Forum

Bullying and discrimination in work - advice badly needed!

Hello,

I am back for advice - thank you again to everyone who replied to my post about fatigue, they were very helpful comments.

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, i work for a care company in the office. We all cover calls if needed, so I came clean about my probable ms diagnosis and explained I would find it difficult to do certain calls, such as helping someone out the bath, cooking in a hot kitchen, etc due to balance problems and heat intolerance - both very real problems for me, plus I didn't want to compromise anyone else's safety. i said I was more than happy to cover the companionship calls, light domestic calls, etc.

Over the last few months, I have had increasing hostility in the office, been sent to Coventry, am not privy to anything going on at all and very much frozen out. The bullying has increased and I now get downright nasty comments said directly to me. When I confronted my boss and my manager (separately) and asked if my job was safe, I got no real answer. The only thing they would say was that they would check out their public liability to see if I was able to attend calls, and if not, then well....In effect, if I can't cover all calls which need covered, I had no job.

So, it seems my job is not safe. What I need advice on is am I covered in any way, even though technichally I am on a zero hours contract? I know I need to look for a better job as the stress is getting so bad and I really don't deserve this sort of treatment. Will I get a bad reference?

Any advice would be really welcome!

Choochycrying3

Hi

 

You don't need or deserve this, life is stressful enough without this unnecessary and unhelpful behaviour from your work colleagues.

 

I can't help with your specific questions but do think you need to get some proper help and advice with this. I would give the MS Society helpline a ring 0808 800 8000. Access to Work may also be worth contacting (through Job Centre Plus)

 

Good Luck!

 

 

From what you say your job is safe; contact  http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/  who will put your employers right.

 

Loads of help available and you do not need diagnosis.  Contact ‘Access to Work.’ http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/Employmentsupport/WorkSchemesAndProgrammes/DG_4000347

 

George

Hi, well they can’t sack you, however if you are unable to carry out the work with no real hope of being able to do so soon, they may have no option to seek a replacement for you. Other options should be explored first, is there a purely office based job you could be redeployed to. Without knowing the details, a solution that jumps out at me is that you cover all the office work and no calls and the others do more calls and less office work. Without knowing how many of you are involved or the hours involved impossible to comment on this further. All options for alternative employment should be explored before you are “dismissed”, even then it would not be a sacking, more ill health retirement, early retirement (don’t know your age), redundancy. I don’t believe you will get a bad reference, no, as for te bullying try not to get involved and try to rise above it, hard as it may be, you have done nothing wrong.
I know everyone may not agree with me on this but I depend on a good deal of goodwill at my work that would not be covered by any discrimination laws, try to keep on the right side of management, Ben if they are difficult, this , I find, tends to get people on your side and makes things easier.
Cheryl:)

Hi again, I’m not sure what a zero hours contract is, and more about the reference, no I really don’t think you will get a bad reference, the worse would be a reference that wasn’t maybe glowing but was certainly not bad, perhaps a reference that said very little information , but would you need to use this employer as a reference anyway?
Cheryl:)

I know it's a completely different situation because my patients are mainly suffering from mental health problems but you could try and seek advice from www.remploy.co.uk. I had a patient who was having problems with an employer who wasn't very understanding and he got remploy involved to advocate for him. 

Good luck. 

[quote=“choochy”]

Hello,

I am back for advice - thank you again to everyone who replied to my post about fatigue, they were very helpful comments.

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, i work for a care company in the office. We all cover calls if needed, so I came clean about my probable ms diagnosis and explained I would find it difficult to do certain calls, such as helping someone out the bath, cooking in a hot kitchen, etc due to balance problems and heat intolerance - both very real problems for me, plus I didn’t want to compromise anyone else’s safety. i said I was more than happy to cover the companionship calls, light domestic calls, etc.

Over the last few months, I have had increasing hostility in the office, been sent to Coventry, am not privy to anything going on at all and very much frozen out. The bullying has increased and I now get downright nasty comments said directly to me. When I confronted my boss and my manager (separately) and asked if my job was safe, I got no real answer. The only thing they would say was that they would check out their public liability to see if I was able to attend calls, and if not, then well…In effect, if I can’t cover all calls which need covered, I had no job.

So, it seems my job is not safe. What I need advice on is am I covered in any way, even though technichally I am on a zero hours contract? I know I need to look for a better job as the stress is getting so bad and I really don’t deserve this sort of treatment. Will I get a bad reference?

Any advice would be really welcome!

Choochy

[/quote] Hello Choochy. I am so sorry to read of your situation with regards to bullying.

Have you got a HR dept: at the HQ of the care company?f ind out and speak with them about the matter.

Ask your manager for the policy and procedures on ‘bullying in the workplace’. and ask her to go through it with you. If she declines this request ask to be pointed in the direction of someone in the company who will. There will be someone…so dont let your bullies tell you any different.

We all have rights in the workplace…and bullying isnt one of them…

Please dont be affraid of the bullies, some of them wont have a clue what they are on about and wont have any idea about consequences of their actions. A lot of them will be following the ‘Lead bully’ because it is the safest place for them to be. i.e. They to are as scared of the bully/s as you are. Hold your head up high and go forward with this…

As far as I am aware if you have medical issues them a lot of companies will try and give you duties that you can carry out without causing any health and safety issues to either yourself or others. I dont think your manager will be qualified to decide the outcome of this. I would ask to be seen by the companys medical/health department.(occupational health) If they dont have one then they would normally get an independent company in to do an assesment on you.

I hope what i have put down makes sence to you…I know whatI mean …but am not always good at expressing myself on paperanymore…

Please do get as much help and onfo as you can…and I will be with you in thoughts on this one. Bullying is a terrible thing.

Take care and good luck…xx Maria

Thank you all for your really helpful comments! It's nice not to feel so alone. Sadly we don't have an HR department as we are so small. I am going to call the Society to see what rights I have. My friends are pushing me to take it to tribunal, but I just want to enjoy my job as I was really good at it! Plus it is very rewarding as I work on social inclusion for the elderly.

I think I need to find out where I stand with a zero hours contract and take it from there. I used to read about things like this happening and never thought it would happen to me......

 

Choochy

Choochy, don't move! (well OK, do move for as long as you need to in the workplace..). I have been in that situation and I did move unfortunately, although circumstances other than MS were also involved. As an ex-office worker I know how b l o o d y hard it can be (started to work in care after that, was not much better..). Thing is, also depending on how MS effects you (yes, our profiles should give as much information as possible, age etc, to enable us to help each other in the most productive <....> way), finding a new job WILL be harder, especially under the present economical circumstances.

Still, I can almost sense how you must feel sitting in that little office, I have been there! And that is what 'rules' your life at the moment, and all you can think of is to get out of that situation, can't blame you. Still, unless you HAVE found a reliable way out, try to stay there. Just talk to US on a daily basis as you do not seem to be able to communicate with your 'colleagues'. Knowing that you WILL be able to vent later on during the day MIGHT help.

Remember, the only 'looser' (excusez le mot) in the end will be you, no one else (I am talking about the financial implications BTW).

You are not on your own. Good luck, do not make the same mistake as me (is meant as mental support; at the end of the day it is up to you, we are all 'unique'!)

Well how completely and utterly pathetic are your colleagues and bosses?!

And they call themselves carers?!?!?!  letdown

 

I hope you can get someone to explain to them that they cannot treat you like this. Apart from the woeful absence of basic manners and understanding, they are leaving themselves open to a law suit! The CAB, Access to Work, an employment lawyer and/or the others recommended above - someone must be able to help!

 

One thought - do your colleagues know why you aren't doing those calls any more? Could they perhaps think you are getting special treatment for no good reason? (I'm trying to find an explanation that doesn't involve them being *********!)

 

Karen x

 

Hello again,

Huge thanks to you all - I feel way less alone now. Believe it or not, the others in the office are aware of my diagnosis and the reasons why I wasn't comfortable doing particular calls, but all they say is, 'but you look so well, what's wrooooong with you?'. I guess they think I'm just lazy and can't be bothered.

Anyway, i called the MS Society today and the person directed me to Disability Legal Service. She was brilliant and I have a telephone consultation booked for next week, with some advice given today. Seems I'm covered by the act even though I am on a zero hours contract, yay!!

I feel a lot clearer about things and I am now starting to keep a journal of everything that happens in work, just in case. i can cope with being frozen out (I just get on with my job), but it's the sly, nasty comments and filthy looks which hurt. Three against one doesn't seem very fair!

so, I am going to raid the chocolate stash, put up my tingling feet and watch some trash telly, lol.

Thank you again!thumbsup

Choochy x

Hi

 

reading through the post yes human rights folk should be able to keep you right, also your local CAB , i volunteer there and we have details of a local employment solicitor who can also give advice(free)  , hopefully your local one should also

 

trish