Can anyone help my husband please

(38 Posts)
Thatsveryniceofyou Wed 24-Feb-21 08:05:34

My husband works for a major supermarket, has been their for over 10 years worked his way up on the logistics side to his current managerial role.

A new depot manager has come in and told my husband he has to do night Monday to Friday shifts 6pm to 6am permanently (bear in mind this role has never been nights in all the years my husband has been their and never a problem before)

My husband said I am willing to do some nights but as my wife has renal failure and has to be connected to her dialysis machine overnight I have to be at home to help her connect / disconnect and to deal with any alarms and problems (it's easy to lose blood and end up in hospital if you move an arm so the needle comes lose)

Basically the new manager has said well your contract says we can make you do what hours we like to get a job done and we've decided you're to do nights.

Now my husband thinks his contact may say something like that (isn't sure as has requested a copy from HR etc)

His employer has said they will not pay any extra for the role (surely you get extra for nights?) and if he doesn't agree he is in breach of his contract. We obviously don't want him to lose his job but we're very worried about how we will cope. We have a young child at home and dialysis in a unit is possible but wouldn't be effective for me as I need a long and slow dialysis and in units they're short and fast of that makes sense. My renal team have written a letter to support my husband in why he needs to be at home.

Does anyone know if what his employer is saying correct or would my medical situation be enough to stop him doing permanent nights etc

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DoubleHelix79 Wed 24-Feb-21 08:15:00

I would seek some input from HR and a union, if he is a member of one, pointing out his caring responsibilities. His contract may allow them to put him on nights and at no extra pay, but I would expect a major employer to be able to support staff with additional responsibilities. I'd try and keep it amicable for now instead of going in all guns blazing, but if no resolution was forthcoming I'd take it further. I'd also start looking for an alternative job now, just in case.

LongTimeMammaBear Wed 24-Feb-21 08:53:18

I agree with previous poster. Your DH needs to read his contract and talk to his union. Or call ACAS if no Union. Looking for another job is likely to be the better long term option, even if that means transferring to another depot for same company, as it may well be that this new manager has, for some reason, taken a dislike for your DH and wants him gone, even if it’s purely to move someone else in that they’ve worked with before. Very sadly this often happens. Isn’t right but happens.

Saviouronthreelegs Wed 24-Feb-21 09:02:46

Can he also ask the question of why the change is being made? We've had to move some shifts about in my warehouse and even though the contract says we can move people with 3 weeks notice, we've actually had to provide a justifiable business case together to explain the changing shifts as the employees involved resisted the changes. So we had to prove the change of time was to maintain business efficiency.
It may be the need the role to be done at night to maintain managerial cover throughout, or that certain reviews now need to be done at night ready for morning uploads etc etc but if nothing has changed and no other staff roles have been changed or lost I'd definitely be enquiring why the role was being altered. Are there any other of the same position at the facility or in alternative facilities that he can look at to see if they are also having the same alterations?

RandomMess Wed 24-Feb-21 09:23:03

Is there someone else doing his role during the daytime now or not?

How long has he been doing that role in daytime only hours?

Thatsveryniceofyou Wed 24-Feb-21 09:28:50

Thanks all, sadly no union (when he first was promoted to assistant manager about 3 years ago he was told to leave the union) we do plan on contacting Acas when he gets his contract.

We did wonder if it is better to look for another job (sounds like it is) so will mention to him tonight.

No one in the other primary networks are being switched to nights from what he understands (only on a personal level in that they are friends, so doesn't know if its planned and they haven't been told maybe)

It's a funny one, as the operation is 24 hours (nature of food) but never been needed as they've always and still have shift managers to oversee and manage the night operations and they have to do a report each morning on handover of what's gone overnight. Now as far as my husband knows the shift manager role isn't changing and the operation has become more efficient so no obvious concerns have been raised in meetings with the directors about night shift output, but I guess something could have been said to the depot manager and not transport managers perhaps.

The assistant transport manager is being placed days and they've even told my husband that even when he moves to nights he is still required to do his 'on call' shifts and that's once every 8 weeks he is available 24 hrs a day so if anything occurred overnight a manager is available to come in last minute etc. On call involves meetings with directors at 7.30am, 2pm, 7pm and 11pm at night.

Its so worrying, they've always been so supportive in the past, but if he passes his CPC in next few weeks then hopefully getting another job of same level will be possible and we can move forward (after he has given 3 months notice)

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Margaritatime Wed 24-Feb-21 09:40:33

Definitely involve the TU and HR.

Whilst an employer can do this if there is a clear business need/change of business need there is a process that needs to be followed which includes consultation. www.acas.org.uk/changing-an-employment-contract

Has your husband been singled out or are other employees affected?

I am making an assumption that given you are on dialysis you meet the definition of a disability. Under the Equality Act your husband is protected from discrimination and also able to request reasonable adjustments as he is a carer and associated with someone who has a disability.

Your husband could submit a request for a reasonable adjustment not to work his hours at night. He could state that he has worked x to x for x years and the job is still there for him to do those hours.

At this stage do not offer any nights but if they go down the proper route and everyone has to do some nights negotiate one or two on the basis you have dialysis on Mon Wed and Fri so he can only do Tue and Thurs.

Saviouronthreelegs Wed 24-Feb-21 09:41:28

That does seem very strange. I'd definitely query it, and if his new line manager isn't giving a clear answer I would go over their head, or ask for a sit down meeting with HR to discuss the issues. Like I say even if his contract says he can be changed, employers have to provide a flexible working environment where possible by the business. This isn't exactly the same but he has good evidence of why he has to be at home during night time, the role he signed up to was a day time only role, and therefore the business needs go justify why his role is being altered especially when no other changes appear to be taking place. If they have a valid reason they should be able to explain that to him.
Does he have any concerns about being able to do his job during the night? As you say food works 24hours but will he struggle to get in contact with anyone he normally does during the day time? Will it affect meetings etc that he usually has? If he can provide evidence of how he thinks it will havea deterimental impact on his ability to conduct his role and they have no real reason for making the change then it gives him a good basis against the change.
How has he found his relationship with this new manager?

Saviouronthreelegs Wed 24-Feb-21 09:44:42

Just looking on the ACAS site it looks as if the employer doesn't HAVE to provide a reason but it is considered good practice.
Also AFAIK, even if he isn't a member of a union he can call to get advice, so might be worth doing as well as speaking to ACAS.

Margaritatime Wed 24-Feb-21 10:07:44

With regard to TU, an employer cannot make you leave a TU.

Thatsveryniceofyou Wed 24-Feb-21 10:09:32

Thank you everyone. He has been in the current role since August 2019 and is days and was always days before. Assistant transport manager will still be days only.

We didn't know that about a union will mention it to him, and also the flexible working request (as I mentioned my renal team have provided a letter as to why he is required at home overnight etc)

Lots of things for us to think about and will seek help once we have the contract.

I think I would be protected under the disability act but didn't know my husband may be able to request the flexible working under it.

Up until all this when the new guy came in in October, my husband always seemed to get on with him and a few times the new guy would tell him What a good job he was doing etc. I know from bits a pieces the new guy has upset a lot of people lower down and had several grievances raised but my husband was never in that position. They seemed to work well (my husband had to train him as he had never worked food before, and that obviously had special rules regarding temperatures etc)

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Hollyhocksarenotmessy Wed 24-Feb-21 19:42:21

Who told him to leave the union? There are statuary protections around union membership and instructing him to leave would fall foul of discrimination laws. Something else for him to raise with HR, as in ask is it company policy or did whoever it was decide to break the law without company agreement. If he has it in writing, brilliant. That will make HR want to keep him happy. If he was led to believe his promotion was conditional on this, or that it would be to his detriment to continue membership, theres an ET case right there.

HermioneWeasley Wed 24-Feb-21 19:47:29

He should definitely speak to HR. In a big supermarket they will have a decently trained team, and he should escalate if it’s not resolved,

From what you’ve said, they are acting unreasonably, and possibly disability discrimination by association as he needs to be home due to your disability.

VanGoghsDog Wed 24-Feb-21 19:50:31

I think I would be protected under the disability act but didn't know my husband may be able to request the flexible working under it.

Anyone can ask for flexible working. He can also ask for a reasonable adjustment based on your disability.

Agree it's illegal for an employer to require an employee to leave or not be a member of a union. But he had three months from when they did that to bring a tribunal claim.

VanGoghsDog Wed 24-Feb-21 19:53:03

possibly disability discrimination by association

A discrimination claim needs to be able to show that the action was taken because of the disability or that a non disabled comparator was not or would not be treated that way.

This is why employers should have a proper business justification, because it means they can resist discrimination claims. With no business case, the claim can be made and the employer has to defend it.

JesusAteMyHamster Wed 24-Feb-21 19:59:31

Is he registered as your carer ? If he isn't get him down asap.

I think (( but could be wrong )) that legally employers have to give carers flexibility so they can work and carry out their caring duties.

JesusAteMyHamster Wed 24-Feb-21 20:07:03

I thought I was right........ basically his workplace are breaking the law. I think it comes under the equal opportunities gubbins. He needs to ask to see their work protocol for carers.

Thatsveryniceofyou Wed 24-Feb-21 20:35:25

He is down with the GP as my carer but we don't receive carers allowance. Will talk to GP and see if we can get a copy of that.

Thanks all, he has a meeting on Friday, and you've given us so much to think about and sort out. I think we are going to wait and see what they say and then if required will send notice under equality act for flexible working and see what we get. He is currently studying his CPC and once that is over he is going to start looking at jobs. As someone upthread mentioned, his boss may have just taken a dislike to him

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JesusAteMyHamster Wed 24-Feb-21 21:47:41

Op it doesn't matter if he doesn't get carers allowance. Most carers don't. He's still your carer.

As such he has protection in law.......good luck for Friday. I hope you come back with a positive update. And definitely make sure he pushes the fact he is your carer. Contact the doctors first thing tomorrow and ask them to email any paperwork referring to it.

VanGoghsDog Wed 24-Feb-21 22:29:11

Flexible working request isn't under the equality act, it's in the Employment Rights Act, amended.

Equality act is for the disability part - the reasonable adjustment.

The link above saying you have a right to ask for flexible working as a carer is not English law, it's NI law which is different. In England, Scotland and Wales everyone has the right to ask for flexible working after 6m employment for any reason or no reason at all.

This is a bit old but still relevant, the law has not changed from this and it's easy to read:

www.personneltoday.com/hr/who-cares-at-work-10-things-every-employer-should-know-about-carers/

Thatsveryniceofyou Fri 26-Feb-21 18:37:04

Thanks all. Unfortunately it wasn't a good meeting today. They did give a business reason - the depot manager has said although all targets are being met, he would like them to have a higher percentage in on time (the target set by the top is 93% which they meet, but the depot manager would like the target to be 96%) unfortunately they therefore have said they will not make reasonable adjustments because of the position with me. We are therefore pushing his studying and keeping our fingers crossed he passes it so he can get another job.

I'm gutted it's comes to this and hoping they would be more reasonable as no one else senior has been told to do nights just my husband as the transport manager and was hoping as a stop gap they would cover the nights for example the assistant transport manager has said he is will to do some nights but they rejected that but wouldn't tell my husband just it wasn't an option

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WeeDangerousSpike Fri 26-Feb-21 18:42:59

Has he spoken to ACAS? They'll tell him if he has any rights under law that are not being considered. They're really very helpful.

Thatsveryniceofyou Fri 26-Feb-21 19:17:21

We're calling ACAS tomorrow for further advice

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VanGoghsDog Fri 26-Feb-21 19:22:15

They can't just "not make reasonable adjustments", they have a legal obligation to do so.

Also, if his day shift is no longer available then his role is redundant and if nothing else he should get redundancy pay (notice, consultation etc). This is too big a change to just rely on the "whatever we tell you to do clause' when he's never done night shift.

I think you need ACAS, or even a lawyer - try the free representation unit.

Margaritatime Fri 26-Feb-21 19:48:27

It’s indirect discrimination if he has been singled out to move to nights when there are others at his level who could share. Also if they are meeting organisational target 93% I would definitely raise this to organisational level via HR as they may intervene.

However speak to ACAS first.

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