Grievance procedure, ACAS Early Conciliation and the Employment Tribunal with an employer when refusing reasonable adjustments

Has anyone gone through a grievance procedure with an employer when refusing reasonable adjustments? Some of them recommended by an assessor behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

I believe that having a grievance hearing would a nerve-wracking experience for me. I would be under extreme stress and anxiety. I do not think that I would be able to say anything meaningful and/or they would be able to understand me. I do not think that I can do this myself unless someone represents me.

The problem is that I do not have a colleague, a trade union representative or an official employed by a trade union to be with me.

How about the Employment Tribunal?

What are your experiences with the grievance procedures, ACAS Early Conciliation and the Employment Tribunal?

Was it worth it?

How do the managers react when employees start these procedures?

  • I have no experience with that procedure, but general experience with an employer (public sector, presumable private is no better) tells me that they will quite possibly try to get rid of you quickly in a legally acceptable way. Offering you some low compensation if you leave "voluntarily", and helping it a bit if you struggle to decide, i.e. by telling you you'll be made redundant very soon anyway or finding the most ridiculous reasons to complain about (preferably things you were praised for in the past) to make you feel awful just at the thought of having to go there again.

    So I'd say if you don't mind leaving then go for it, otherwise not sure really, guess it depends on the adjustments they refuse to do and ow impossible it makes working there for you.

  • Get in touch with a disability rights group or call the help line on this site. Get some support with this before you make any decisions. You have a legal right to support. Good luck. 

  • I have been through this process without any representation. The ACAS consolidator that I worked with wasn't great. Without knowing the facts of the case she told me it was weak and that I didn't stand a chance. I took a significant settlement rather than going to the tribunal hearing. All of the evidence of disability discrimination, including the refusal to implement RA that were recommended in A2W report, were documented in emails from my line manager so I had a solid case. I do regret not going all the way. BTW I accessed my line managers emails about me through a data protection request.

    I had similar issues with my last post but had union representation. My employment offered me a settlement agreement in return for me agreeing to terminate my employment but had secured a new job before I signed the paperwork.

    I've now learnt its best to get out asap if an employer is unsupportive as its unlikely they will every change their stance.

  • The usual answer to 'reasonable adjustments' from an employer is that the adjustments you are asking for are not reasonable and there are 'business reasons' why they will not take place.

    The Grievance procedure can by a bit nerve wracking for anyone.  You will probably find that most of your colleagues do not wish to get involved because of fear of repercussions.  Even though it is against the law for a company to penalise you for taking out a grievance as long as it is done in good faith.

    You really have answered your question about representation.  That is what unions are for.  A good representative is more than worth the subscription.  Your job may be saved by good representation.  And representatives get training in how to deal with grievances, they will be au fait with your policies if from your workplace.  But now you must think of how to go about things.

    Collect as much evidence as you can.  From government websites, from Acas website, from the Equality an Human Rights website.  Write down the points you have as to why you believe your grievance should be upheld - this may be codes of practice from ACAS, what is said by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  Get this as coherent as you can into a report which attempts to destroy the other side argument or what you perceive their argument to be.  Reference why you think you are right.  You say that some of the recommendations you have asked for are recommended by the Department of Work and Pensions Assessor, for which I believe you mean Access to Work.

    Access to Work have never been found to be wrong at an employment tribunal.  So using this in your grievance, you have the building block to win your case.  It may be a long process.  You may lose the first stage.  So appeal.  You may lose the appeal.  That does not matter either since you can go for Early Concilliation followed by an Employment Tribunal if no settlement is reached..

    While all this is going on with the grievance procedure you should complete the form online for ACAS Early Concilliation.  You have to do this within three months minus one day from the action which caused your grievance - in this case the date of the notice from you to the employer asking for the adjustment. This is strictly enforced.  Early conciliation is the first stage of an Industrial Tribunal and is voluntary.  If you and the employer agree to go with Early Conciliation, any agreement that is reached is legally binding.  You will need to know what you want, and with a grievance of this nature some compensation would be in order, and this should be realistic, for the stress and anxiety, you could get a couple of thousand pounds which might be increased by 25% as the employer has failed to provide the reasonable adjustments.

     Disability discrimination has no upper limit of compensation in an Employment Tribunal, and a 'protected settlement' does not prevent you taking out action for disability discrimination despite what an employer may tell you.

    Make sure you do take a work colleague in with you to your grievance hearing, and ask that they may help you answer any questions, and also that you may read out your points you have written down, or your colleague may do this for you.

    I am a Trade Union Workplace Representative, and I am also half way through a grievance procedure with my employer. Good Luck.