Reasonable adjustment?

(21 Posts)
ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 18:22:10

I have an as of yet not fully diagnosed pain problem. Its like fibromyalgia in that I have excess pain, and trouble sleeping, restlessness etc. My doctor has prescribed Amitriptyline which helps a lot, but it creates a problem.

I am contracted to do standby, which may involve being called out any time, but the drug makes that impossible overnight. I have seen the company doctor and he agree its appropriate and that I cant do standby, but HR say that its basically too bad, I have to do it, or leave.

I believe their argument is that because its not a named disability they have no obligation to do anything and wont. Standby is covered 24/7 by about 8 people right now and is being covered, so from a business sense there is no problem, but all I get is that its in my contract, so tough luck.

Even if I got a full diagnosis I believe they would still push for redeployment, even though i am fully capable of doing all other tasks during my regular hours. This seems very unfair and harsh. Is there anything I can do?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 19:00:52

Hmm, not really, the only point thats remotely valid is 'discrimination because of something connected to your disability, this is called discrimination arising from a disability'. The connected thing being the drug I need.
The issue is more that they dont accept there is really anything wrong because it doesn't have a name yet, and therefore there is no discrimination.

I suspect, and hope, that this is an attempt to pressure me into conforming to their will, and ultimately they will agree if I stick to my guns.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 13-Jan-16 19:38:42

I am not commenting on the legal validity, but more just the actual covering of on call. Is there a knock of current is doing a 1 in 8 standby and by removing you from this rota it alters everyone else's terms and conditions to 1 in 7. It takes them from 45/46 on standby shifts a year to 52 quite a big shift.

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 19:56:47

There are no formal terms and conditions that state how often you are expected to be on standby, just that you are expected to be. It has varied over the years anyway as the staffing levels have changed.

When i started it was 1 week in 11, it is currently one in 8. We have 2 new staff that when trained fully will be added to that rota.

Part timers are not expected to do it and one other member doesn't do it, she is Italian and doesn't speak good English, it may or may not be in her contract to do it (she wouldnt really be capable frankly).

Im getting the impression that unless I am classified as disabled they can do whatever they like, so I can either take the drug and be incapable (and be sacked), or suffer, pretty unpleasantly, for the standby period.

Littlef00t Wed 13-Jan-16 20:02:35

But for reasonable adjustments it just needs to impact you daily I thought? i guess the issue is its not an adjustment to your environment, it's a change to your terms of employment, and a limitation to your role. Occy health?

blobbityblob Wed 13-Jan-16 20:03:32

I may be wrong but they could still refuse I think even if your condition were deemed to be covered by the disability provisions of the equality act. A dr can suggest an adjustment but it's up to the employer whether it's reasonable or not as they need to take into account costs, other staff needs, client needs and operational needs.

tiggy2610 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:12:17

If it's a health condition that is/has the ability to affect your daily life for 12 months or more you should be protected by the equality act. This covers a variety of conditions and not just 'named' disabilities. They have a duty to put reasonable adjustments in place if they are able to and it doesn't affect your ability to to the job. E.g. If you worked for a security company that protected building sites over night and you were suddenly told you could no longer work night shifts then it wouldn't be reasonable for them to provide you with alternative work (extreme example I know) but if you can still do your job without doing the nights they should be able to accommodate, or provide a lot of support as to why it isn't possible.

Good luck

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:14:49

The annoyance here is that its not the condition thats the problem, while I have pain constantly I tolerate it, its the drug that causes the problem. It simply makes responding to a call out impossible. Not only will I likely not wake up to the phone call anyway (i have tested this), I simply cannot drive or perform my duties until the effects pass.

I dont believe that changing your terms is excluded by the discrimination act, examples given on the government site include reducing hours and duties.

tiggy2610 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:21:04

I work with the disability service at a university. As far as I am aware, or at least in my daily work, medications used to treat health conditions have to be taken into account when making adjustments. E.g. If we have students who are on medication which prevents them from driving and they are on placements we have to make sure they are somewhere they can get to via public transport. We can't turn around and say "tough. Stop taking the medication" wink

blobbityblob Wed 13-Jan-16 20:33:30

I work in admin in OH. I would suggest you ask your gp about non sedating pain medication to use at these times. Whilst some employers would restrict you from on call or reduce your hours, others won't. Particularly if it's a small co or dept and it impacts on other staff.

RideEmCowgirl Wed 13-Jan-16 20:36:56

My contract state's I work oncalls but I have been medically signed off them by the occupational health team as to much of a risk. My risk assessment details what I can do.

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:39:25

Tiggy2610, thank you! I used your '12 months' statement to google for more info. It seems you are right, it doesnt have to be named, just have a lasting effect that is likely to be or has been for 12 months.

For me its been longer but I went to the doctor 6 months ago initially and they prescribed the drug then. I informed work at the time and they then said they would remove me from standby for an initial 6 month period. This was the time the doctor suggested as a trial period to see how me and the drug got on.

That time has now passed, which is why work are acting like this. My doctor is happy for the situation to continue, as am I.

Further info on my standby... It is not incorporated into our salary, it is paid on demand, a flat daily fee plus a callout fee and your hourly rate while 'on-site'. People often give their standby weeks away to others if those others want extra money. I had already given my 2 weeks away that were scheduled in the 6 month trial period.

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:41:25

Blobbityblob. I also take Tramadol for pain that works well during the day, but does nothing for the sleep disturbance or 'fog' that I suffer upon waking.

tiggy2610 Wed 13-Jan-16 20:51:05

Chris have you got/can you get a letter
from a GP or specialist which outlines what sort of impact this condition is having on your health? Sorry if you've already mentioned this, my phone isn't letting me scroll up! It might be worth discussing with your GP if there are any other medication options just to investigate every avenue but if there aren't then go back to HR with anything you can get from your GP to support you and discuss it properly. They can't just dismiss you, they can't. If it's written in black and white that you MUST do stand by shifts in order to do your job then it'll be more difficult, but you've already said they've made adjustments for others so they've set a precedent already.

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 21:09:10

I think I have a problem because the HR dept at my workplace simply doesn't give a monkeys about the staff. The problems I'm having are coming from HR, not my local management. They have Occ health reports, it hasnt made any difference.

tiggy2610 Wed 13-Jan-16 21:17:38

Have you got anything in writing from them explaining why they are turning down your request for reasonable adjustments? They might not give a monkeys about their employees but they can't ignore the law just because it's inconvenient for them. It's definitely worth taking it up with a higher power of they're still not budging, you're local CAB should have a phone number or email address of someone who can give you some more detailed advice

ChrisM40 Wed 13-Jan-16 21:22:02

Good call. I will request it. Thanks.

OliviaBenson Thu 14-Jan-16 19:16:13

Can you ask your doctor for a fit note? It could set out that you can only work in the day due to medication? I'd also push for an occupational health referral.

flowery Fri 15-Jan-16 13:05:33

"They have Occ health reports, it hasnt made any difference"

If they've sought advice from Occ Health and have been given advice that your condition does not meet the criteria necessary to be considered a disability, then there's your problem. On the other hand if the OH reports confirmed that it should be treated as a disability and that xyz would be appropriate adjustments to be made, and they've ignored that advice, that's something different.

If, as you say, the problem is HR not management, presumably that means your line manager is fine with you not doing standby? What is he/she doing to push this on your behalf?

RideEmCowgirl Fri 15-Jan-16 19:11:39

When I had my problem, Occ Health were very good however my immediate manager didn't speak to me for 3 months unless she really had to and that was with spite dripping off her lips! Hopefully your manager is more supportive.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now