Awarded over £100,000 for asking for a four-day working week!

A care home manager who was sacked after asking to work four days a week has won more than £100,000 at an employment appeal tribunal. 

The employee requested reduced working hours after suffering a stroke, and an employment judge has ruled that the employer, who was looking for an opportunity to sack the employee, seized on a ‘minor error’ as an excuse to dismiss her.

The employee originally asked to reduce her working hours from five to four days a week, in a bid to avoid going off sick as he had previously suffered a stroke and was also dealing with a chronic heart condition, both of which had a huge impact on her energy levels. 

The employer “reluctantly” agreed to the idea on a three-month trial basis. However, the new arrangement had only been in place for two weeks when the employee was invited to a disciplinary to face misconduct allegations relating to an admin mistake. The employee had made “a minor error by not writing down her mental health risk assessment, whilst under the significant pressures of work,” according to the tribunal.

 She attended a disciplinary meeting and was told she was being let go, as she was “struggling to cope” with the “physically demanding” role, adding that she’d been found guilty of “gross misconduct”.

The judge found that the error was “minor and occurred whilst the employee was under the significant pressures of work”, adding that “There were substantial failings in the disciplinary process. The employer had wanted to dismiss the claimant for some time and had discussed it with his HR advisers”.

The employee was awarded £100,840 in damages.

This is yet another example of disability-related discrimination in which the employer failed to take into account the circumstances surrounding the employee’s request for a shorter working week. If you have any questions relating to discrimination, contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk

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