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  • FIRST POST
    • creditpunch
    • By creditpunch 12th Mar 18, 2:15 AM
    • 275Posts
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    creditpunch
    Cant see the wood for the trees - Flexible working
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 18, 2:15 AM
    Cant see the wood for the trees - Flexible working 12th Mar 18 at 2:15 AM
    Hello all

    I have a work situation that I'd welcome any advice on even though I'm not entirely sure what it is I need to ask.

    I am currently signed off work for work stress, I have started the ACAS Early Conciliation Process (which is overwhelming), I feel my position at my work is untenable and I do not wish to return, I don't think I can.

    Ive worked for my company for over 9 years and I am a single mum to a now pre teen boy living in inner London. Ive asked for flexible working circa 3-4 the first time since 2014 and the latest in 2017. Ive either been refused or ignored and in that time other colleagues in two parent families have had their children and authorised flexible working. The lastest request was submitted in Apr 2017 and the decline came in Dec 2017 because I wouldn!!!8217;t let it go this time and after intimidation from my line manager, a 1hr 30min meeting with two managers and HR I was asked to discuss in detail personal aspects of my chronic illness and other nightmares. I appealed and had to endure an equally horrendous meeting with two directors. My appeal failed. Apart from victimisation and harassment which Im pretty clear on and have plenty evidence. I need to be clear in the EC and tribunal process (if it comes to it) I recently fell apart and have now been signed off work.

    what is the indirect discrimination based on sex? The reason I ask this is That Im a bit of a mess and Im finding it hard to focus and articulate things. There are examples of married couples with children who have been allowed to work flexibly also I now have a chronic illness that I am trying to manage. Yet Im not being supported/allowed to. They acknowledged in my appeal decline that I am required more than my colleagues with the same role as me which I feel is unfair, even though I take great pride in my work. I dont think I should be treated differently.

    Id appreciate any advice thank you

    CP
    Last edited by creditpunch; 12-03-2018 at 3:29 AM.

Page 1
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 12th Mar 18, 7:11 AM
    • 16,678 Posts
    • 41,265 Thanks
    FBaby
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 7:11 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 7:11 AM
    'Flexible work' is large in its definition. Did the other persons asked for the exact same flexible arrangement than you? There is a difference between asking say to work 9 days out of 5 with the day off being flexible around the need of the business, and asking to work from 9 to 2 every day.

    As you must know, legally, you are entitled to ask for flexible working arrangements and the company has to consider it but they don't have to agree to it. It sounds like they have followed the right process in your case and given you a reason, although a bit woolly. Did they say why your are more required than your colleagues?

    I'm not sure how you'd go proving indirect discrimination based on sex if other women were entitled to their request.
    • creditpunch
    • By creditpunch 12th Mar 18, 10:08 AM
    • 275 Posts
    • 164 Thanks
    creditpunch
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:08 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:08 AM
    Could they have followed the right processs if they took 8 months to conclude the process and intimidated me to withdraw my request else my standing in the new department would be affected (we reorged in Nov)?

    Is it not indirect discrimination on sex not because Im a woman but because Im a sole parent? My son has been going to school on the train in south London since he was 7! Because I have to choose pick up or drop off. I did not ask for preferential treatment I just asked for what understanding that others got for lesser reasons imo. I work very hard so my performance could not have been brought into question (even though they are now trying) infact quite the opposite.

    The reason stated in my appeal response letter for being relied on More to a greater degree than my colleagues was that I am a highly valued member of the team. In reality Im more qualified and experienced but I dont think I should have to pay for it with my health and wellbeing when others are allowed to enjoy a much more relaxed approach.

    Imo they have not objectively justified why I cant work flexibly when people in the exact same role do.

    Sorry it turns my quotation and punctuation marks into gobbledygook so Iíve put them in bold.
    Last edited by creditpunch; 12-03-2018 at 10:18 AM.

    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 12th Mar 18, 10:23 AM
    • 2,970 Posts
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    Comms69
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:23 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:23 AM
    I think you're up the creek and lost the paddle at this stage. They've said no.


    Ultimately you need to find a new job if this cannot be accommodated.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 12th Mar 18, 5:47 PM
    • 16,678 Posts
    • 41,265 Thanks
    FBaby
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 5:47 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 5:47 PM
    intimidated me to withdraw my request else my standing in the new department would be affected (we reorged in Nov)?
    Maybe because the job in the new department does indeed require someone to work FT? Was it a threat or advice?

    Is it not indirect discrimination on sex not because Im a woman but because Im a sole parent?
    How? Being married doesn't forcibly mean that the main carer has more support. Many mums are married to men who leave for work at 6am and are not home before 7pm or more. How are you being discriminated by being a single mum?

    In reality Im more qualified and experienced but I dont think I should have to pay for it with my health and wellbeing when others are allowed to enjoy a much more relaxed approach.
    The problem is that you are considering flexible working as a due, it isn't though. They have followed the letter of the law by considering your request. The fact that you are indeed more experienced and therefore agreeing to the flexible working arrangement you've asked for could impact on business is enough of a reason. Of course, being more experience could mean that you would be first in line for a promotion. Would you complain that you are being discriminated against for being a single mum if you were given a promotion when your colleague was told they would need to wait a few more years to be considered?

    You're frustrated and disappointed, but that doesn't equate your employer treating you unfairly.

    ps: I asked my employer to go PT and this was turned down, and indeed, that's because I had the most experienced in the team and needed more of me, not less. I took it as a compliment however, I look for another job where I expect my request for reduce hours will be granted in a year or so. It was my choice to stay or go.
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 12th Mar 18, 6:41 PM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,419 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:41 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:41 PM
    The reason stated in my appeal response letter for being relied on More to a greater degree than my colleagues was that I am a highly valued member of the team. In reality I'm more qualified and experienced but I dont think I should have to pay for it with my health and wellbeing when others are allowed to enjoy a much more relaxed approach.
    Are you more senior than the others, does your pay reflect your greater experience and value? If not, they're going to struggle to justify their reasoning.

    Is your chronic illness a disability? Was their questioning relevant to your request?

    A policy that treats single parents less favourably to others can be indirectly discriminatory. Whilst their reasoning is weak, it does not appear to be discriminatory. However their behaviour towards you may amount to constructive dismissal (and disability discrimination if relevant). It is a complex area and it's rare that I would suggest a CD action, and I would suggest seeing a solicitor (start with CAB) if you wish to take it further.

    (Ignore Fbaby. They're giving their personal opinion with little knowledge of the relevant law. Not helpful at all.)
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 12th Mar 18, 6:50 PM
    • 22,711 Posts
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    Tigsteroonie
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:50 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 6:50 PM
    Re the chronic illness, have you asked for a different working pattern as a reasonable adjustment to that illness? Or have you been referred to Occupational Health, who can make such a recommendation?
    Mrs Marleyboy

    MSE: many of the benefits of a helpful family, without disadvantages like having to compete for the tv remote

    Proud Parents to an Au-some son
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 13th Mar 18, 1:36 AM
    • 38,480 Posts
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 18, 1:36 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 18, 1:36 AM
    Did you, in any of your flexible working requests, set out how the work would be covered? If you were requesting reduced hours, that would be a sensible approach.

    And if you just wanted to work different hours but the same number, did you ever set out how the work would be covered at times when you would not be present?
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