Being managed out of your job

Employers sometimes try to make employees leave or find another way to get rid of them. This is sometimes called being ‘managed out’.

As a disabled employee, you are entitled to support from your employer so that you can do your job. Your boss should consider this when discussing your performance. If they do not, this could be discrimination.

What to look for

Take some time to think about:

  • if you’ve done the work you’re expected to do
  • if your boss knows about how being disabled might affect the way you work
  • if you have been treated unfairly
  • if there are other reasons why things have changed such as your employer is cutting jobs

Signs that your manager wants you to leave could include:

  • regular criticism
  • no invitations to meetings or events
  • exclusion from decisions that affect you
  • lack of support, such as having requests for reasonable adjustments denied or delayed
  • increasing workloads
  • more monitoring, such as a performance improvement plan

Talk with someone independent. This should be someone who will not always take your side. If other people are also affected, then it’s less likely that your employer is targeting you. Though less likely to be discrimination, it could still be bad employment practice.

Bullying, harassment, discrimination and constructive dismissal are illegal. If you think any of these have happened to you, get legal advice.

Check if your dismissal is unfair (Citizens Advice)

Getting free legal help

Probation period

Having your probation period extended or renewed does not always mean you’re being managed out. Your employer could believe that you can do your job, but that you need extra time to prove yourself.

Probation periods (Citizens Advice)

If your manager says there’s a problem

You may have a formal meeting with your manager, or they might try to talk with you in a more informal way.

Your manager might talk about your:

  • capacity
  • performance
  • attendance

They might also talk about your probation period, disciplinary procedures or dismissal.

Your manager should give examples to back up their points. It could be discrimination if:

  • your manager cannot give any examples that are true
  • your manager does not consider the barriers you might face as a disabled employee
  • your manager sets you unrealistic targets

If you are talking with your employer, ask: “What outcome do you want from this conversation?” The answer could help you. If it does not make sense or seem fair, email your boss your questions and anything else that you're worried about.

Your employer’s policies

If your employer is talking to you about anything that could lead to your dismissal, they should be able to say which policy they are following.

Ask to see the policy. This will help you to work out what your employer should be doing and what you might need to do.

Some smaller employers may not have policies. Your employer should give you feedback, provide evidence and give you a chance to improve.

Keep your options open

Listen to what your employer says to you. Are there things you can do to improve the situation? If not, email to explain why you disagree. Include any other relevant facts. For example:

  • Have they asked you to take on extra work?
  • Have other team members been off sick?

Show that you want to do your job

Trying to find a solution that works for you and your employer will give you the best chance of keeping your job.

Keep evidence

If you can prove that you were trying to be reasonable, you will have a stronger case at an employment tribunal. Keep hard copies of relevant emails and make notes of any meetings.

Talking about your condition, your rights and reasonable adjustments

If your employer knows that you’re disabled, they should make reasonable adjustments. There is no set definition of what is ‘reasonable’ – it depends on the employee, the job and the employer. This can include doing different duties as well as flexible and part-time working.

Employers must consider your request for adjustments and respond in a reasonable time. If you are at risk because they do not, this could be discrimination.

In some organisations, for example, being off sick for a certain number of days can lead to a disciplinary. If you were off sick because you’re disabled, changing how the sick leave policy applies to you could be a reasonable adjustment.

Preparing to talk to your employer about reasonable adjustments

Start by asking for advice from your doctor or another appropriate professional on what would help. Think about what adjustments could work for both you and the business. If you are not sure what you need, you can ask for an assessment. Access to Work can pay for adjustments and assessments.

When you’re ready, talk with HR and be as open as you feel you can be.

Reasonable adjustments at work 

Access to Work

Discrimination

If parts of your job are more difficult for you because of your impairment, your manager must consider adjustments if they know you are disabled. If they just treat it as a ‘capacity’ or ‘performance’ issue, this could be discrimination.

Disability discrimination at work

Challenging decisions

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your condition or impairment, get legal advice and raise this with your manager. You can start with a conversation and follow up with an email to make sure you have a record.

You can challenge decisions by:

  • making a formal complaint or raising a grievance (useful if your employer is not following their own policies)
  • sending an email to your manager describing the things that your employer has done that could be discrimination
  • telling your employer if your treatment at work could lead to an unfair dismissal or disability discrimination claim

Employment tribunals are usually a last resort to get financial compensation. You have 3 months minus a day from when the event happened to apply to the tribunal. You do not have to pay fees to bring a claim.

If you’ve been working for the same employer for more than 2 years, you may also be able to challenge an ‘unfair dismissal’.

Employment tribunals (Citizens Advice)

Your union can give you advice. Or you may wish to seek advice from ACAS.

If you want to leave

Managing risk can be hard when you’re stressed. If you’re thinking about leaving, ask yourself:

  • How bad are things between you and your employer?
  • Can you move to a different department?
  • If you get reasonable adjustments, would you want to stay? If not, negotiating a deal as part of leaving may be best.
  • How easy is it for you to get another job?
  • Does your contract say that you are in a probation period? This might mean that different rules apply to you.

Resigning can make you feel in more control of a stressful situation. But before you resign, think about:

  • anything else you could try
  • what kind of reference your employer provides (if they just give employment dates then it might not mention a disciplinary process)
  • how much notice you need to give and how much pay you will get if you resign (compared to being dismissed)

Making a settlement agreement with your employer (Citizens Advice)

Employment information supported by Virgin Media.

We're working with Virgin Media to support 1 million disabled people in getting into and staying in work by the end of 2020.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 28/04/2018

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