They requested a change in contracted hours to accommodate child contact arrangements (transfer of residency, meaning they can't put baby in childcare as they need time to adjust to new arrangements - they can only work when baby is with other parent for now, which was social services recommendation). They wrote a letter outlining their request.
The response was a quick discussion with personnel, who stated they couldn't reduce their hours (30 down to 14). No reason was given. Just that they couldn't do it. They also stated that the rota was done for the next 4 weeks anyway, and that nothing could be altered before then. A) rotas have never been done 4 weeks in advance before. The most is 2 weeks. Usually it's 1 week or less. B) they asked for next week's rota today, and it "isn't avaliable". Which essentially means it isn't done.
I've suggested they speak to their Union, but does anyone else have any useful advice on this matter? Fwiw the employer is a major supermarket. This person can work in all departments and was a manager until 3 months ago when they stepped down to reduce hours from 48 to 36 as a regular colleague.
They wrote a letter. Personnel just stopped them for a chat on the shop floor. No business reason was given other than "we can't accommodate it".
In the meanwhile they can no longer do the hours they are contracted to. They can not work the notice period as a result. They obviously need a reference so don't want to be forced in to quitting on the spot. But the situation may cause it to be so. The welfare of the child is paramount.
Oh, I've also been informed that the same person also wanted to see the court order. I'm pretty certain that this is not an acceptable request. Family courts are private and the order can not be shown to anyone without permission of the court. I'm fairly sure an employer would not be a person privy to this information.
Did the employee make it clear that they were submitting a flexible working request under the FW legislation? I only say that because I'd be a bit surprised if HR in a big company didn't know how to deal with a FW application, the big companies I work with have loads of FW requests and a policy setting out how to manage them.
Perhaps they need to confirm this is what they have done and remind the employer of how such requests must be handled.
It sounds like the employer is trying to obfuscate by rejecting the FW request verbally and not using their proper procedure, likely in the hope they can kick the matter into the long grass.
Your friend should
a) get a copy of the supermarket's FW policy, via HR if necessary;
b) submit the request formally according to the policy (and state "I am submitting this FW request according to Policy # dated xxx). Do it by email to HR so they have an audit trail. Request a written response as per policy.
c) ensure the request includes 1-2 sentences maximum (not War and Peace) regarding the situation with DC and Court Order
d) state the Court name, date of Hearing and any non-confidential information that can back up the fact it is specific to a childcare situation.
e). Be sure to state whether the FW arrangement could impact on other staff, shifts etc and what has been done to mitigate that impact. A common reason for rejection is that it leaves a resource gap and adversely effects customer service.
If they formally reject the FW request by email but don't give a reason, then revert by email to state that they need to give a business reason according to policy (since the policy should Include a list of legitimate reasons why a request can be rejected)