‘reasonable adjustment’ at work?: Morning all Has... - MPN Voice

MPN Voice
5,816 members7,961 posts

‘reasonable adjustment’ at work?


Morning all

Has anyone got and experience or advice on ‘reasonable adjustment’ at work?

I work full time but am struggling with symptoms on a daily basis (fatigue, nausea bone pain). To date I have not taken any time off (2 years since diagnosis of ET triple neg – daily hydroxy of a varying dose as platelets have not been stable). My platelets are currently over 1000 so I have decided its time to step back a little work wise (busy stressful job, but I love it).

My manager is supportive – we work well together - and we have talked through a job-share option, which would work for both of us both shot term and long term. However, when we put this to Head Office/HR (who are not involved in the daily running of our site) they have said that this is not an option and my only options are to stay on full time or leave.

I am feeling angry about this, so was looking at the government guidelines around ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the work place. However, it is very ambiguous. Any wisdom, advise, suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks all and happy weekend

, Sue

25 Replies

Hi Sue,

Good to hear you have a supportive manager. I have too which really helps. Does your workplace have a ‘flexible working request’ policy in place? I asked my manager and then filled in a form (HR have a list of policies and forms available online where I work). I just gave reasons why I wanted to reduce my hours (eg to have more time with my son, to make artwork, better for my mental health etc) then had two meetings with my manager, HR and resource planning. They then discussed it and checked if it fitted ‘business needs’! and agreed it.

Also I had 11 wks off work for depression so the reasonable adjustments they made were a phased return to work and because I was getting easily confused and my processing speeds were slower they agreed that I could do just basic orders instead of the complex orders. My boss let the team know and they understand. Best workmates! Could you adjust the tasks in your workplace at all?

My team leader knows of my recent MPN diagnosis so also says that if I need to take additional breaks I can - all I need to do is let her know. Maybe ask for additional breaks if they can’t reduce hours?

If you’re in the UK, Macmillan and Citizens Advice Bureau might be able to give advice too.

Best of luck!

SuET2017 in reply to Certeza

Thank you, I am in the UK so I might try CAB.

We do have a flexible working policy and I am not sure why HR did not approve my request. Possibly because someone would have to pick up the workload i would not be covering and, as my role is done by me alone, it would mean employing another person part time. Perhaps it is time to have a meeting with them.

Hi Sue, every sympathy I did not find HR supportive at all but neither was my line manager. I was allowed to work from home one day a week but I had to detail what I was doing hour by hour.

I found the best support came from my GP and also occupational health. Even then I felt that movements were scrutinised and if I went home early because of fatigue, I still had to make up my travelling time with work at home. As I say my bosses or HR were not sympathetic at all and I feel I was pressurised to the point I went for early retirement through I’ll health which the pension medics and occupational health were in full support of and I was awarded my full pension with 6 years still to go. When I left, I didn’t even get a thank you, never mind a card!

So the moral of my story is -you have to put yourself first!

Kindest regards Aime xx😺😺

SuET2017 in reply to Aime

Thanks Aimee, I'm really not ready to 'retire' as I love my job. I might suggest an OT review to HR? But yes, I need to put myself first (Im a mother of three and am in the habit of not!) and I am concerned about the impact on the other staff if I have time off.

Aime in reply to SuET2017

Hi Sue, yeah worrying about others is not putting yourself first. I know that sounds really selfish! When I was still working I was lucky enough to have private health insurance which I used to cope with a multitude of osteoarthritis ops (lost track how many but definitely in double figures). Each time I needed an op I would wait in pain until the workload was lighter, then arrange the op which was usually at Xmas, summer hols, etc. I got no thanks for doing that as I was shunned by my colleague, who reduced me to tears one day when it came to the stage I wasn’t coping with work.

It wasn’t fair to her if I was off, if I couldn’t cope - I shouldn’t be getting paid for doing the job, yet she sulked when I got my early retirement, she shouldn’t be responsible for my safety at work - not that she was! It just went on and on and I thought she was my friend! When she lost her husband, I did a lot for her. Honestly you have to start thinking of yourself. As our MPNs are cancers, we are covered by the Equalities Act. Don’t make the same mistakes I made thinking that work colleagues and bosses care - mine certainly didn’t!

Sorry for the rant, kind regards Aime xx🙀🙀

SuET2017 in reply to Aime

Nothing wrong with a rant. I’ve had one or two over this 😄 x



This issue came up recently. It is possible that under your employment agreement you can leave work due to you cancer. They are a little naughty for not informing you of this. Do a search for Insurance claims. cheers



4 minutes ago

Hi. I’ve had some experience in employment law, on the trade union side, and reasonable adjustment means just that. Your employer isn’t being reasonable in saying - all or nothing. They may just be trying it on, hoping you’ll go away.

Maybe a letter saying that perhaps they haven't understood the situation , that ET is a form of blood cancer,

and you’d like them to consider what sort of range of adjustments to your working hours ( if that us what you want) they would consider reasonable.

And see what happens.

Job shares can be tricky, so might be best to agree hours and then think how to use them.

Let us know what happens.


Thank you Rachael - I think a letter from myself, using your word as above, would be good. Thus far I have let my manager manage it, i.e. she put in the 'request to change contract', but (and I know this is my fault) I have not seen that request. So I need to take control of it myself. Thanks again, Sue

Yorkie1 in reply to SuET2017

If possible utilise your union representatives. You need to look at the DDA, Disability Discrimination Act, as you will find your rights covered within that. You have a right to reasonable adjustments in the workplace and they have to consider them.

Good luck with this. I do hope you are able to reach a far more satisfactory arrangement than the "all or nothing" response you received from Head Office.

Best Wishes,


Hi Sue

I’m having similar issues & I called Macmillan work support helpline

You get straight to talk to someone with legal & workplace experience, was very helpful & you can also just ring them for a chat if you need to sometimes which I thought was lovely

You need to make sure HR has you down as having a cancer which is classed as a disability & therefore they have to help you to continue working

They sent me a few booklets about it as well

Good luck


SuET2017 in reply to Melaniem59

Thanks Melanie, I have kept this fairly quiet and although some people know I have this condition I am not sure it has been ‘logged’ at head office, so good point.

I will also give Macmillan a call. I haven’t ever accessed any ‘support’ bodies, except this forum, to date (denial has been working for me until recently :-) )

Let me know how it goes your side.

Hi, I’m a HR professional and have a flexible working in place as part of a reasonable adjustment.

As someone mentioned above, apply to work reduced hours. The onus is on the company to prove it can’t work, not that it won’t. In other words they need to have proof that they find it difficult to recruit part time workers etc.

You need a copy of the companies flexible working request policy, and then follow it. You should state in it that you have a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (cancer).

It probably hasn’t helped your case that you haven’t had much time off. I know that sounds mad but most employers are keen to keep their staff in work and not to pay sick pay. So far you haven’t demonstrated that you really need to work reduced hours...

I think you would benefit from speaking with McMillan as they will be able to give you advice on a 1:1 basis.

Good luck and don’t give up x

SuET2017 in reply to Dora1971

Thanks Dora, you have given me another piece of information/jargon i wasn't really aware of. All helps x

Hi Sue,

I just wanted to reiterate what has been said previously, your employer has to put into place any reasonable adjustment (anything that won't cost them loads essentially) under the discrimination laws. The HR department cannot refuse legally unless they have real and substantial reasons, and even then you could appeal to an employment tribunal. Quite simply, them refusing as they are isn't an option, but they might not be fully aware of this, even if they should be!

If you need any further support, we here at Leukaemia Care can advise on a 1 to 1 basis, if you would like to talk through exactly what you need or would like us to support your conversations with your employer. You can either phone 01905 755977 or email me at charlotte.martin@leukaemiacare.org.uk, I'm available Mon-Fri, 9-5.30.

Alternatively, I've just written a document on employment rights that might help: leukaemiacare.org.uk/wp-con....

Don't give up, I wish you all the best.


Can you do some of your work from home. Before I took my early retirement I tried reducing my hours which didn't really work out. I then arranged my diary so that I commuted in to work for meetings and clinics (average 3 days a week and worked from home the rest. Our IT department was able to hook me up to the intranet. I this made life a lot easier. Maybe worth a discussion with your HR

SuET2017 in reply to Val_P

Hi Val, unfortunately working from home isn't an option. But thanks

We're protected under the Equal Rights Act and therefore, cannot be discriminated against for reasons of our 'disability' MPN! If you have an occupational health department, you need an appointment to get your best working arrangements in view of your condition.

SuET2017 in reply to JackLina

We don't have an OT but it may be that I can get an OT assessment carried out if it comes to that. Thanks

I have just had mine and if you are still able to do your job but in your own way and in some cases, more slowly and with assistance, they are legally obliged to provide whatever you need. Employment rights lawyer would help you. If you have a copy of the Bloodwise booklet, there is a section in there that you could show your HR department, where it is stated that you are protected by the Equal rights Act. God luck.

Hi Sue, I’m a legal exec in an employment law dept in Belfast, our laws are only slightly different and I agree with what everyone said. First refer to your flexible working policy and equality policy in work, get to know what your employee rights are within your workplace, then tell your HR dept of your full diagnosis and get a letter from your Cons detailing your condition. Request an OH referral. Most employers don’t have in house so you will be outsourced to the local professionals who will provide a report to your employer recommending reasonable adjustments, make sure and tell them exactly what will help you. Don’t apologise for not showing your disability sooner, just explain how it is affecting you now but that you want to continue working. We MPNers are protected under DDA (and Equality Act in GB) if all else fails take them to the Tribunal...that’s what it’s there for! Trust me, once their legal counsel points out that you have a good case for disability discrimination they will back down. If you have home insurance check your policy for legal expenses insurance, most will cover all legal expenses for taking your employer to Tribunal. You can even give your case to the Equality Commission who will ‘go public’ with the Tribunal outcome and name and shame the employer...something most will wish to avoid.

Hopefully it won’t come to that, but it’s good to know the strength of your position.

Best of luck!!

Kerry 😊

Great that you are willing to take ownership of this. Only you can really tell your story. Being open that you have cancer with at least your manager and HR is vital. Please use organisations like Macmillans or CAB. They have a lot of casework expertise. I would suggest that Macmillan’s might be more helpful in your situation. If you are a trade union member, you pay for their help. As suggested, if all else fails, your home insurance policy may cover legal expenses. Your employer is obliged to make any reasonable adjustment to enable you to work to your particular limits. As you are proposing an adjustment, they must consider it and either put it into operation or explain why it is not reasonable. The Equality Act is the appropriate legislation in your case. A good employer should be asking what they can do for you. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s some years ago and our deputy CEO said “My job is to enable you to work until you need to leave and then help you do that”. I was given a home working contact and after a year, during a restructuring, chose to retire early. Take care. Doug.

Thank you all. I have taken all your advice and words and written a brief letter (bypassing the flexible hours request) outlining my condition and needs and putting it back in their court. I will keep you updated on the outcome. Sue x

Hi All, my request for reasonable adjustments has been approved. Head Office have set out the conditions, which I am also very happy with.

Thank you once again everyone. Without your advice, which was crucial in terms of the letter I wrote and sent, and support I probably would not have fought for this.

And also, thanks to Charlotte from leukaemia Care, who picked up this thread and gave and offered support.

You may also like...