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Employee with depression awarded £35,000 after being denied flexible working – People Management Magazine

Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Employee with depression awarded £35,000 after being denied flexible working – People Management Magazine

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An employee who suffered from depression has been awarded £35,677 by Leeds Employment Tribunal after he was denied flexible working hours by his employer.

Employment Judge Keevash ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to comply with its duty to make reasonable adjustments by not taking into account an employee’s changing circumstances when deciding whether to reinstate flexible working.

Chris Hargreaves, who worked as a case manager from February 2016 until his dismissal in November 2017, was initially taken off flexible hours because he was regularly late but asked to be put back on after his depression worsened.

The DWP told the tribunal that the initial period of flexible arrangements was a helpful “litmus test” that showed flexible working was not suitable for Hargreaves.

But Judge Keevash rejected this, saying Hargreaves’ circumstances had “changed considerably” since the initial period of flexible working, as he had been prescribed new medication and started cognitive behavioural therapy treatment.

Hargreaves started his employment with DWP on flexible hours after an occupational health adviser had informed his line manager that he had suffered from depression since he was 17 and would benefit from a work-stress risk assessment and working flexible hours.

However, in December, Hargreaves was asked by his line manager, Lindsay Ingle, to go onto fixed hours following a period in which Hargreaves frequently arrived late to work and mislogged his hours. Hargreaves agreed.

Between 4 January 2017 and 19 February 2017, Hargreaves was absent from work due to sickness. His GP signed two Statements of Fitness for Work during that period, in which it was recorded the case worker was unfit for work because of depression. He was off work again between 3 and 4 April.

After his return to work, on 12 April 2017, Ingle invited Hargreaves to attend an investigation meeting into whether he had breached the standards of behaviour, stating it had been alleged that Hargreaves had repeatedly failed to attend work at the required time. The investigation concluded that the case was substantiated and Hargreaves received a written warning.

On 17 May 2017, it was agreed the fixed hours arrangement would be relaxed. Thereafter, the claimant had to arrive between 9.30 and 10am and he could leave between 5.30 and 6pm.

Read more at: https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/employee-with-depression-awarded-35000-after-denied-flexible-working

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