£22,000 employment tribunal award after a forced change of working pattern

A former postman was unfairly and constructively dismissed when he resigned over a dispute about his shift patterns, according to an employment tribunal. The claimant was awarded £22,000 having worked Royal Mail since 1993. The dispute arose over his weekend access arrangements for his daughter. He had approached his line manager to ask for his working pattern to be fixed from Monday through to Friday. The line manager allowed this but his official employment contract was not changed.
In 2015, Royal Mail started a restructuring exercise and issued a questionnaire to determine employees’ working preferences. The claimant was on holiday at the time, so his union representative picked his preferences for him and selected a duty which included working three Saturdays a month.

When the claimant returned from holiday, he objected and submitted a new flexible working request. It was rejected and then rejected again on appeal. He became ill with stress and raised a grievance but was told that he required to work the pattern which included three Saturdays a month. The tribunal found in his favour, demonstrating that employers face a risk if they seek to amend working hours, particularly when they have been set to accommodate childcare arrangements.

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