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discrimination over flexible working?

(10 Posts)
Nagoo Fri 05-Oct-12 09:27:02

10 of us in the workplace.

5 have set shifts, 3 of those were set up as part of flexible working requests.

The five with set shifts are the five with school age children.

We have been grouped into a 'link' for the purposes of annual leave allocation.

Most of us work Saturdays (4/5). Of the other shifts only 1/5 is a Saturday.

It is MUCH harder for us to book a Saturday off because of this, since only one of us may be off in a week.

In addition we will obviously be more keen to have school holidays off work than the workers without children.

Is it discriminatory to bundle us all in together? I would like for the whole team to be considered when leave is granted, but as it is at the moment is another person who has children is off then I may not book holiday, even though cover is available.

The people without children want the current system to stay since there is only a 1/5 chance that they will be working any particular Saturday, and they have much greater likelihood of being able to book it off.

I want to know if grouping people based on their status as 'flexibly working' is legal and correct or if I have a case for a grievance.

SarkyWench Fri 05-Oct-12 11:11:36

but surely you are being grouped on the basis of your shift patterns and not on the basis of how you gained those patterns?

Presumably you are chooing to work the increased proportion of saturdays as it was included in the hours you requested? If so it seems unfair to expect the others (who don't usually work saturdays) to cover you.

Nagoo Fri 05-Oct-12 16:34:56

we are grouped based on the shifts being 'set' but I see your point.

There is a designated 'relief' who has to cover us, others are not moved from their booked shifts to do so.

janey68 Fri 05-Oct-12 16:37:49

I'm a little unclear too. Are you saying that through flexible working you have gained the advantage of fixed shifts, but are losing out by working more Saturdays?

If so, then I guess you need to weigh up what is more valuable to you. I guess your employer may want you to work more flexibly if you're looking to do the same as everyone else.

Nagoo Fri 05-Oct-12 16:43:50

I am not going to complain about Saturdays as such, I realise that by asking for fixed turns there will be a downside to me.

I am complaining that all the people with children are considered to be in a 'link' so if one if off another cannot be granted leave at the same time, regardless of availability of cover.

The grouping of the two sets of people into links seems to me to be artificial.

I would like for the whole team to be granted leave on the same basis, that 2 people are allowed off at the same time, regardless of whether they have a flexible working arrangement or not.

janey68 Fri 05-Oct-12 16:56:36

Ah I see. Im not sure whether it's discriminatory; it may be that because there is a group of you who are working fixed shifts, there is by definition less flexibility with you and this has a knock on for arranging leave. It's difficult to know on the basis of what you've said. If there is a reasonable way that leave can be allocated without grouping you together then why not suggest it to the boss? If s/he then comes back with reasons which are to do with your fixed shifts then like I say, it comes down to weighing up what matters most to you.

Nagoo Fri 05-Oct-12 17:38:56


I'm just venting here really, I know that if I want to make an offical change I'd have to get a consensus unless I can show that there is some form of discrimination, so I could put a grievance in.

And I won't get a consensus so I'm stuck.

I just want to have a moan and see if I can see another side to this rather then lie in bed at night stewing about it. I'm just pissed off because I can't book Christmas week off, even though I am on the 'list' above other people, because someone in my 'link' already has it booked off.

The same goes for new years day, I have been declined it even though cover is available, just because the one other person off is in the same 'link' as me.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Oct-12 21:33:26

I think you'd find it hard to convince anyone that you're being discriminated against because of your working pattern because, as you point out, you've also gained the significant benefit of fixed shifts.

Where I think you have some grounds to grumble - and this is something I dislike in the leave-booking system where I work - is the 'survival of the fittest' aspect, where the first person to move gets what they want and other people (who may have good reason for booking later) just get what's left. I'm probably unrealistic, but I'd rather have a system where everybody bids for what they want and then there's some negotiation about what's possible.

janey68 Sun 07-Oct-12 12:21:02

Yes, I think you need to approach it by suggesting a better solution to the issue of booking annual leave. If you can suggest a system which is fair and transparent and better than the current one, you'll maybe get somewhere

But I don't think you can really claim discrimination, because others would probably cry 'discrimination' at your group all having fixed shifts rather than variable ones. Ultimately if everyone put in for flexible working wanting fixed shifts, the system would collapse and you wouldn't all be able to get what you want, so I wouldn't be too quick to complain.

Nagoo Sun 07-Oct-12 14:34:35

Thanks for replying smile

I think you are right that I need to try and be proactive about trying to think about a better system.

And in the mean time get really organised so I can jump and book my whole allocation on the 1st Jan wink

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