Manager is making excuses not to make reasonable adjustments at work. What can I do? — Scope | Disability forum
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Manager is making excuses not to make reasonable adjustments at work. What can I do?

Latin126
Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
edited October 13 in Work and employment
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has any experience of this and can offer me some advice. I have anxiety and occupational health have done an assessment and have confirmed this is a disability under The Equality Act. They have also recommended a number of reasonable adjustments to my employer.

My manager does not like this and are making excuses not to make the adjustments. He is now also taking an aggressive stance and not supporting me and telling me I cannot do my job to the required standard. What can I do ?

Many thanks.

Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,675 Disability Gamechanger
    @Latin126 hi and welcome to scope, I think you need to go back to OH and explain your problems, also perhaps involve HR and if applicable your union.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thanks Woodbine. Does my employer have to make reasonable adjustments do you know ? I have already involved HR and they have not been helpful, basically telling me that it is up to my manager whether adjustments are made or not.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,914 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi 
    Employers only have to consider reasonable adjustments they don't have to put them in place if they are not considered reasonable 

    Eg too costly, not possible,  impact the business or other 

    They should give a reason in writing why they are unable to put in place 

    I would put a complaint in writing that you would like to know why they are unable to implement 

    You can get advice from ACAS and scope has information on reasonable adjustments 
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thanks Janer. The adjustments I have asked for are all minor and therefore should be seen as being reasonable. Eg. Additional support during stressful periods, allow me to go to medical appointments and allow me to use my annual leave in an effective way to recharge. They all cost the business nothing. Will my employer need to justify why they cannot make these adjustments?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 24,839 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,
    What additional support are you asking for during stressful periods? 
    What do you mean by “use your annual leave in an effective way?”
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Poppy, in terms of stressful periods, I am asking for more guidance and support from my managers in terms of managing my work load or temporarily reallocating some tasks. In terms of annual leave, I am asking to be able to spread my annual leave more evenly throughout the holiday year.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,914 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again 

    Is annual leave taken at anytime during the year or are there restricted times 

    I can't see why it would be a problem as long as you follow the procedure for booking leave

    Extra support could also be a possibility but depending on the impact this would have on the business 
    Eg if someone else would have to take on extra work or they had to employ another person it could be unreasonable 

    They should give reason why they are unable to accommodate the adjustment 
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Janer. Annual leave can be taken at anytime of the year as long as reasonable notice is given. I always give at least one month's notice

    The support  for work is around guidance and support.

    Ever since my employer has received the occupational health report, I am afraid they appear to have taken an aggressive stance. Instead of offering support, they appear to have taken away support and been very critical of my work. This didn't happen before the occupational health assessment .
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Some clarity of roles is useful here. 

    OH - can offer advice on whether you’re covered by EA 10 and suggest some reasonable adjustments but the duty to implement TAs is anticipatory and falls on the employer and yourself rather than OH i.e. your employer does not become compelled to agree with OH or follow their recommendations. They can draw their own independent conclusions about whether you’re covered age whether your RAs are ones they’re prepared to meet. It’s worth bearing in mind that the employer will be fully aware how their OH works. Some pull rabbits out of hays and recommend brilliant things you’ve not thought of. Some simply go along with whatever you tell them will work. The latter can be a huge problem.

    Of course once OH have expressed their view then the employer would be ill-advised to disregard it. Should the matter ever end up at tribunal then they would have to have very solid reasons for that disregard. It’s a tough trick for them to pull off, but…

    Employer - forms their own view on what are RAs based on what you say; any advice they seek and whether or not any of the legitimate reasons for rejection are valid. To some extent this is about open, honest discussion. You explaining what you need and why. Them giving full consideration. 

    HR - have no role here bar perhaps advising you or your manager. They are quite right in saying that ultimately the decision on your request falls on your manager.

    Now, your specific requests. Not straightforward. 
    • Additional support during stressful periods - more guidance and support from my managers in terms of managing my work load or temporarily reallocating some tasks. 
    • allow me to go to medical appointments and 
    • allow me to use my annual leave in an effective way to recharge. 
    I think you need to define stressful here. Is this stressful for you or stressful for the business? We all get anxious about work but, like risk, your employer has no duty to reduce it to nil. 

    If ordinary work makes you anxious there’s an argument that ultimately you’re not fit for work and the proportion of time spent providing support may simply not be practical for other staff or managers. That could legitimately be refused. Temporary reallocation of work is often a legit RA but permanent reallocation is complex. It requires other people to have both willingness and capacity and for that to not, again, make things too complex to manage. If that’s not possible then, again, refusal may be absolutely legit. 

    You’ve no statutory right to have time off for medical appointments but most HR people accept that some medical appointments can fall into sick leave. Whether absences can be labelled a RA is really going to come down to need, frequency and negotiation. A weekly appointment which takes you out for a half day could be way more problematic than an hour once a month and so on. However, you need to query why this would not be treated as disability leave. Ditto recovery time. 

    I’m not sure what currently prevents you from using your annual leave as you wish.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,914 Disability Gamechanger
    Good details from Mike. 
    I don't see the annual leave being any different to what you are doing already 

    It is sometimes the case management take a different approach once RA have been suggested not that it is right 

    I think you should request a meeting with your manager to discuss the issues nothing formal just to see if it can be resolved 

    While I agree with Mike from experience hr usually play a custodial role with RA and act as advisor to both colleagues and managers to come to a working solution 

    If it can't be resolved then go down the more formal route 

    However will the suggested RA make a difference to you just because they have been recommended they are not always helpful 
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Ultimately it’s about a conversation. If you don’t feel able to have an open and honest conversation then you are both working in the wrong place and unlikely to work through which RAs will work and which won’t. 
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thank you Mike and Janer.

    I have taken a very informal route with my manager so far, trying to have open dialogue in our weekly 1 to 1. He has continually said he will think about it. It has been over a month now.

    Would you recommend now making a more formal request for RA's in writing in which he has to respond so that we know where each other stand and we can progress from there ?

    I am also concerned that ever since the OH report has been issued, this has coincided with him raising issues around my performance despite there never having been any issues raised before.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,842 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you reflected on whether increased anxiety about this may have actually impacted your performance?

    Right now I’d keep in informal and friendly but not for too long.
  • Latin126
    Latin126 Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thanks Mike. I think you are right. The anxiety around how they will handle this hasn't helped with performance. 

    I do get the vibe that disclosing the mental health issue has not been well received. The questions I have been asked suggests that they believe I am making it up.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser Posts: 593 Pioneering
    Hi @Latin126

    Thanks for reaching out to us. I am so sorry your disclosure wasn't handled well. It sounds really upsetting and frustrating. Could you escalate this to a more senior member of staff or a trusted member of staff? I am hoping you can receive the support you need and deserve soon. We have a discussion section about mental health issues which might help if you would like to communicate with others with similar experiences. If you are interested, you can find it at https://forum.scope.org.uk/categories/mental-health-issues. Scope also has a helpline if you require further support which you can find at https://www.scope.org.uk/helpline/. Take care of yourself and I will look forward to hearing from you again soon  :)
    I am a Scope volunteer. I have knowledge about the following subjects, gained through professional settings such as high level education or employment: autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, down's syndrome, social, emotional and mental health difficulties, assistive technology and education. Pronouns: She/her.

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