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Shielding, is this discrimination?

dottieddottied Member Posts: 1 Listener
Hi
I am currently shielding but working from home part time. I’ve been with the company for over 5 years. Some extra hours have become available and I’d asked to go full time (something that they’ve been asking me to do for awhile - I was always planning to do this once my child reached high school age & my employer was happy to wait). I had discussions with my line manager who was in agreement that she’d like me to work full time. 3 weeks ago, a more junior line manager has been appointed to supervise us. Following discussions with them, the new manager has refused my request to increase my hours ‘because she needs the full time hours to go to someone that’s actually going to be in the office’. I am only working from home due to shielding and due to return to work on the 1st April. Does anyone know if this is classed as discrimination? 
Many thanks! 

Replies

  • Sandy_123Sandy_123 Member Posts: 893 Pioneering
    edited February 25
    Hi @dottied have you any written corrispondance or documentation to that agreement with your previous manager? Plus do you have written confirmation  of that from the  new manager, being their reason is because of you shielding, that you are not getting the extra hours?
    If so, from the new manager, then it comes under equal opportunities, discrimination laws. 
    https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act-2010/what-equality-act#:~:text=An introduction to the Equality Act 2010&text=The Act provides a legal,fair and more equal society.
     
    You are going to have to evidence that, if it is not in writing by the managers, I dare say be hard to prove. Maybe contact your union if you have one. Also you could put a grievance in writing.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 8,727 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there and welcome 

    It may not be discrimination as it depends on the reasons why they need someone who is office based 

    E.ployers only have to consider reasonable adjustments under the equality act and this may not be reasonable eg if the extra hours involves completing a task that can only be done in the office then if would be reasonable to give those hours to someone who is there or how would the task get done ? 

    However it would be reasonable to offer you the hours on your return if they could cover them temporary 

    I suggest you put in a grievance in the first instance in writing and see what comes of that 


  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 3,200

    Scope community team

    Hi @dottied

    I'm sorry you're request to do extra hours was refused.  I know how frustrating that must feel.  Echoing some of the comments received above, Scope's Disability discrimination at work webpage advises to take the follow steps where discrimination might be taking place:

    What you can do if you face discrimination
    1. Start with a chat
    If you face discrimination at work, talk to a manager as soon as possible.

    2. Raise a grievance
    If you cannot resolve this informally, try raising a grievance. This is a complaint that should follow your employer's formal procedure. Ask HR if you do not know where to find information about it.
    Raising a grievance usually involves writing a letter with details of the discrimination. Your employer’s grievance policy should explain what you need to do. It will also tell you how long each stage of the procedure should take. If you are unfairly treated for raising a grievance, this is also discrimination.

    3. Get independent advice
    If raising a grievance does not help, seek advice. Your union may be able to help you or act as a mediator.
    Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides free, impartial advice on all workplace issues. 

    4. Make a claim for disability discrimination
    If mediation fails, you can make a claim for disability discrimination.
    Make a claim at an employment tribunal (GOV.UK)
    Tribunals are a last resort and can be stressful. Think carefully before going ahead. The time limit for making a discrimination claim at a tribunal is 3 months less a day from the date when the discrimination happened.
    Keep notes of any conversations and copies of any emails so you can show that you tried to follow your employer's procedures and find a solution.
    Time limits for making a discrimination claim in the employment tribunal (Citizens Advice)
    Please keep us posted and good luck :) 
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  • franklinbillfranklinbill Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Not so sure if this is discrimination because the new manager knows little or nothing about your agreement with the previous manager. I think if you can still get in touch with your original employer, try to do so and explain everything to him. I think he is in the best position to help you with this
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,833 Disability Gamechanger
    If a new manager knows nothing about an agreement then that's on them. That agreement would be part of your T&Cs and they ought to know. Interesting example though but certainly not clear cut. 

    I'm not clear for instance whether the extra hours are for the same role or a different one. It's also not clear whether, as has been observed, it's essential that those extra hours have to be office based and whether, in deciding that, consideration was given to the impact of that on those staff who might immediately be excluded from consideration for example because of shielding, caring responsibilities, travel issues and so on. 

    I would echo the response from @Cher_Scope here but only the first part of it. There is a danger here that a basic piece of miscommunication which might easily be resolved is turned into a full on confrontation basically for want of a simple one to one conversation. 

    Have the conversation. Talk to the new manager. Gently explain the full circumstances and your concerns. Give them the opportunity to explain what they knew; what they're thinking; whether any of these issues have even been brought to their attention or whether they've been basically dumped on from a great height. At the moment you know nothing and, in order to know something, you need the conversation to obtain basic facts. If you feel unable to have that conversation then that says something about your current level of anxiety and your preparedness to do extra hours. 
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