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stressful situation at work

hello everyone,

I just need to let this out. Very uncomfortable the way manager spoke to me.

I work in a laundry where we stand the whole time. while working I leaned against a basket that we keep at the side.

Manager came to me and said. you are not supposed to sit here if you are not fit for the purpose you should not be here.

He was aware of my ms. I wanted to talk to him about adjustments maybe so i can still do my job but i wanted to do this conversation in private not while i was working in front of other people. he didnt excepted and said there is nothing to talk about we don’t sit here simple as that. you have ms and you get worse so this job is not for you!! He said that in front of everyone. i had to do this conversation while working and with other people I bust in tears.

He then asked me to go to the office and apologised in front of the other manager. Monday we will have a meeting with other managers to discuss what they can do.

I was shocked, He treated me just like i was an ironing machine not fit for the purpose.

I was still doing the job same as other people just needed to rest my legs sometimes. that was all.

Has anyone experienced this?

M

Hi,

I am sorry this has happened to you, and I would say what he did is blatantly against the law, and he has either realised, or someone’s pointed it out to him - hence the rapid apology, and sudden meeting on Monday, to work out what they can do for you.

Don’t worry about Monday’s meeting - you are not in trouble. My bet is they’ll be all sweetness and light, having spent the weekend cramming on how to avoid a discrimination/constructive dismissal case. (Constructive dismissal is where they don’t actually sack you - just make it impossible for you to work there.)

I would wait and see what they come up with - it sounds as if at least one of them (the other manager) might be clued-up that what happened wasn’t OK.

It wouldn’t hurt to have some ideas of what would make things easier, though. Would it help if you were allowed a chair or stool? Would you still be able to do the job if permitted to sit? Is there any reason it would be impractical or dangerous to have a chair or stool there - e.g. because it’s a narrow space and other employees would trip, or it would be blocking a fire exit or something?

Tina

x

1 Like

hi Tina than you very much for your reply. it feels good discussing with someone who understands the position we are.

I personably think having a chair on the place where i work want be causing any problem for others or environment at all, I would do my work perfectly fine with out any disturbance to anyone or anything. except that i would send the wrong message to other colleagues maybe

they have the ability to accommodate me but they don’t want to. I mean its their right as the company to do or not to do but the way he did it was definitely not right

M

Hi again,

According to the law, it is absolutely NOT their right as a company not to accommodate you, if there “reasonable adjustments” that would keep you in work.

“Reasonable adjustments” do mean taking into account everything, such whether the cost to them would be proportionate, whether there would be any health and safety issues, whether it would place an additional burden on other employees, and so on.

However, they would have to be struggling very badly indeed if they claimed they couldn’t afford a basic chair or stool for you, and if it wouldn’t be obstructing a safety route or anything, I really don’t see what possible objection there could be.

I’ve never used them, but you might want to try contacting an organisation called Access to Work (just Google). They can advise employers on adjustments that might help, and might also be able to help with costs.

Others here have reported good results with them!

Tina

x

hi Erida,

i’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with such a throwback of a manager. the way the ignorant fool acted is both legally and morally wrong, i’m not surprised you got upset, i know that i would have too.

tina obviously knows what’s what. if possible (and it’s what you want), it might be an idea to have another colleague, one that you work directly alongside, in the meeting with you. preferably one who witnessed the nightmare manager in action, it seems reasonable given what’s happened.

keep a record of the earlier run in, along with a list of who witnessed it. it’s ok if you want to take a list of things you want to say into the upcoming meeting. afterwards jot down what was said and keep dates of everything, just in case of, hopefully un-necessarily needing to act on a case of constructive dismissal.

please let us know what happens, good luck,

wendy xx

well I’m new to all this obviously lot to learn.

Thank you again Tina I will look at Access to Work thing. My occupation therapist has mentioned to me actually she also wanted to come to my work and talk about the reasonable adjustments few months back but i thought i could solve this out my self.

if offering a chair in fact I would be very happy to work there. its not stressful at all. working on my own peace except that is evening shift. I was about to start full time position once they had a space but was ruled out after they found out i had ms.

I am looking for other job but it seems hard to find a suitable one.

M

Erida, you’ve had some very sound advice from Tina and Wendy, and I would certainly agree that you have been treated very badly, and illegally. Are you in a trade union? If so, then make sure you take your representative along with you on Monday. If not, then do as Wendy suggests, and take a trusted colleague along as a witness. It sounds like you can speak for yourself, and a workable solution will hopefully be reached, but it’s always good to have a witness, preferably a union representative. Your colleauge can remain silent, he/she doesn’t have to speak for you, unless you so wish.

Once you’ve found a solution, I hope you receive a written apology, you deserve it.

Good luck!

1 Like

Goodness! It gets worse! They are not allowed to rule you out for a full time position because you have MS, either!

Not unless it was by mutual consent, because you realised you wouldn’t be able to cope. If you would still like the full time position, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to it, of course, but you’re certainly entitled to be considered. They’ve absolutely no right to be ruling out any candidate because they have MS.

In a way, I think yes, look for something else, because if they have such Stone Age attitudes they can’t do the right thing without having to remind them of the law all the time, it’s never going be a very great place to work. On the other hand, if you like the job, and it suits you in other respects, why should you have to give in to this kind of nonsense?

It’s great that your OT offered to speak to them - is that offer still open? If so, I would certainly take her up on it, and explain to work also that she would be willing to come in advise.

Yes, I’m afraid you really do need to get yourself in the picture about what your rights are, and not just accept: “They’re the employer, so it’s their choice.” The law says differently, and that they do have to make some effort. MS is one of very few conditions specifically named in law as something they must make reasonable adjustments for. They can’t just say: “If you’re not well, you shouldn’t be here - Oh, and of course you can’t work full time!” What a bunch of crooks!

Tina

xx

Erida,

OMG it is disgusting that they treated you like that!

I would add to what the others said as a senior member of the team at my work.

If you want someone with you on the day either Occupational Therapist, friend, union, Access to work, but can’t organise it in time before Monday you are within your rights to say that having thought about it you will meet with them but on a day that you can have support there.

Like others have said you are protected by Law. Ask for a referral to your works Occupational Health department if they have one.

Take Care and let us know how it goes

Snowqueen

Hi wendy and Ben thank you both of you!!

I have no idea what a trade union is or stands for?

The problem is with the witness next to me she doesn’t speak good English in fact most of them have little English and I have seen them treated badly from the same manager. none of them complaints because they feel lucky to have a job in the first place.There were 2 managers while i was treated that way. they both tried to manipulate the situation once confronted with the 3 one higher in position saying that there has been an misunderstanding but i did not let them get along with that so the one who spoke to me had to apologise.

I can speak for myself but im not quite sure what my rights are. my husband wants to come with me on Monday but I prefer him not to as he is quite angry.

Hi Erida

You’ve had some excellent advice and you are certainly no doormat.

Having someone with you when you have the meeting is not to necessarily have them speak for you but also to act as a witness. It does sound as if this might be advisable.

I would also contact Access to Work, when I was working they were brilliant. They will be able to advise on what would be reasonable adjustments for you and also provide support.

Good Luck!

Anne

Tina i was on the list for the day position, last month they asked few people to start for the day shift one of this was one of the girl who had started same time as me, she did not wanted the day shift so she tol me about this. I asked the manager who said he needs to discus with the other one. when I asked them again they said they will tell me when they have a place available. 2 other people who had recently started work moved to day shift after i asked him.

So yes clearly discrimination. What do i ask them for? if were you what would you do? I want to work there and full time. its near me and hours good for me too.

Erida, it’s just occurred to me, that there are people coming to this site from lots of different countries. are you in the United Kingdom? Only, we’re giving you advice that may be slightly different in other countries.

wendy x

This one is hard to prove. Unless it’s actually written somewhere - or their’s clear history that the longest-servers always get first refusal for the full time posts, it’s not certain your MS was the reason, as nobody’s automatically entitled to any job.

Realistically, I agree it looks likely it was the MS, but they might just claim you were unlucky, and that the other candidates were better for some reason, even though they were newer (did they have more experience elsewhere, for example?)

If it were me, I think I’d try to keep the two issues separate, otherwise you risk confusing things. Tackle one at a time - first the immediate one of the “reasonable adjustments” for disabled people employers are required to make under the Equality Act 2010 (this supersedes the Disability Discrimination Act, which covered a lot of the same ground). Importantly, the Act expressly identifies people with MS as covered by the disability legislation from the moment of diagnosis - i.e. there is no test for how disabled they (that is, we!) have to be before they are covered - it’s automatic from the start.

So your employer couldn’t argue you are exempt, because you’re “not really very disabled”, for example. It makes no difference whether your disability is obvious in everyday life or not - the fact of being diagnosed is enough.

So you need to get to the bottom of WHY being permitted to sit - or even lean, as you were - would not be a “reasonable adjustment” you are entitled to. I can’t think of any good reason. It wouldn’t cost much, even if they were to buy you a chair, and if there are no safety issues, such as those I suggested earlier, like blocking a fire exit or something, I really can’t see what grounds they’d have for refusing. “It gives a wrong impression” certainly wouldn’t be a good enough reason. If you can’t stand for as long as fit and well colleagues, then it’s not showing preferential treatment or setting a bad example for you to be allowed to sit. Their only other objection would be if it was provable you wouldn’t be able to do the job adequately in a sitting position, or that it was dangerous in some way. I can’t think of any reason either of those would be true, but then I’ve never worked in a laundry, so I don’t know exactly what’s involved (from what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re ironing) and whether there are any risks or limitations of doing it sitting down.

I do think it’s a good idea to get your occupational therapist involved, so personally, I would not give final agreement to anything on Monday - even if it sounds good - like saying you can have a chair. If (as I hope you will) you get to the point they offer that, say how pleased you are, but that you would like to involve your occupational therapist to make sure the type of chair is suitable, and see if there’s anything else she recommends. IF they would actually be buying the chair, you can dress this up as helping them, by saying you’d hate them to spend money on the wrong thing, so you’d like to run it past her to avoid a mistake.

So unfortunately there’s probably going to be a bit of hedging for time going on on Monday, because you want to consult the experts before agreeing to anything - so don’t get pressed into a snap decision.

I think the full time working is a separate issue, and once (hopefully) you’ve got the reasonable adjustments sorted out, you can argue that now there are arrangements in place to overcome any difficulties, you are even keener to be considered for a full time role. There’s no way they should be saying you can’t because you’re ill, but I think that’s a fight for another day, and one thing at once. Get it OKed you can sit down first.

Tina

xx

Erida, it you don’t know what a trade union is, then I very much doubt you are member of one. However, for your interest…

“A trade union is an organisation made up of members (a membership-based organisation) and its membership must be made up mainly of workers. One of a trade union’s main aims is to protect and advance the interests of its members in the workplace.”

Ben

Hi

Access to work is a good way to go.

For the employer, access to work could help towards costs dependant on a number of factors. Use this to postpone Mondays meeting.

They could help you with travel costs leaving you ‘fresher’ for work. Another win for your bosses and zero cost to them.

A chair or perching stool sounds useful for you.

Www.gov.uk has info for you and your employer.

All the best.

Neil

Hi there

I just wanted to let you know that the Disability Law Service has someone dedicated to helping people with MS withtheir legal queries and problems, so it may be worth contacting them, too. They are easily found via a web search.

Good luck, and I hope you either stay in the job you want to be in or find another one that you prefer.

B

Thankyou very much to all of you for the good advice and useful information provided. I am in the United Kingdom Cambridge. I will keep you informed about it.

You have had great advice from everyone above. I would highly recommend Access to Work I have used them and they were great with recommending equipment and assist me with travel costs.

hi again erida,

i’m so glad that you are here in the UK, now everything suggested above can be used. it’s definitely worth writing down the names of the organisations offering guidance and support, so you have them for your meeting. that way, if it seems to be that they aren’t going to give you the support you should have, by law, you can show them that you’ve done your research and found out what resources are available to you. there’s always the citizens advice bureau (CAB), who can advise you on the best way to use resources. it might be an idea if you check that your colleagues are aware of employment help that’s available to them also, like trade unions or CAB. if some of your managers are so willing to disregard your rights, it could easily follow that they’re also willing to do the same with employees without a disability.

you’re clearly more than able to stand your ground and speak up when something is wrong, but i’m so glad that you’re coming here for support, and advice, too.

wendy

xx