Hi all. I've been lurking for a while and have found the help on this site incredible. So I wondered if you could tell me if I have quoted the correct laws in my grievance and if someone could be so kind as to tell me what they think my chances are of winning a tribunal and how much compensation to ask for I would appreciate it. It's a long read. Bare with me...
Thank you in advance...
I was a support worker in a Residential Unit for challenging behaviour for 9 months from the 31/08/2017 to 25/05/2018. When I originally started at XXXX there were XXXX living in one house, soon after xXXX joined the adjoining house.
The manager at the time of this grievance is XXXX and the team leader is XXXX.
I have tried to separate the issues under these headings, Health and Safety, Bullying and Harassment, Breach of Confidentiality and finally Discrimination, though the issues do interlink and cross into other headings I hope that you can appreciate my attempt to make it as clear as possible as to how the events have affected me and led me to resign and ultimately the grievance process.
I am sending this email as requested by XXXX to support my original grievance dated 3rd May 2018, HR suggested that a group grievance meeting be held at XXXX on the 1st of July 2018. This was following a 2 hour supervision with XXXX whereby I made suggestions to enable me to do my role to the best of my ability and all of the suggestions were declined and I was offered a transfer to another unit as opposed to any alternatives. Within the group grievance meeting XXXX stated that she would hear my grievance separately to the group grievance.
There is great concern that the original grievance was sent to the manager (whom the grievance was concerning) this is a breach of confidentiality, trust and confidence. I am lodging a written formal grievance to invoke the grievance procedure by reason that XXXX has omitted to recognise its statutory duties germane to my health and safety at work, alongside bullying and discrimination. These omissions whether deliberate or inadvertent is to my detriment. My health and well-being has been seriously affected and continues to be affected due to my employer’s failure of the following reasons detailed throughout this email.
In invoking the grievance procedure, I am asking XXX to observe the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, and not act in a manner which would likely destroy, or seriously damage that trust and confidence. I trust therefore, that XXXX will observe the good faith performance, and take reasonable and practicable steps to remedy the following grievances. Furthermore, I am asking XXXX to observe the ACAS Guidelines with regard to the grievance procedure as a whole. As such, I trust that that I will not be subjected to a detriment and or detrimental treatment for having exercised my statutory rights in invoking the grievance procedure. In invoking the grievance procedure, I am asking management to observe The Statutory Code of Practice on Employment 2011, with express particular Chapter 17 (paragraph 6.93) –
“Employers should ensure that when conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures they do not discriminate against a worker because of a protected characteristic. For example, employers may need to make reasonable adjustments to procedures to ensure that they do not put disabled workers at a substantial disadvantage.” I also ask that you observe the Natural Justice & Equality of Arms.
Finally, I would ask that all correspondence relevant to the grievance procedure be sent via email, to my email address XXXX this will save both paper and time.
Health and Safety - Work-Related Stress
1. I feel that XXXX has breached my contract as I believe that my employer has failed to observe its Statutory duties under the following Act & Regulation of The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) listed below:
S.2 (1) to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure; so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
S.2(2)© To provide necessary information, instruction, training and supervision: “The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees.”
In reference to the above points I feel let down by the company as the management team have failed to recognise its duty of care towards me and have not ensured my welfare at work leading to both physical and psychological injuries, I do not believe I had the relevant instruction and supervision on shift to ensure my health and safety at work which has impacted on both my career with XXXX and my personal life.
2. I have consulted my doctor, and discussed with him the fact that the type of pressures that came with the work that management expected me to perform under was prejudicial to both my mental and physical health, these pressures are detailed throughout this grievance. As such, I felt unable to cope with the demands, which management placed upon me ultimately leading to my resignation, of which I would like to claim constructive dismissal. My doctor has requested to see me weekly and has put me on a course of antidepressants alongside a self-referral to the rape and sexual assault counselling service an XXXX, this is in part due to the way in which the management team have subjected me to a systematic campaign of harassment and discrimination causing untold stress, and partly because of the terrifying incident detailed later.
3. The harassment and bullying I have felt over the course of my employment has led me to feel paranoid, have anxiety attacks, migraines, sleepless nights and a poor diet leading to weight loss and low energy levels as a direct consequence of the pressures borne within my working environment, the attempted sexual assault I endured has triggered severe flashbacks and now a lack of intimacy between myself and husband. I feel tired all of the time which is having a substantial affect upon my abilities and capabilities to undertake my day-to-day activities.
4. Notwithstanding, I wish to bring to management’s attention their statutory duties under R.3 (1) (a), R.6, R.10 (1) (a) (b) & R.13 (1) (2) of the Management Health & Safety Work Regulations 1999.
It was incumbent upon management to have undertaken an individual ‘risk assessment’ at the commencement of my employment, to determine my ‘abilities and capabilities’ under R.13(1) of the MHSWR 1999 – “Every employer shall, in entrusting tasks to his employees, take into account their capabilities as regards health and safety.” I believe that having only two members of staff on shift to manage 5 residents activities safely is unreasonable, quite often I would be working across the two houses, sometimes alone if my colleague was on an activity– cooking separate meals and managing challenging behaviours alongside ensuring that medication is correctly administered and counted and getting the cleaning done is too much for one person to undertake.
A third person was often on the rota to cover the activities but management would frequently cancel this person often on the morning of the shift giving no explanation or suggestion as to how to organise the activities safely with minimal staff and supervision. I also wish to bring to management’s attention that XXXX has omitted to undertake any preventative measures to combat work-related stress from occurring within my working environment. I can state as a matter of fact, that no stress audits or stress tests have been conducted during my tenure. This omission is to my detriment.
5. Management’s solution to my stress and anxiety has been to offer me a transfer to another unit whilst at the same time suggesting in no uncertain terms that I may not be able to “cope” with the level of physical intervention at other units therefore affecting my self-esteem and confidence by putting my skills and abilities down. Had health surveillance been implemented prior to night shifts, the risk of harm to my occupational health would have been identified. It would be fair comment to state, that I would not have suffered the injuries to my health (mastitis and stress), which as a matter of consequence I have.
6. Before I commenced employment the manager XXXX lost my education certificates- this was paid for weeks later after several emails and telephone calls to XXXX now I have a copy and not an original document which I am quite upset about as I have had these certificates for over ten years. Attempting to get these certificates back from my employer was very stressful as on several occasions I was advised that they would be posted. When in actual fact XXX lost them.
7. At the beginning of my employment, the service had me as having two jobs and I was heavily taxed on my first wage, I had to speak with my estate agent about delaying rent which they could not do, my husband and I struggled financially, it was extremely embarrassing, this took over a month to rectify.
8. The company signed me up for a pension before I had passed probation which is in breach of my contract, I did not know anything about the pension as I was not expecting to be enrolled until February 2018 as per my contract, however the pension was taken in December 2017. I raised this in several supervisions from as far back as December 2017, according to XXXX Pensions I missed the opt-out date but this was because XXXX claimed that I was not registered and they had not taken the pension from my wages even though on my payslip the pension had in fact been taken. I have email records proving I have been trying to opt out since the very first payment was taken.
9. Alongside this I have reported XXXX to HMRC for not paying the hourly rate for sleepovers which takes my wages below minimum wage. I have never received a 17-week wages check. I have recently received an additional payment to my wages, however the amount received does not equal the amount owed for all sleepovers. I am still awaiting contact from payroll regarding this. Losing money from my wages added unnecessary stress onto my personal life. The management team did not send off the sleepover section of the wages in time and I was subsequently paid for 2 months’ worth of sleepovers in one month, this made my wages hit the level at which I had to begin paying back my student loan, had they have sent this off in time correctly I would not have been above the threshold to repay as yet therefore adding additional financial worry.
10. I asked if I could do further training (Level 3) but I was told I could not do this until I was in the service for a year, however other staff members were told they could begin after 6 months service. I was given 2 days of shadowing – one of these days was spent in XXXX therefore not shadowing the unit, before being put on shift and very soon into my employment I was put on shift with a new starter on a night shift, neither of us were medication trained and so if there was a medical emergency we relied heavily upon contacting on call. The meds training we received consisted of a power point presentation and most of the brief two-hour session was spent stopping a service user from destroying property in the room that we were in. Not having adequate training made me feel anxious about giving medication which I made management aware of, I asked for further training as I did not feel confident and was told that there wasn’t any additional meds training and I would be observed a couple of times and signed off as competent.
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11. I was involved in a strangulation attempt by a service user in my first 6 weeks of service, during a debrief management told me that they did not think I would make it in the role to Christmas, this affected my confidence greatly, the incident scared me greatly (without going into too much detail here but in brief I have been involved in very serious sexual assault with strangulation being used 12 years ago), I worked very hard to build up a professional relationship with the service user following this and offered many suggestions but I feel that the management could have done a lot more to support me such as conducting a risk assessment and not leaving me with the service user alone afterwards all day with a similarly new member of staff. I was not offered the opportunity to go home or attend for medical help, I was in a state of shock all day and it was only when I got home and showed my husband my red bruised swollen neck that he told me to go to the hospital.
A month after the incident staff told me that the management team had not believed my account of the event, even though I had been to the hospital the next morning and was told that I had internal bruising and was given medical advice as well as providing photographic evidence of emerging bruising to management on a daily basis.
12. There has recently been a service user move into the unit who drinks alcohol and staff are expected to go out with him to support this activity, I would like it known that I wholeheartedly agree with and support social inclusion and residents living as full a life as possible but not to the detriment of staff health and safety. I had a 2-hour supervision regarding my concerns. My concerns were about staff and service user safety, I felt that taking the service user out in the evening alone from 8-12pm in the town so the service user can drink alcohol was dangerous because of the vulnerability of the service user and equally the vulnerability of staff lone working, management were aware following the first incident (above) that I had a vulnerability (anxiety and flashbacks), I told them my reasons for not wanting to do this which was due to my historical sexual assault; and that it has affected me greatly and has taken many years of counselling to be able to walk down the street alone in the daytime let alone go out alone with a resident on an evening on a weekend alone.
My other concern was getting home safely at 12 pm - I do not drive and cannot afford a taxi, I was told it is not their concern how I get home, I offered alternatives such as taking the service user to a working man’s club in a taxi there and back when I am on a night shift (7pm to 7am) so that I can travel home safely in the morning.
The response to this was to suggest that I could not fulfil my role and the manager again offered me a transfer to another unit which I declined. I raised my concerns several times about the resident's violence towards me and was told that it was only me who had an "issue" with the behaviour.
If this was indeed true that the “issue” was solely against me then Management knew that I was a target for the service users behaviour and therefore failed to take reasonable and practicable steps to prevent further acts of harassment being inflicted upon me by the service user and failed to act to protect me from the following incidents.
13. The lack of sympathy, support and duty of care from my manager as well as the fear of being targeted by the service user was the final straw and led to my resignation and grievance. One particular evening the resident came back very late and was attempting to cuddle me, interrupting personal space, making threats by stating that “I don’t want to know what I’m going to do to you when I get hold of you” and being very physically aggressive almost pulling a door off the hinges. The next day instead of any support being given about this the team leader told myself and my colleague that we should have been on the other side of the house all night- this is unsafe practice as there are three other service users who are vulnerable living in the adjoining house, this was also not documented in his care plan but XXXX argued that it was. A colleague argued with the team leader about this and the argument continued as I was leaving my shift. I was very frightened after this incident which I raised with management only to be told that the issue of taking the service user out drinking (which had been raised by several colleagues on many occasions via supervision and staff meetings) was only my concern and no one else felt that way - which I know is not true (my transcript of the meeting is available on request as I was not given a copy of this in writing or via email).
14. The service user has previously made comments about liking “small girls” whilst in my company, I reported this to the managers but again no action was taken, following this the service user had written a letter to both myself and a colleague stating that we are his “friends”, I had explained to the service user that I am a support worker and it is not appropriate to write letters to us.
15. On my last night shift the same service user returned to the unit drunk and subjected me to a nearly 2 hour attack including trying to touch my groin area, threats of violence, trying to grab my wrists and pull me into him. As there were only two staff members on shift (1 being myself) and no males we had no choice but to endure the attacks until one of us could call for assistance, in the end, it was the service user who called the team leader as we could not get to a phone and he required her attention, my team leader attended and was also involved in an attempted assault but has refused to give a statement to the police. I have raised this situation within the original grievance hearing but the interviewer XXXX said she would like to talk about this separately; I have not yet had this meeting.
16. As a direct result of this attack I am now seeing a rape and sexual assault counsellor and have seen my doctor for medication to get me through the horrendous flashbacks that this has brought back. I have been informed that the attempted sexual assault has been downgraded to common assault all because I managed to defend myself over the course of nearly two hours.
17. Group Grievance
Having spoken with colleagues over the course of a couple of weeks we felt it necessary to raise a formal grievance as many of us felt unsafe. The grievance was raised on the understanding that it would be kept private and confidential Below is the original grievance we sent to the HR department.
3 May 2018 Topic: Staff Safety
I am writing to seek your help in resolving a problem that I am experiencing at work. It is a problem that is causing me and other staff great concern and that we have been unable to solve without bringing to your attention. I hope in doing so we can deal with the issue quickly and amicably.
I sent an email to XXXX detailing my concerns; I can provide evidence of this. XXXX then booked me in to have supervision, below I have set out the email that I wrote and I have written what XXXX said in my supervision underneath each point, in brief, our complaint relates to staff safety in the community and certain staff getting home on an evening:
Email and responses (given verbally in supervision)
Me: I am aware that my role as a support worker involves working with people who exhibit challenging behaviours, as you have stated in a previous supervision you and XXXX did not think I would last until Christmas after the assau lt from the service user in my first 8 weeks of employment, but I think you will agree that after that first incident I worked extremely hard to build up a professional relationship with the specific service user and sought therapy to cope with the memories that the attack brought back. I also feel that I work equally hard with the other service users when they exhibit challenging behaviours.
MANAGER RESPONSE: We did not think you had the confidence to continue working but you proved us all wrong.
Me: The new resident has moved in and likes to drink alcohol on a weekend, the community mental health nurse and our management team have agreed that this resident can be supported to go out with staff on a Friday and Saturday night into the town centre to drink a couple of pints. Our usual working times are 7 am to 7 pm and vice versa. But the employer is expecting us to come in for 4 hours from 8 pm to 12 pm. My point here is that I thoroughly enjoy my role within XXXX and I feel confident in coping with many of the challenges that I face, but the very nature of the role means that I am exposed to increased risks of violence and abuse which for the most part has been risk assessed and protocols are in place to assist us. However, as I am sure you are aware, lone working brings about an additional set of risks on top of the usual associated risks of working with learning disabilities and mental health. I would like to raise the following personal concerns that I have about this. At the time of this email 25th April 2018, there has not been a specific risk assessment done for the safety of all staff and some staff have been going out with the service user for nearly 4 weeks, I am sure that this is just an oversight on your behalf but as all employers have a Duty Of Care to their staff I feel that this should be completed as soon as possible, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) every employer has a duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees are protected - I do not feel safe engaging in this specific activity alone and I do not feel that my welfare has been taken into account.
MANAGERS RESPONSE: XXXX did a risk assessment a couple of days ago but it got lost because of IT issues. The risk assessment states that if you feel uncomfortable you tell the service user that you are leaving and if they refuse you just leave them and come back to the unit. (Since the meeting a risk assessment has been placed in the file and has been backdated to the 10th of April 2018- I have evidence it was created on the 23rd of April)
Me: It is a known fact that alcohol can make people aggressive and their behaviours unpredictable, therefore this in itself is a risk regardless of whether the person has learning difficulties or not, this particular service user can become violent when intoxicated and this is documented in great detail within the service users file. The thought of lone working within this environment is very frightening to me, not only the fear of what the service users behaviour may be but also members of the public who are under the influence of alcohol/drugs, we are physical intervention trained but this is not possible to do alone and not very practical in a public environment, certain areas of the town on an evening (according to recent news reports) are heavily manned by police, this suggests a high level of anti-social behaviour which again increases the risks to me and the service user when I am lone working
MANAGERS RESPONSE: You are all physical intervention trained and there is a lone working policy
Me: I do not live in XXXX town centre and I do not drive, therefore getting home at 12 pm on an evening has additional risks for me and also has an impact on my earnings as I would be spending almost an hours wage on a taxi home (sometimes more depending on whether it was Christmas etc.) As you are aware, I had to disclose to XXXX that I had been sexually assaulted a few years ago and following the resident attack this brought back horrendous flashbacks, it has taken me a long time and a lot of hard work to get to this point in my life, the thought of going into town alone is making me feel extremely anxious and vulnerable which may impact on the level of care I am able to give when I am out with the service user.
MANAGERS RESPONSE: How you get to and from work is not my concern. It is your responsibility to get home after a shift. Can you do the activity?
My reply was "if it was to a social club on a 12 hour night shift then yes because I would be returning to the unit via taxi to complete my shift until 7 am where it is safe for me to travel home on my bike but not an 8-12 in town. I don't feel safe at all. If I knew I would be doing this type of thing I wouldn't have taken the job on" NAME at this point offered me a transfer to another unit to which I declined.
Me: The service user has been known to leave activities without staff; this also puts me at risk
MANAGERS RESPONSE: We don't have funding for two people to go out together and he wouldn't like 2 people with him. You can have your badge in your bag but are not permitted to wear it in public on an evening.
Me: Within the service users file, it states that those working with him should be trained to a Level 2 and also be trained in drug and alcohol awareness, which I am not. I hope that you can understand my concerns.
MANAGERS RESPONSE: You are all trained to support him
This was the end of the meeting.
Colleagues have been having conversations with management about the service user move since we were first told that he would be moving in after Christmas 2018, we raised concerns then about how worried we were about going into town. Other staff and I are not convinced that the risk assessment is detailed enough to consider staff safety as the act of asking the service user to leave the pub in itself could cause a negative violent response, I would not feel happy leaving a vulnerable service user in the town alone, therefore, I would be put in a very difficult moral/ethical/professional position.
I have raised the issue of the care plan having several discrepancies and was told that the file is under review.
Staff who have taken the service user out into the town have commented that members of the public take photographs and videos which the service user has been made aware of, but we feel that this puts us in an awkward position as our natural instinct would be to challenge this behaviour from members of the public but as they are under the influence of alcohol/drugs it is not appropriate or safe to do so, we have been told that we can show our badge- but alone in the middle of a busy club/pub is simply not safe. I would like it known that I agree wholeheartedly in social inclusion for people with learning difficulties/mental health etc. and complete all activities required of me and do so to the best of my ability with the service users’ needs at the very centre of what I do, but I do not agree with activities when staff safety is at risk to meet this requirement.
These are my concerns that I do not feel have been taken seriously at all.
Other colleagues have raised their worries regarding safety and they too feel that they have not been listened to. As a group, we feel unsupported, undervalued and the lack of in-depth safety risk assessments speaks for itself.
We also feel that if something was to happen to any of us we would not have support from the management team and fear that our actions may result in disciplinary procedures. MANAGER has told us individually that we are the only person to complain but as we have come together to voice our concerns it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is not just me who feels this way.
I have added the people involved in this complaint to this email and included their names at the bottom (with their permission). I raised this matter formally, but haven't been satisfied with the outcome.
The issue has been raised in at least two staff meetings and at least three staff members’ supervisions and over email. The response has not been satisfactory and in my instance, I was offered a transfer instead of a solution.
I am constantly worried about coming in for night shifts in case they have rota'd me on to take the service user out, as we have been told that even though we are not on the rota to take the service user out it doesn't mean it won't be you.
My anxiety has increased to a point of waiting for a doctor’s appointment to go back on medication because the thought of going out into the town and getting home alone at that time of night has brought on flashbacks of my sexual assault.
Staff morale is low which makes going into work difficult as many are feeling ignored or pacified.
I have handed in my notice following the supervision as I feel that I cannot work for a company who do not take staff safety into account.
I would welcome the chance to talk this through with you at a convenient time and place. I would like to be accompanied to the meeting by NAME
Yours SINCERELY XXXX
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NAME (Names of the colleagues have been removed from this grievance to protect their privacy)
END OF EMAIL
18. Timeline of events: The dates for the official meetings and group grievance are below:
Supervisions, staff meetings and informal chats from December 2017 regarding the concerns about potential risks associated with the new service user.
25-04-2018 - After the failure of management to take concerns which arose in staff meetings and conversations seriously I sent an email to the manager to state my concerns formally
27-04-2018 - 2-hour supervision meeting with manager (transcript available on request)
28-04-2018 - 1 month Notice handed in (The issues forced me to hand over my resignation, I feel I had no other choice than to resign and consider the contract to have been terminated by the employer)
03-05-2018 - Group grievance email to HR stating staff concerns in the hope of a resolve -I explained in the email to HR that I had given notice, therefore, allowing a few weeks for conversations and changes to be made
04-05-2018 - Acknowledgement from HR
11-05-2018 - I gave HR my personal email address for future contact
25-05-2018 - Meeting arranged for 1st June 2018 (1 week after I had left the service)
01-06-2018 - Meeting with Business Manager
The grievance from the group was heard and other issues were raised (notes from XXXX available if requested):
· Staff safety
· Inappropriate name calling of service users by NHS staff and management not challenging this
· Incorrect dating of care plans
· Risk assessment not detailed enough to consider staff safety or service user vulnerability
· Staff have seen members of the public take photographs and videos which the service user has been made aware of, but we feel that this puts us in an awkward position as our natural instinct would be to challenge this behaviour from members of the public but as they are under the influence of alcohol/drugs it is not appropriate or safe to do so, we have been told that we can show our badge- but alone in the middle of a busy club/pub is simply not safe we are not to have our badge on show.
· Comprehensive assessment has several discrepancies but we are constantly told that the file is under review. · I was told in my supervision that the team leader did a risk assessment a couple of days prior to the supervision, but it got lost because of IT issues. The risk assessment states that if you feel uncomfortable you tell the service user that you are leaving and if they refuse you just leave them and come back to the unit. (Since the supervision meeting a risk assessment has been placed in the file and has been backdated to the 10th of April 2018- I have evidence it was created on the 23rd of April 2018 this evidence was sent to the Business support manager in charge of this grievance by a colleague).
On 13-06-2018 we received the minutes for the meeting (though we were told we would receive them on 02-06-2018), a colleagues name was incorrect and there was a mix up of which colleague witnessed something, we emailed to ask that this is corrected before we accept the minutes but we have had no correspondence as of yet (14/06/2018)
19. Breach of confidential information
Following the lengthy supervision whereby I unfortunately experienced the managers lack of sympathy I made the decision to hand my notice in, I no longer felt safe in my role and did not feel that I had any managerial support, I marked the letter “Private and Confidential to XXXX” and left it on her desk underneath other paperwork so it could not be seen by other colleagues but where XXXX would see it when she arrived on shift Tuesday morning and would go through the paperwork. This was on a Saturday night, I returned on shift on the Sunday night to find that someone had opened my notice letter therefore breaching confidentiality between the manager and myself.
I emailed the manager to ask about the letter and she said that she had instructed the team leader XXXX to open the letter - I was not happy about this as the letter was clearly marked for the attention of the manager and was private.
The original group grievance was also sent to my manager who the grievance concerned. This information was not given freely by the area manager XXXX, we were only told this because a colleague asked if the manager knew as she stated that there had been “sly comments” on shift that day, there was no official minute taker at the meeting or impartial witness, instead the minutes were taken by XXXX the business support manager who was also conducting the investigation.
I believe that the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence have been broken by the employer.
20. Bullying & Harassment
I feel I have been subjected to a systematic campaign of bullying by XXXX. The bullying by the management team is unwanted, uninvited and unwelcome. Furthermore, it has caused me needless stress and anxiety. As a direct consequence’ of XXXXs and XXXX conduct, I have felt low in mood, paranoid about whether colleagues are being disrespectful about me, I have cried on numerous occasions before work and after work and within supervisions and I am struggling to sleep.
This has had, and is having a detrimental impact upon both my mental and physical health. My doctor is also of the same medical opinion and believes this has contributed to being put on antidepressants.
I felt I was no longer able to work with the management team; this is due to the very fact, that the unwanted conduct is prejudicial to my health, and as such, poses a significant danger to my physical and psychological health.
To this end, I am asserting a statutory right pursuant to s.44 (1) © of the ERA 1996.
I have copied a witness statement below from a colleague who worked with me for a few months from 1st March 2018 to 25th May 2018. Other colleagues have witnessed similar events and I have evidence of this but unfortunately due to the original grievance being disclosed to the manager the staff are now fearful of retribution and have refused to come forward and be named within this grievance.
I have been unlawfully harassed XXXX and XXXX pursuant to s.26 (1) (a) (b) (i) (ii) (4) of the Equality Act 2010.
21. Witness Statement
Please find attached below my witness statement regarding unfair treatment of XXXX within the XXXXXXXX Former Support Worker at XXXX
Located XXXX Residential June 2016 – 28 Feb 2018
Located XXXX 1st March 2018 – 9 th June 2018
In the duration of time working at XXXX, I have witnessed on multiple occasions negative remarks made by management, specifically XXXX Team Leader, regarding XXXX. On one specific occasion, I approached XXXX as there had been a message handed over about the money count being incorrect for a service user who does not have capacity over their money. I informed XXXX of the issue and explained to her that I had managed to rectify it and discover where the mistake had been made. XXXX then replied saying “I bet that it was XXXX who wrote that”. The tone she used was sarcastic and she rolled her eyes and shrugged as if to suggest the issue wasn’t important. To clarify, the concern wasn’t brought up by XXXX however XXXX appeared to be insinuating that if there is an issue that it’s always XXXX.
On a separate occasion, XXXX had brought up a concern earlier in the shift. I can’t remember what the specific concern was about however I do remember that it was something substantial. I went to XXXX to ask for advice on the matter and that XXXX was the person that had noticed the issue. XXXX then rolled her eyes at me and made a comment that implied XXXX was making a big issue out of something small. I don’t remember the exact wording that was used however it was something similar to “her making something out of nothing”.
On multiple of occasions whilst at XXXX, I have witnessed XXXXrolling her eyes when XXXX has been speaking, make sarcastic remarks regarding XXXX ability to do her job and favouring other staff including myself over XXXX.
I have witnessed XXXX approach XXXX with concerns or a request and XXXX has ignored or discredited them, however if a different member of staff has asked the same thing, has resolved or granted them. I don’t have set dates for the incidents that I am listing however these have all been witnessed in the time period that I have provided for working at the XXXX Service.
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22. The rota changes constantly and sometimes with only days’ notice, it has been impossible to plan for doctors’ appointments, CAMHS appointments etc. I sent the management the list of appointments I had to attend for my daughter but several times they put me on shift and I had to get cover myself or change my appointment or miss half a shift when all is requested off was that hour, yet other staff members are able to go to appointments mid shift with no effect to wages and some staff have very flexible working arrangements such as the team leader not doing nights as an example.
23. When I handed my notice in I found myself to be on shift nearly every weekend (awaiting the service user’s return) and when I asked for shift swaps due to my apprehension of working with service user when intoxicated I was told no with no explanations, however other colleagues have asked for shift swaps and these have been granted, I have evidence of this but due to staff not wanting to be named in the grievance I cannot state which staff members.
24. I feel there has also been a breach of my employee right to privacy under Human Rights Act article 8, harassment under section 2a(3) of the Protection Of Harassment Act 1997 in that I have been monitored on the internet.
An example of this is when I was booked in for a supervision to discuss a Facebook post that management claimed to have been sent a screenshot of, it was not actually from my Facebook account it was from my husbands, a post which he had put up at the very beginning of my employment in September, the person who took the screenshot would have had to have gone to excessive lengths to find this post, this was not brought up in any supervision or meeting until November.
It was a picture of my distressed baby aged 18 month with the title of "Three hours screaming but I think I won", later in the comments My husband says "This is the result of 3 hours of screaming from a toddler who just wants to be comforted with breastfeeding but has to go cold turkey because of a work rota promised to my wife that would allow us to wean her, a rota that didn't happen and she is working nights. Haven't to watch your own daughter scream the way she has done is easily the hardest thing I've ever done as a dad, has my anxiety running to the limits and honestly makes me want to cry with her"
My employer told me to tell my husband to take down the post. Following this I felt like every post I made or my husband made may have been watched and as such, I decided to delete all of my work colleagues from my account, I felt like I could not trust them which made me paranoid about what I said and to whom.
25. The management team were overheard by colleagues saying that they did not believe what had happened to me in several incidents and thought it was an over exaggeration. In one specific incident management did not believe my report on how a service user self-harmed when I was on shift one evening; my colleague was questioned about my report and was asked if what I had written was true.
This made me feel like I was being accused of lying which completely undermined my abilities as a support worker. I have been told by several members of staff that management do not believe my reports in general about service users and are constantly checking with the person on shift with me whether the incidents have happened the way that I have reported them, this seriously undermined my confidence and I felt targeted and therefore bullied into looking for another job.
26. I was assaulted by the same service user who strangled me in a Jewellery shop, she elbowed me in the breast and having mastitis this was agony, there was no support when I arrived back at the unit - I was told to put an incident report on and that was that. The lack of empathy from management is appalling.
In one of my supervisions, XXXX suggested that I transfer to another unit, she then remarked that the level of physical intervention would be greater than what I am used to and I was asked if I could cope, I did not want to transfer in the first place, these suggestions to transfer seemingly came every time I raised a concern and suggesting I could not cope made me feel worthless and like I could not do my job.
27. In a supervision I was told that I "rolled my eyes" when the manager was telling me that new service users may be moving in who are non-verbal and pull at clothes for attention, I was mortified that they had thought this - my reaction to the discussions of any new service user has always been one of curiosity and intrigue, not an insulting eye roll. I felt very embarrassed and that they were being disrespectful to my physical appearance.
28. I have on several occasions had to stay up past the 11 pm sleepover time in order to assist colleagues with REPORTS, or I have stayed behind on mornings whereby the rota has not been done correctly and we have not had staff on for the next day, I have had to fight for this overtime payment and deeply questioned about why I had stayed up- other staff do not get questioned like this and some have asked me why I have to explain myself when they don't.
29. The overall harassment has been unwanted conduct which I feel had the purpose and indeed the effect of violating my dignity and it created an intimidating, degrading and humiliating environment for me to work in. Adequate preventative measures’ should have been implemented by management to protect my occupational health and well-being under s.1 (1) (a) & s.2 (1) (2) © (e) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
This omission by XXXX is to my detriment.
30. Discrimination - Equality Act 2010
I have been unlawfully discriminated against, on protected grounds, the unlawful discrimination in question falls under the auspices of the Equality Act 2010, due to the following protected characteristic – sex, thus being indirect sex discrimination and direct sex discrimination.
I contend that XXXX had constructive knowledge of my situation as I discussed at the interview my situation.
In my interview, I made the manager aware that I was breastfeeding and that my husband has had a breakdown and my eldest daughter was having meetings with CAMHS for a potential diagnosis of Autism and Anxiety amongst other things, so things at home were unsettled at the moment. She told me not to worry and that I would not be doing nights (7pm-7am) or sleeps (8am-11pm then 7am-8am) for a long time which would give me time to wean my baby onto food etc. my baby was under SALT as she had great difficulties swallowing and keeping her tongue inside her head which made weaning extremely difficult.
I had a conversation with my team leader about my difficulties and we discussed at lengths how she also struggled when her children were small, so I assumed she would understand but instead I was doing nights quite quickly into my employment and when I asked if I could do days as per the agreement in the interview just until I weaned the baby from the breast I was subsequently offered to be taken off sleepovers but would still have to do the 12 hour night shifts, I was also offered a lesser contract from 40 hours down to 20 but would still have to do night shifts, given the fact my husband could not work and was experiencing some extreme mental health I had to continue working and subsequently got mastitis and was on a lot of pain medication and antibiotics (NHS reports upon request), I could barely lift my arms above my head but still attended shifts - no risk assessments were done for this, I was not offered anywhere to express or time in which to do so and my request to work days for a while was rejected, there is no staff room because staff do not have breaks.
I had supervision about this later and it is noted that the service offered me alternative shifts to which I agreed to do, however, I had no choice but to work the night shifts as the alternative was to quit (telephone conversation with management to this effect). Given my husband’s breakdown and the situation with my daughter I could not put my family through yet more stress by leaving at this point.
The fact I suffered from Mastitis had a substantial affect upon my abilities and capabilities to effectively undertake my day-to-day activities both at work and home. As a direct consequence of this discriminatory conduct I had to take a lot of pain medication and antibiotics.
It would be fair comment to say, that had XXXX and XXXX taken reasonable steps to allow me to wean my daughter I would not have found myself in the position of physical pain that I was in nor would I have experienced discrimination
31. As I mentioned previously, on my last night shift a service user returned to the unit drunk and subjected me to a nearly 2 hour attack including trying to touch my groin area, threats of violence, trying to grab my wrists and pull me into him. I have been informed that the attempted sexual assault has been downgraded to common assault all because I managed to defend myself over the course of nearly two hours. I do not feel that this situation would have arisen had their been a male member of staff on shift, a male was employed to solely work on that side of the house but has been moved to another unit.
When I have asked if he will work shifts with me I have been told no.
Even after I had raised several concerns about working alone with the service user and raised a group grievance and handed in my notice, the company continued to insist that I work with him, it required me to work in an environment where sexual assault could occur (as per the service users historical behaviour), therefore I feel that indirect sex discrimination took place. My right not to be indirectly discriminated has been contravened by the requirement that I work in an environment in which a sexual assault could and (was attempted to) take place.
As a direct consequence of the aforementioned issues which I have sought medical advice for I would like it known that I have suffered both physically and psychologically, I have had mastitis, fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares, depression, flashbacks and feel paranoid about who I can trust and whether people actually like me or whether they are just laughing at me behind my back.
I feel that the employer failed to assess the risks and failed to prevent the detrimental impact which, combined with harassment and discrimination has caused and triggered my mental health disability.
Due to the combination of managements unreasonable expectations of me to take a service user out on an activity which I felt extremely vulnerable in I have been unable to cope with the demands of the job, this combined with being subjected to a systematic campaign of bullying by my manager and team leader has triggered the reoccurrence of my anxiety and low moods.
I felt embarrassed and humiliated by the events detailed within the original grievance and this one, and question the motive for such discriminatory practice given that XXXX works with people who suffer from physical impairments, mental health and have learning difficulties. I find this sort of discriminatory practice abhorrent. It is unwanted, unnecessary, and undignified.
I thoroughly enjoyed my role at XXXX until I was expected to undertake such activities which affected my mental and physical health, I have had to seek alternative employment with fewer hours meaning less money therefore creating more stress upon myself and family.
Finally, I would appreciate your promptness in addressing my grievances. I look forward to seeking effective remedy and redress to resolving these grievances without unreasonable delay.
Yours faithfully name