MPN Voice

unsupportive manager

Hi i hwas off work due to having esophageal and stomach cancer and underwent intensive chemo and major surgery to reove my oesophagus and part of my manager still won't accommodate me, I have requested a timetable change de to pain i get when walking any distance, resulting in having to take painkillers, at the moment i do transport and travel with students with a learning disability and i am finding it painful and tiring plus i do 2 afternoons a week in the kitchen supporting cookery classes which means standing for 3 hours a time, she has said she can only swap 1 cookery class which is not true, all other staff have said they are willing to swap with me so i can stay in college.

this has been the case since i refused to cut my hours to suit management


7 Replies


I don't t know the details of the legislation. Although the manager might use your temporary lack of capacity to do your job against you, I think employment legislation might be favourable to you..Are you in a trade union? Unions get a bad press at times, but this is a situation where you might get good support and representation from your union rep. If your college is in the public sector, the union would most likely be UNISON.


"Although the manager might use your temporary lack of capacity to do your job against you"

Not if they have any sense because it will only likely end up in a tribunal!


Hi Margie

I am an expert in this area so can help if you'd like. However to give the best advice we'd need to speak on the phone.

If that's of interest send me a private message with your contact details.

Regards Ian


Totally unfair. I hope you get on better with your management soon.


Hi Margie1 You are considered to have a disability with any type of cancer that is a long term illness and effects your day to day living, your manager should make allowances for you, seek legal advice here, I hope ilc72 can help, if not take a look at ACAS website for guidance, all the best.


As an outline one of the other replies discussed that as a cancer patient, under most circumstances you would receive protection under the Equality Act (2010) which incorporated and updated much of the legislation from the Disability Discrimination Act (1995).

Under the legislation, provided you qualify as having an illness that you have either suffered with for more than 12 months or is likely to persist for more than 12 months, your employer is required to make "reasonable" adjustments to enable you to continue your employment.

What is generally not well understood is that the size and nature of an employer needs to be taken into account when assessing what is are "reasonable adjustments".

Generally my rules in employment disputes are as follows:

1) Conduct everything in writing;

2) Ensure you engage with both HR and Occupational Health;

3) Get the backing of your GP and/or consultant;

4) If your Company wishes to seek medical information from your GP and/or consultant, don't unreasonably withhold your consent however ensure that you give your consent in writing in a document that states the employer will abide by the terms of the Access to Medical Reports legislation;

5) If you are asked to attend any meetings by your manager, enact your right to have a fellow employee present.

I assume, but correct me if I'm wrong, that you have already tried speaking to your line manager? It is important to understand that most managers, let alone HR departments, fully understand their obligations under the Equality Act.

If you have approached your manager verbally, then the next steps is to put your request in writing as to what changes you would like them to make? I personally would confirm these with your GP as to whether they would support these changes and they would help you as this puts you in a much more solid position. At this point it is worth stating that you consider these "reasonable adjustments" under the Equality Act (2010) since it will put your employer on notice that you understand your rights. If it hasn't been done already, it would be sensible at this point to ask for your case to be handled by HR and occupational health as it takes the decision making responsibility away from your manager.

Generally these things will get resolved at this point as few organisations want the bad press of mis-treating a cancer patient, though there are always the exceptions.

If they are still not supportive then next steps would be to raise a grievance through the relevant procedure of your employer, it is a legal requirement they have one and if they don't a statutory process will apply.

Finally, do you have a home insurance with Legal Expenses insurance included? It is worth checking because if you have, you may be able to get free advice from a qualified lawyer that can represent you should it be necessary to take action against your employer through a legal tribunal.

If you are a member of a union then it is worth approaching them for support and advice.


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