Meeting organised for before work, but I can’t get there in time

Work is wanting me to attend an 8.50am morning meeting every day. I am paid from 9am. Due to childcare arrangements I can’t get there till 8.55am. When I arrive I ring the bell to be let in nobody lets me in because they are in this meeting. They finally let me in when the branch opens at 9am. My manager is then telling me I am late for work as it is part of my job role to open the doors at 9am. What can I do please? Surely I can’t be classed as late if they won’t let me in? If they let me in when I got there then I would have no problem in opening the door to customers at 9am. My manager is mentioning it at every 1:1 and I keep trying to explain, but I feel really harassed. Some advise would be great, thanks.

I would suggest you review your contract of employment to clarify exactly what it states about your hours of work and job role. If your contract states that you are to start at 09:00am and says nothing else about flexibility, opening up or attending for early meetings then, generally speaking, your hours and contract generally cannot be varied without your consent.

Once you have checked the terms of your contract I would suggest that you hold an informal meeting with your manager to discuss your concerns. You should explain that, even when you are arriving at 08:55am, nobody is there to let you in the building. You should also make it clear that the reason you cannot attend any sooner is due to childcare commitments. If your contract does not state that you have to be at work earlier than 09:00am then you may have grounds to argue that holding the early-morning meetings and requiring you to attend amounts to indirect sex discrimination due to your childcare commitments. It would then be up to your employer to justify this procedure. Any claim for sex discrimination must be submitted to an employment tribunal within three months of the discriminatory act and you must go through the Acas pre-conciliation procedures before a tribunal would accept your claim.

If meeting with your manager on an informal basis does not settle matters, then you should consider raising a formal grievance about the way you are being treated. If this does not resolve the issue then I would suggest you take further specific legal advice about your situation.

Should you require any clarification on the above points then please contact Tracey Guest of Slater Heelis LLP on 0161 672 1425.

*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.

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