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H&S in the workplace - reasonable adjustments

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niknak7278
niknak7278 Community member Posts: 85 Pioneering
edited April 14 in Work and employment
**Trigger warning**

Posting obo my stepdaughter. 

My stepdaughter has well documented MH issues and works part time in a care home. One of the new male residents has a DV marker on his care record.   During her shift yesterday her manager assigned her to provide him with personal care, which she refused to do as the resident has already had another carer by the throat, so she doesn’t feel safe.  She’s also a DA surviver and feels triggered.

Her manager told her she’s not allowed to refuse to care for him.

ACAS helpline is now closed for the weekend.  

Is she able to refuse under health and safety or something?

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks

Comments

  • MW123
    MW123 Scope Member Posts: 553 Pioneering
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    @niknak7278

    While employees are generally expected to comply with reasonable management requests, in this specific context, where there are well-documented concerns about resident violence and considering your stepdaughter's mental health vulnerabilities and history as a domestic abuse survivor, her refusal to provide care to this particular resident is justifiable on health and safety grounds.

    Your stepdaughter should formally communicate her concerns to her manager in writing. She should cite the previous incident of violence perpetrated by the resident, her own mental health condition, and the perceived risks to her safety. She can request to be temporarily reassigned to care for other residents until a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted for this specific case.

    Ultimately, the employer bears a legal duty to ensure a safe working environment for all staff. Failure to address legitimate employee health and safety apprehensions after they have been formally raised could potentially expose the employer to further legal action by the employee to escalate the matter through appropriate channels.

    It is important that your stepdaughter documents all communication and actions taken. This will help protect her rights and provide evidence of her reasonable concerns and actions should any disciplinary action be taken against her. Additionally, seeking support from HR  could be beneficial.
  • Rosie_Scope
    Rosie_Scope Posts: 2,911 Scope online community team
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    Hi @niknak7278, sorry to hear your stepdaughter has had these problems at work. Is there anything in her contract that states she can't refuse care should she feel unsafe? 

    As MW suggested above, it would be a really good idea for her to get everything down in writing so that there's a paper trail should anything happen.

    It's definitely worth a call to ACAS tomorrow once the phonelines reopen to see what her rights are and what the next steps are. Is your stepdaughter in a union? Sometimes they can help advise on this kind of thing too.
    Rosie (she/her)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Community member Posts: 85 Pioneering
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    MW123 said:
    @niknak7278

    While employees are generally expected to comply with reasonable management requests, in this specific context, where there are well-documented concerns about resident violence and considering your stepdaughter's mental health vulnerabilities and history as a domestic abuse survivor, her refusal to provide care to this particular resident is justifiable on health and safety grounds.

    Your stepdaughter should formally communicate her concerns to her manager in writing. She should cite the previous incident of violence perpetrated by the resident, her own mental health condition, and the perceived risks to her safety. She can request to be temporarily reassigned to care for other residents until a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted for this specific case.

    Ultimately, the employer bears a legal duty to ensure a safe working environment for all staff. Failure to address legitimate employee health and safety apprehensions after they have been formally raised could potentially expose the employer to further legal action by the employee to escalate the matter through appropriate channels.

    It is important that your stepdaughter documents all communication and actions taken. This will help protect her rights and provide evidence of her reasonable concerns and actions should any disciplinary action be taken against her. Additionally, seeking support from HR  could be beneficial.
    I can’t thank you enough for your comments.

    It’s so reassuring to know that guidance is only a post away.

    I’ll be sure to pass this onto her.

    Thanks again.
  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Community member Posts: 85 Pioneering
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    Hi Rosie,

    Thank you for replying.  I’ll be passing on the info and ask her to phone ACAS tomorrow.

    I’ve not seen her contract but I’ll be asking her to have it to hand along with notes so she can provide as much info as possible.

    Thank you again.
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