Q&A - Bosses kicking heels over request for reduced hours due to disability

31/01/2011

Q:  I am suffering from a long term illness. Although the illness itself does not affect my ability to do my job normally, due to the effects of the illness I am no longer able to carry on working a full day. After discussing the problem with my GP I asked my employers to reduce my hours to fit around the illness. They agreed to look into the matter and I know they have asked my GP for a report. They have also contacted an Occupational Therapist and I believe they have spoken to their solicitors, but nothing further seems to be happening. What should I do now?

A:  Your employers are obviously making the proper investigations but do not seem to be bringing those investigations to a head. More importantly, your employers do not appear to have made their position clear to you in respect of their intentions to accommodate your request.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Equality Act there is a clear obligation on the employer to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a worker who is suffering from a long term condition that affects their day to day work. Therefore if adjustments are not made by your employers to accommodate your needs it will be viewed as potentially discriminatory.

The next simple step for you should be to lodge a formal grievance against your employers, spelling out the fact that they have failed to deal with your request to accommodate your needs in respect of working hours to fit with your long term illness. If you adopt this formal process it should result in your employers making their position clear to you. If your employers still do not meet with your request then you should take legal advice about the next steps you need to take.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner

A Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham

Nicholas Kennan

Nicholas Kennan

Solicitor

Specialist in Commercial Litigation and Employment in Oswestry