rights and secondly the new manager was informed in advance of the conditions well before the start date. Thirdly if the manager finds he's been (in your words) lumbered, then surely he's discriminating and if can't handle it, then that's his problem?

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I apologise - lumbered is not a suitable word.

 

You said in your OP that before taking up the new role (but presumably after being appointed) the old manager met up with the new manager to explain your family member "...conditions and reasonable adjustments..." 

 

Now this may not be what you intended to say, but to me, that implied that this was the first the new manager knew of the conditions and reasonable adjustments, otherwise why say it?  What I'm suggesting is that those are issues that should have been raised and assessed at a far earlier stage, before they was appointed to the new post.  (I note you say the new manager was aware of the situation before they started, but you don't say they were aware before appointment?)  Adjustments that were both reasonable and available in the old post may not be in the new post.  Certainly where I used to work job applicants (including internal ones) were asked if they had a disability before interview.  If I were applying for a job and had a disability, and the employer did not ask such a question, I would declare it myself to avoid the likelihood of future problems like those experienced by your family member. 

 

But I don't know how your they were appointed, what they were asked, and what they said.  You don't say.

 

It wasn't clear from your OP that your family member definitely had a protected characteristic (not all mental and physical conditions amount to a disability). 

 

 

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No worries. It's okay. 

 

Not 100% sure, but I think under the equality act, employers cannot ask if a person has a disability as it would be discrimination. But due to their physical characteristics they could see for themselves.  But no questions about their health issues were raised. 

 

Here's what acas website states:

 

The two types of discrimination specific to disability

When it comes to job interviews and the recruitment process, an employer must take particular care regarding job applicants' health and any disability.

This is to prevent employers discriminating against individuals with health conditions. Job offers should be made on the basis of merit.

As a result, there are laws on what and when an employer can ask about an applicant's health.

However, an employer should ask applicants if they need any 'reasonable adjustments', sometimes also called 'access requirements', for any part of the recruitment process. But an employer should take care not to confuse this as being the same as asking a candidate whether he or she is disabled.

And if an applicant volunteers information about a disability or health condition, interviewers should take particular care not to follow this up with further questions about it or let it influence their recruitment decisions, apart from in very limited and set circumstances.

Asking about health matters in interviews

So what can employers ask about health matters before making a job offer?

There are only four circumstances under the Equality Act in which it is allowed, and they apply to interviews, questionnaires and all other selection methods. They are:

  1. To find out if an applicant can carry out a function that's essential to the role. This could also be to help employers work out if an applicant could do the function with reasonable adjustments made for them.
  2. To take 'positive action' to assist applicants with disabilities. Employers may take steps to remove barriers or disadvantages and give support and encouragement to employees and job applicants with disabilities. But they'll have to show that other groups aren't discriminated against as a result.
  3. For monitoring purposes so that employers know the diversity of candidates. This is usually done without revealing an applicant's identity and not as part of selection decisions.
  4. To check a candidate has a specific disability where having such is a genuine requirement of the job. Such 'occupational requirements' are governed by their own rules under the Equality Act, and cannot just be down to an employer's preferences.

Offering a job

Having offered a job, an employer may ask appropriate health-related questions, but must still be careful not to be discriminatory.

The same goes for any health checks an employer subsequently undertakes - for example, singling out disabled people for health checks is likely to be discriminatory.

And if an employer withdraws a conditional job offer, it is advised to keep records of the reasons in case the matter leads to a discrimination claim.

 

 

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Hi OP,

 

just from what you have told us, they need reduced targets and hours - that's not doing the whole job.

 

The employer would not be "forced" to accommodate that, it's not "reasonable" to pay all of the wage for part of the work.

 

I think you may need to take a step back - you seem able to see this from one side only, which is understandable, but will not help your family member.


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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Emmzzi - I totally understand both sides mate and regarding the pay.... they are not  expecting full wages, if the hours were reduced, then so will the wages, which they are willing to accept. 

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Thank you - my wording was clumsy and thoughtless.

 

I'm not familiar with the ACAS website.  I presume what it says is accurate, but I'm surprised that what it says (or what you've quoted*) only refers to "reasonable adjustments" as a part of "the recruitment process", and not in relation to adjustments to do the job.  Maybe they are meant to be the same and it's just poorly expressed.  If adjustments are not reasonable from the POV of the employer, this may not become an issue until after the applicant has been appointed and then opens a can of worms.

 

Yes - what I referred to in the NHS asking about disability is, I think used for monitoring purposes, not selection.  Although for some NHS posts applicants are "guaranteed" an interview if they have a disability.  (Not sure if those two sentences are contradictory or not?  May have changed since I worked in the NHS).

 

* I presume that part of the website only deals with discrimination during selection, not about reasonable adjustments post appointment.  Your sister doesn't appear to have been discriminated against during selection, so it's a question of what's reasonable to enable her to do the job.  What was reasonable in her previous post may not be in the new one.  I don't know.

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