Fibromyalgia Action UK

can somebody advise me please

I have finally been able to get back to work after fighting fibro. its only 4 hours a day and its a cleaning job, ive been doing it for five weeks now. I have always done more than I was asked and I was taken on knowing I have fibro and as long as I do all my jobs I can have a tea break halfway through. A new manager has been employed and he told my boss I'm not entitled to have tea break. I asked if the new manager new I had fibro and he said that if he did he might say I'm not up to the job and get rid of me. At the moment I'm on a temporary contract until I've worked for 3 months. not having a ten minute breakis cacausing me to really suffer in the last hour and I'm fit for nothing when I get home. Can this manager get rid of me because of the fibro if I was to tell him

14 Replies

Hi there Topsy :)

I am sorry to hear this and it is a familiar question on the forum. I don't have the knowledge to answer you sadly but I am sure that someone will be along shortly who can :)

It's a very sad attitude for employers to take and it is a shame that we have to fight past them too.

Sending you comforting and healing fluffies Topsy in the hope they help to ease the pain and discomfort you feel.

:) xxxsianxxx :)


If you are on a temp contract they could just say at the end they don't need you at the end. If they change your contract at the end of it then it would take them a lot to get rid of you. I'm sure that by law you are meant to have a 15 minute paid break for every 4 hours you work google it because if you are then the new manager doesn't have a leg to stand on xxx


I think Hols is both right and wrong.

Under 2 years an employer can dismiss you without reason. However, you could still easily get unfair dismissal if it goes that far, and I'm not sure the "manager" has that authority.

Since you have already told the employer - this is not just the manager - the employer has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make "reasonable adjustment". Your new person is bullying you and that's illegal whether or not intended. It might help to go over their head to the boss and explain your concern - you have a precedent in that they took you on with you being up front. Your new person cannot reasonably alter that. Legal breaks is another matter. I do a cleaning job too and my firm - an equal opportunities university says we only get an unpaid break after 6hrs 20 mins which doesn't ring true to me. Tell your manager all the circumstances and without sounding threatening say you'll go "upstairs". You could also try CAB as they're pretty good with employment matters.

Incompetent managers often try to cover up with some form of bullying but as they have the upper hand it's a tough fight for us. You could try asking (demanding) occupation health get involved. Even if its a small employer without in house staff, they must refer to and outside consultancy.

Good luck and try not to despair. That will let the fibro and the manager win - and you don't want that. :)


Paul My manager son says to look on. probably under statitutary working hours. hugs sue


Thanks Sue. Now why didn't I think of that? :)


Hi topsy4758

I am so sorry to read that you are experiencing this problem and I genuinely hope that you can find some resolution and relief to the issue. I must admit that I do not know a great deal on this subject but I have pasted you a couple of links including the CAB who have a very interesting and informative site relating to this sort of problem.

I want to wish you all the best of luck as what you have written does not seem fair at all to you. It is a shame that you simply cannot just walk away from the job and let them get on with it! As they do not deserve any staff loyalty with this kind of behaviour.

All my hopes and dreams for you

Ken x

1 like

I have had similar in the past but I have worked for a

Good few years.

The only way that he could promise you a tea break

Is if you had been assessed by occupational health

Or similar, they would then suggest things that could

Make your life better, but on a short contract your

Firm don't have to do anything

As you have only a 3 month contract then you don't

Have a lot of rights

You could always ask if you could work 10 mins extra

And then have a 10 min break.

1 like

That sounds like an excellent suggestion my friend! Surely it would not hurt them to grant such a request?

Take care

Ken x


If they don't then they're an "unreasonable employer". I looked up those links and there's much in them but nothing about breaks. I know people on tachographs (lorry and coach frivers) have prescribed breaks but there's not really a lot of guidance except to say an employer should not unreasonably exhaust theirt staff. I've seen recent reports about office staff having " a coffee at the desk" rather than a real break in fear of underperforming. Whenever I've done any computing course there's a statement at the beginning about having 10 mins in the hour away from the screen. I nkow that doesn't help in a cleaning job - which I do and have similarly bullying line managers.

I had cause to get some doctor's letters some years ago and they were in this vein.

It was interesting. The employer had written without my permission with a confidential cover. Doc said i can't let you see this but here's my reply. Reading between the lines the employer was really trying it on. The doc gave them a dressing down about confidentiality and constructive dismissal. :P


It is such a shame bosses cannot be a little less of an empire builder and more of a relationship builder! As far as I am aware you are not required to have a tea break unless you work more that 5 hours in a row. The fact that you had already discussed your condition and agreed a working strategy with your employer means that the new manager is just throwing his weight around. Sound like the old "I am the boss, you work for me and I set the rules" type of manager. They never get the best out of their employees nor do they get any respect as a boss. As vivien60 says you can increase you working time to incorporate the teak break, but if you already do the work in the time and with a tea break, maybe you should try slowing down slightly and not doing more than is asked of you. If you are like me this can be difficult, but I am learning that there is no prizes for killing myself and no extra thanks from your boss for doing it either :) I hope you can get this sorted amicably, I did. Good luck :)


Bless you I had a cleaning job my employer was really understanding too but in the end I had to give up im now a lunch time supervisor at a school that hour a day is about all I can manage I should talk to the new nanager & explain that as long as you take iteasy your up to doin your job & he might understand good luck to u xxx


Arguably, your previous manager put in place a reasonable adjustment, taking account of your disability when he agreed to the 10 minute break. Under the Equality Act, your new manager, in order to avoid a constructive dismissal or disability discrimination claim, would need to show that there was either no need for such an adjustment anymore - by way of a referral to occupational health (something they wouldn't support) or that the business needs had changed to an extent that the reasonable adjustment could no longer be supported and was to the detriment of the business. In other words, an output/capability argument. However if you are offering to tack on the extra 10 minutes at the end of your shift, then that argument is also nonsense. I don't think disability discrimination is dependant on particular contracts/employment status. It applies to everyone, temporary or otherwise. Do you have anything in writing from your last manager, or could you get this confirmed in writing?

My new manager tried to do the same to me, he cost the organisation a lot of money xxx


Hi Topsey

If you want to know the ins and outs of rest breaks go to Advice Net and type in rest breaks and it will bring up their fact sheet on the subject, it is the Citizen Advice website. The rules appear to be that you have to work 6 hours in order to be entitled to a 20 minute break. My friend who had health problems like yourself also took a cleaning job and she found that having to work 4 hours straight was too much for her. After a month she went to the manager and said how much she was enjoying the job but the straight 4 hours cleaning was leaving her exhausted and explained her health problems. She offered to either come in 15 mins early or go home 15 minutes later in order that she could have a cup of tea and take her tablets and as she was a good worker they were quite happy for her to do this. She explained to the other cleaner why she did this and the other cleaner was more than happy and actually confiding in her made them from acquantances into close friends. She was not on a permanent contract either but worked for them very happily for several years until she finished as the store wasn't doing very well and they had to shed staff. Some times an honest approach to someone can give the best results. If you were working there permanently and your health deteriorated they would normally need to look at your job and see whether any reasonable changes on the way you worked could facilitate a return to work after illness if they made them. Mind you what is classed as reasonable is always open to interpretation. Good luck and I hope you can keep your job because I know only too well what it is to lose one through ill health as I have been there and worn the T shirt as they say. Let us know how you get onxx


Hello Topsy from Nurse Gladys Emanuel (open all hours) many people work in jobs where bosses are animals! They don't suffer, they have one goal and that is productivity with profits! I would advise you to go to local Job centre with your diagnosis letter or a supporting letter from your g.p and get them to place you on a paid training course for a different job-I personally cannot manage good housekeeping some days never mind clean for someone else, that's a very strenuous job for a fibro sufferer I fear you will be off work again soon if you carry out this current role. You type in good on the forum here, maybe learn keyboard skills, better your knowledge and a couple of hours per day sitting as a data input clerk or answering fones in a bank or call centre that doesn,t put you under pressure-it also pays better money!!


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