To ask for your help in dealing with work adjustment request

(7 Posts)
Lorrain123 Mon 20-Jan-20 09:35:35

I applied for workload adjustment and my request is declined. My physical disability is not obvious and only people close to me have known about this . I wanted work adjusted so I am on field work 60% and 40% office base because I am finding it very hard to keep up with field work . I am feeling deflated and now don’t know how I would cope with this all. Changing job is not an option for me because I also suffer from anxiety ( not officially diagnosed ) and it took me long time to settle in this job. Occupational Health and hospital doctors were very supportive to my request as I have had the problem for at least 5 years and tried to help me as much as they could but my boss is not interested at all.

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Rockchick1984 Mon 20-Jan-20 17:34:27

Is it possible to do your role with 40% of it office based? I'm guessing that you currently work fully field based, how would your employer be affected by the change? Have you put to them how they can mitigate any disruption?

If they cannot make any reasonable adjustment, could you suggest going part time so that the field role could be accommodated as a job share position?

maxelly Mon 20-Jan-20 17:38:46

Sorry to hear about this. Have you been given a reason why they declined it (I'd ask for one in writing if not) - unfortunately requests for workload adjustments are often the hardest for businesses to accommodate, as unlike say providing some equipment or making adjustments to the physical premises, it's hard to know exactly what the cost/impact of changing someone's job will be in the long term, it can mean impacts on the wider team/colleagues/clients etc. The law does allow businesses to refuse adjustments if they would have an unreasonable detrimental impact on the business - however they are not allowed to say no because they think you are 'not disabled enough' (so long as you do meet the legal definition of disability of course) or similar reasons, hence why I would want to know their reasons.

When you say OH have been supportive, have they actually written a proper formal report to your manager saying you do meet the definition of disability as per the Equality Act (as you mention yours is a non-obvious condition), triggering the legal requirement to make reasonable adjustments, and the change in workload is an adjustment you need because of your disability? Or have they just generally told you it's a good idea to reduce your workload? If the latter I'd go back to them and get them to write it up as a formal recommendation. Your manager might still say no but if they are not aware of the legal position and have not sought HR advice etc. it might at least get him/her to do so!

Also, have you thought about whether there is anything else the company could do to help you/compromises that could be made - how does what you are asking for in terms of workload/work pattern vary from what you have now? Could you see if 70:30 might be possible if not 60:40. What work would you be doing in the office based time, is there enough of it to justify you being in the office more and what will happen to the fieldwork you will be dropping, will colleagues have to pick it up? Is there anything that can be done to mitigate the impact on them? Have you considered asking to drop your hours rather than stay on same hours but with a workload change? Finally could you suggest a trial period if s/he is not happy to commit to a permanent change?

If you've tried all the above and the answer is still no, and you feel your manager's reasons are not fair/justified, then your next step would be to put in a formal grievance based on indirect disability discrimination. This is quite a hard and stressful thing to do though so if you can possibly sort it out directly with your manager then that would be better - are you in a trade union? If not then perhaps seek some advice from ACAS or you could speak to your HR informally to see if there's anything they can do?

strictlymomdancing Mon 20-Jan-20 17:48:42

Could you transfer to another role? If its not possible to change your current job, then they should be looking at another more suitable one.

If your manager isn't doing anything, then complain to HR and also consult your union.

Lorrain123 Mon 20-Jan-20 19:16:12

Thanks for the replies.
Maxelly. Occupational Health did write a report and mentioned Equally Act 2010. At present I do 80:20 as we all do our own admin. I have offered to do other extra bits like stock takings/ reports and can be trained to do audits too. I can’t afford going part time and he knows I won’t argue. I will call HR to check on Friday when I am back in the office. Are there any specific questions I should ask HR ? I will also ask my boss to put his reply to me in writing. Thanks

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maxelly Tue 21-Jan-20 12:30:19

I would probably just try and find out whether there is any policy on reasonable adjustments/disability in the workplace and whether there is any formal appeals process or whether the route to try and get his decision reviewed is a grievance. More than anything you really just want to put yourself on HR's radar - they may well say that the decision is at the discretion of the manager and there's nothing they can do beyond advise you to take it up with him/her (which is probably correct in strict policy terms), but if that was me as the HR person, I might well follow up that conversation with a quiet word with your line manager to check that they understood their responsibilities, duty of care to you as a disabled employee etc etc which might just help you out a bit... not saying it will change the decision as it does sound a tricky one, is there definitely enough work doing stock check and audits and admin to make up 40% of a full time role at your level, who does this at the moment, and who would pick up the extra field work you wouldn't be doing? But it's not really good enough for your manager to just say no and leave it at that, he does still have a responsibility to do whatever he reasonably can to support you and should be working with you, OH and HR to work out what that looks like...

Lorrain123 Tue 21-Jan-20 18:00:38

Thanks very much Maxillay for the reply and explanation . I think I have a better understanding of the process now and hopefully I will get some positive response from HR. Thanks 🙏

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