Flexible working request due to disability turned down: ask the expert

I work at a hospital. I work full time (37.5 hours per week) as a Biomedical Scientist which includes the Out Of Hours (OOH) rota which is made up of Early, Late,Late-late, Night and Core shifts plus 2% on call. I have some health problems like significant osteoarthritis in my knees, osteopenia and osteporosis, back pain etc. etc. I am in constant pain while I am walking or standing. Recently, I appiled via a Flexible Working Application form to reduce my working hours to 30 per week. Unfortunately, my application has been refused on the grounds of detrimental effects on ability to meet service demand. Biomedical scientists are required to provide a 24 hour service – this request could be detrimental to provision of this OOH sevice. I am only asking for one core shift which is 7.5hrs. per week as I am suffering from severe knee pain. I am willing to work most of the hours. The counter proposal is to do 30 hrs per week but working on the OOH rota if required. I feel like this counter proposal could be worse if all 30hrs are OOH. I could be working a full time rota with less core shift. I will be constantly worrying if I accepted the counter proposal as I wouldn’t know what rota i would be working as people are leaving constantly. I am sure my osteoarthritis is not going to get better as already it is significantly bad. I think I deserve to work as core shift as I can’t walk.

Woman with disabilities working from home


You need to send a letter to your employer, appealing against their decision in respect of your flexible working request.

Within your appeal, you should make it clear that you also lodging a grievance in respect of the company’s decision.

You should set out that you are submitting your request for flexible working purely because of your disability, i.e. your medical condition and make it clear what your medical condition is.  You should state that you would like the company to reconsider your request, given that you believe that this is a reasonable adjustment that your employer should make, due to your disability.

If this matter is not then subsequently resolved to your satisfaction, please contact Tracey Guest on 0161 975 3823 for further advice.


Comments [2]

  • Caroline says:


    Looking for advice, I currently work 35 hours per week as an associate scientist for a pharmaceutical company. I have worked for the company for 10 years. Three years ago I got diagnosed with ME/CFS. I was off sick for 13 months and then over a period of 12 weeks I slowly built up my hours till I was full time. I am however wanting to see if I can drop one day over two days so I would work 3 full days and 2 half days. I have read that ME/CFS is classed as a disability and I am finding that I am really struggling to do five days. Where does the law stand with regards to this. Any advice appreciated.

    • Mandy Garner says:

      You should make a flexible working request on the basis of your disability. Legally, if you are disabled your employer has to make reasonable adjustments in line with your disability so if they turn down your request without doing so they could be subject to a case of discrimination. It is a good idea to get a doctor’s note too.

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