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Flexible working refused ( the plot thickens)

 
Flexible working refused ( the plot thickens)

Flexible working request refused I had a letter today from my appeal meeting held last Friday. It confirms after careful consideration the flexible working pattern I requested, has been refused. Its been refused because:

it would not be cost affective or practical to employ additional members of staff. recuiting an additional member of staff would undoubtedly place an unnecessary cost burden on the company. Due to the company transferring additional work to the job you had before your maternity leave,this wouldn't enable you to do the job on a part time basis. it is essential that there be continuity within the team, working on a part time basis would disrupt this.

Are these justifiable reasons or do I have a case for a tribunal as they are imposing extra work on my old job to make it impossible to be carried out on a part time basis. ks261983 03/10/2009 00:12:26 Reply to this message I can't give you a definitive answer (nobody can), but put it this way - if I had been looking for reasons to turn down such a request, those wouldn't have been the ones I chose! Because they are very thin. A company has recruitment costs, so it is rubbish to suggest that they are going to "go under" if they have to recruit an extra member of staff (or if they are likely to - they must be trading insolvent, and that would be unlawful!). The "extra work" is a red herring - the amount of work or type of work bears no relationship to whether or not the work can be done by more than one person - but this isn't relevant anyway because you aren't asking to work part-time. Flexible working isn't the same thing! And "coninuity" is managed by thousands of employers across the country.

I think you should appeal - and get some legal advice. The fact is that a refusal by the employers isn't worth much at tribunal (up to 8 weeks pay, capped at a maximum limit), which still leaves you - if you win - with a job that is not flexible hours and a pissed off employer. So it might be better to consdier just getting another job. But the sting comes if you can make a case for sex discrimination because this is a major award and unlimited. I would think that this would be possible, but I cannot say whether you would win - and I don't have all the facts either! So if you are going to do this there is no option - it's a lawyer you need shikahra 03/10/2009 09:04:13 Reply to this message And a good employment lawyer or similar will probably start by serving a statutory sex discrimination questionnaire on your employer, asking them to detail and fully explain all kinds of pointed and pertinent questions that generally will demolish the rather pathetic 'grounds' stated for refusing your request.

If this doesn't frighten them into changing their mind then your advisers might suggest going ahead with a tribunal claim for sex discrimination. As Shikhara says, damages are unlimited here; you can remain in employment whilst it rumbles on and you can claim £££ just for 'injury to feelings'. bubbles_once 03/10/2009 11:03:12 Reply to this message Flexible working request refused (follow up message) Thanks for the advice. When I appealed against this they asked me to an appeal meeting and just said, the jobs a full time job. Now that we're adding the additional work, which is job costing. I thought it may come under constuctive dismissal, because they are imposing extra work on my old job and forcing me to leave. My request was to work part time, the hours I chose were mon- thurs 8:30am-1pm and friday 8:30-2pm. Friday would be the same hrs I used to do as we have always finished early. They are saying its a full time position even though the girl who is covering my mat leave at the moment (who just happens to be one of the directors daughters)Only works 4 days a week cause she attends college on a tuesday. If I have to leave due to this refusal, she will get the job. How can that be fair because shes on reduced hours and has been for the past year. I've work there for 9 years and don't want to leave, I love my job. ks261983 03/10/2009 12:53:29 Reply to this message Flexible working request refused (saw a solicitor) Yesterday I went to see a solicitor regarding my request for part time hours being refused. He said there was nothing I could do, as the company had followed the right procedure and the reasons given were justified. I said but if you were to question these reasons they wouldn't be. He didn't seem interested and said that I would lose if I took them to court. I asked if I have to resign or should I leave it to them to tell me that they are terminating my contract and he said its up to me. I definitely can't go back full time because I have no one to look after my baby and there would be no point looking into childcare because I would just be working to pay childcare costs and I'd rather be the one with my baby than some random stranger. ks261983 07/10/2009 11:25:26 Reply to this message Personally I think it is infinately better to resign than to have your contract terminated. Though I am confused why you believe their reasons for not allowing flexibale working would not be justified when questioned if the solicitor said they would? Was it a solicitor who specialises in employment law? newman123 07/10/2009 11:28:14 Reply to this message Yes he is an employment law solicitor. The companies reasons were that its a full time job, although the girl who does it at the moment is on 4 days a week. They are adding additional work to the job to stop me from being able to do it on a part time basis. I know the job and know it could have been carried out on part time hours. They don't want to recuit additional staff due to cost reasons. A job share would cost no more than a person doing the job full time. What about the costs for recuiting a new member when I leave and the money lost while training them? ks261983 07/10/2009 11:44:45 Reply to this message Unfortunately you wont be able to cite the costs of them having to recruit someone once you leave as a reason for them to allow you to work part time as they are basing their justifications on the cost to the company of you working part time rather than full time, not you resigning.

I believe you have already appealed the decision which was turned down again. I think you have two options, go and see an different solicitor for a second opinion - incidentally did you discuss the point shikara made about sex discrimination with the solicitor? Or resign from your job (if you really cannot work full time).

IMHO though if you do decide to resign I would suggest that you try and get a new job before resigning, if you can afford to pay child care for the time you are at work. Also, have you looked into the tax credits you might receive whilst working as that might give some extra money in your pocket. newman123 07/10/2009 11:52:43 Reply to this message He said it would cost you to take your case to a tribunal and you wouldn't win. I thought about asking for a second opinion from different solicitor but felt I was wasting my time, as the meeting I had with the solicitor yesterday was short and felt as if I was taking up his valuable time. ks261983 07/10/2009 12:09:53 Reply to this message I can't tell you that you have a case - but I can tell you that the solicitor is wrong! Get another opinion! It sounds to me like he wasn't at all interested and was just giving you the brush off. A good solicitor will explain why they think you have/haven't a case - I cannot see how he can assume that the company are right if he hasn't listened to what happened! Flexible working request refused ( spoke to a differrent solicitor, sounds like I might have a case) After taking the advice I received on here. I spoke to another solicitor. He asked me the reasons why my request had been refused, so I told him over the phone and he seems to think I have a case. He said they have told you the job is a full time job although they have employed Maternity cover at reduced hours. That could be seen as discrimination due to you being a mother. He said they can't use the recession as an excuse either and instead of finding a way to keep you in your job they're adding additional work to your roll to be ackward. Thats not on. Finally this was what I wanted to hear. I didnt want to have to take the company to a tribunal but after the lack of support after me working there for 9 years. Im disgusted to the way i've been treated. Ive tried everything I suggested different hours ,less days , working from home. They had already made their discision and only went through the procedure as a formality. It just so happens that the girl who is covering my maternity leave is the directors daughter and needs the job because shes at college doing her AAT. ks261983 20/10/2009 00:46:00 Reply to this message Good - told you so! Now get on with taking the case. shikahra 20/10/2009 08:12:08 Reply to this message I am pleased for you, and good luck.

As an aside, if you take the case to tribunal and win I would also suggest complaining to the Solicitors Regulation Authority about the previous solicitor you saw as they clearly gave you incorrect advice. Had it not been for the (may I say) superior knowledge of Shikara you would have lots out on your job and this claim.

Solicitors like that give the industry a bad name and you ought to make a complaint - not least if you paid for the advice to get your money back. newman123 20/10/2009 09:41:55 Reply to this message Flexible working request refused (help with solicitors fees) Hello me again. lol!

I met with the solicitor and he says I have an good case. This was a free appointment. He said any meeting after this will cost me 190 pound an hour. But because I cant go back to work, I cant afford to pay this. He said legal aid doesn't cover tribunals and now I cant afford to take my company to court. Do you know of any help I can get to cover the costs. I have legal costs on my car insurance but it only covers motor legal costs and because I live with my parents the cover we have on the house doesn't cover me. Please Help? ks261983 29/10/2009 13:01:58 Reply to this message Hi

Are you still employed there now, or have you resigned ? bubbles_once 29/10/2009 13:21:20 Reply to this message Im on Maternity leave at the moment, due to go back on the 9th Nov but I am going to hand my notice in. Im just waiting for my company to send me a letter because the solicitor told me to write them a letter saying ive had legal advice and been informed ive got a case for tribunal and that I dont want to go ahead with this case but will have to if they dont come up with some sort of agreement, so I can return to work part time. ks261983 29/10/2009 13:29:56 Reply to this message I would have thought that you would need to be very careful about threatening legal action, unless you are willing to see it through because the company may call your bluff, believing your case would not succeed in court.

Even if they do agree to flexible working on the basis of your threat, it is likely to weaken the good working relationship you have established with the company, which could make it harder to work within the company in future. In Finance 29/10/2009 13:42:58 Reply to this message I am willing to see it through. I just wondered if there is any legal help I could apply for? ks261983 29/10/2009 13:46:20 Reply to this message OK, please keep us posted about the response you get.

Best if you can to await the outcome of this before seeking further advice, but you might try

Equality & Human Rights Commission (they have a helpline)

Neighbourhood Law Centre

Your local university if it has a law school

Or, less reliable / more variable:-

Citizens Advice Bureau (try to get them to refer to an employment law specialist)

ACAS telephone helpline Flexible working pattern refused (Not enough notice) my part time hours request was refused at the beginning of October. I wrote to the Managing Director to see if it could be reconsidered. I then got a letter saying no. So I phoned a solicitor for second opinion after the advice I received on here and I had an appointment on the 27th October. He told me to write them a letter saying I don't want to take my case to tribunal and could we come to some agreement with the hours I requested. They haven't responded to this and in a way I don't think they have to, as they have said no THREE times now, but it sure shows I have tried everything. Im due to go back on the 9th Nov. Ive told them verbally I cant return full time but I havent put it in writting. At the moment Im on the two weeks holiday I added to the end of my leave, which started on the 19th Oct. My solicitor said they haven't based their decision on correct facts and this is forcing me to leave and as I dont want to leave but its because of them that im going to have to. Could they come back on me for not giving my proper notice, which is 1 month? ks261983 31/10/2009 13:18:35 Reply to this message Yes they could. It doesn't happen very often but it may. But I am confused by your solicitors advice. Your employer is under no obligation to agree to a request for flexible working - only an obligation to consider it. What would be the benefit to you in resigning - because if you are being advised to resign and claim constructive dismissal I would think long and hard before doing so. Such cases are hard to win. shikahra 31/10/2009 13:44:48 Reply to this message It's employer's prerogative to turn down a flexible working request, but they must do so for fairly compelling reasons, otherwise you have a potential claim for sex discrimination. This right is under separate 'rules' to the flexible working ones and you don't have to leave employment in order to bring an unlawful discrimination claim.

Your solicitor really ought to have explored all this (unless of course they did so, or didn't need to.} bubbles_once 31/10/2009 13:52:10 Reply to this message my case is for discrimination and as I don't really want to take them to court, he advised me to write them a letter saying I don't want to leave but feel they are making it difficult. He thinks their excuses are poor and not good business reason. I told him that I would rather keep my job than be awarded compensation. This is why he told me to write a letter to them. I know they don't have to accept my request for this change but I was giving them the option to reconsider before further action. ks261983 31/10/2009 23:48:03 Reply to this message Be careful about the advice you receive from this site.

It appears that the owners work for employers. This, obviously, would raise questions about conflict of interest. MaxHeadroom 01/11/2009 00:03:29 Reply to this message KS - In that case, I see no reason why you should not send a letter as your solicitor advised. I would be cautious of backing the employer into a corner by threatening legal action, although at the same time you cannot avoid saying that you have taken legal advice. Try to keep the tone of the letter neutral, saying that you have asked them to consider a request for flexible working, and are disappointed that they have refused to agree your request; that you feel their refusal is not justified (and why); and that you feel that they are forcing you to resign due to their response (but make it clear that you are NOT resigning). You might try to balance this by saying that you enjoy your job and working with them (it doesn't matter if it isn't true - you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar!) and would hate to have to choose between your parental responsibilities and your job when you feel that it is possible to find an amicable and mutually beneficial solution. Or words to that effect.

MAX*** - You must lead a sad existence indeed if you have nothing better to do than attempt to "entertain" us with your delusional meanderings. It is one thing if you feel that you have nothing better to do than to make up fictitious posts and waste the time of good people who are genuinely trying to help you because they have not realised that you are an out and out fraud. However, when you intervene in threads posted by other people with your fantasies you are deliberately misleading people which could, and if they listen to you will, cause them irreparable damage. If you had any concern or respect for the people who come here for advice, and have been receiving godd advice for several years as a result of ordinary people who give up their valuable time voluntarily to support others who have no recourse to legal advice because they cannot afford it, you would not be suggesting to them that they ignore that advice. You are showing yourself in your true colours - a mean minded little P***CK who is perfectly prepared to sacrifice the jobs of others for your own entertainment. shikahra 01/11/2009 07:53:09 Reply to this message Might also then be worth considering sending employer an appropriately-drafted statutory discrimination questionnaire bubbles_once 01/11/2009 10:25:26 Reply to this message Flexible working pattern refused (told them I won't be returning.) Had a letter saying that they can't take my request any further and that I am a valued member of the team. I had tried everything to be flexible with the hours I suggested. I endeavoured to negotiate a way to overcome the four reasons given for refusal. I feel that they were making it very difficult for me, as there seemed to have been no compromise on their part. So today I told them, due to their decision to turn down my flexible working request, reluctantly, I will not be returning to work when my maternity leave ceases. Unfortunately, I am unable to comply with the requirements to work full time, now that I have a young baby to look after. I went on to say. I am so disappointed that after 9 years, I have to leave and I feel that the refusal for the part-time hours were not justifiable reasons. Even though you stated that I was a valued member of the team. I believe that you carried out the flexible working procedure as a matter of formality, as there seems to have been no compromise on your part.

I also found out that I am covered for legal cost so I can take them to tribunal without cost. ks261983 03/11/2009 23:07:00 Reply to this message It is perhaps unfortunate that it has come to this but if you have legal cover then you are at least not taking any risks. I can't quite recall the entire saga, but just be cautious of counting your chickens. Remember that no matter what we and/or the solicitor have said, we have always also said that in the end there is no statutary obligation to agree to flexible working and that the burden of proof to show that this was sex discrimination will be very much down to you in the first instance. Simply saying that you were refused will not be enough. But good luck with it and do let us know how it goes. shikahra 04/11/2009 06:06:29 Reply to this message

ks261983

13/11/2009 01:33:50

Ive just been back and copied all my msgs and the replys so you can see the story so far.

Today the girl employed to cover my Mat Leave got my old job. They have refused my request for reduced hours because they said they wanted a full time person and now they have employed her and she only works four days a week. I wouldnt mind but they didnt even offer me four days, when I was pleading with them to let me stay and discuss an alternative scenario. She just so happens to be the directors daughter aswell. I feel pushed out! I sent them a letter saying I can no longer meet the companys requirement to work full time so reluntantly I won't be returning and they sent me a letter accepting my resignation saying. As you cant meet the companys requirement to work full time we have accepted your resignation without notice. Companys requirement!!!!!!!! Why have you employed her at reduced hours then, argggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!

ks261983

13/11/2009 01:47:22

Afraid that is a question that can now only be answered at a tribunal!

shikahra

13/11/2009 08:21:39

Contract of Employment

Just a quick question cause it will cost me if I ask the solicitor. When I started my job my company were a group of three companies. I was employed under the group name but on my contract it specifies the company I worked for. 2-3 years after I started, they amalgamated these three companies into one name as it was getting too confusing for the customers. As my contract wasn't updated when this happens my company thinks they may have found a loop hole out of my claim. Is this right or will they get into trouble for not updating my contract. after all I work there for 9 years.

ks261983

27/12/2009 02:45:30

Neither. Contracts are often not updated, and it really isn't a legal issue that the tribunal would be too interested in, but since it is clear who you worked for there isn't any loophole to exploit either.

shikahra

27/12/2009 09:06:45

Hi

Just to observe that I think your case is very complex and ideally needs a good employment lawyer to unravel it all and go after the employer.

Or failing that, one of the sources of help and advice I suggested before - have you explored any of these possibilities ?

There seems to be all kinds of issues here, and I do think that compiling and serving a statutory sex discrimination questionnaire on the employer might be the way to go first. In this, all the lameness of the 'justifications' for refusal can be queried i detail; you can ask about the family relationships of the other employee, etc. etc.

But it will need careful expert and time-consuming compilation.

bubbles_once

27/12/2009 10:26:50

ps

Afraid you have done your case no favours by seeming to have resigned !

But, if your employment has now terminated, you only have the next 3 months to put together a possible claim about all this, so time is now ticking away.

There are quite a few other issues, like exactly what kind of claim can you make - for example, this might be one for sex discrimination as well as another for unfair constructive dismissal.

But, from this distance, don't think anyone can properly advise you, and you really do need some expert, detailed, advice.

bubbles_once

27/12/2009 11:09:12

Fully agree. I have to admit that I quickly skimmed the previous messages, and assumed you have a solicitor. But on re-checking I am even more confused becasue you said you have legal cover and will get legal support at no cost. There is very little chance you could win without legal support and this forum does not, in any way, replace that. Please do not rely on us to do so - we only see part of the story and not the whole, and can only give guidance and not detailed legal advice.

shikahra

27/12/2009 12:04:17