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Have I been treated unfairly?

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I was employed by my public service employer 13 years ago. At the interview I explained I was disabled and showed my green registered disabled card. My disability at the time was caused by having a brain tumour, which had been removed but left me with some problems of becoming fatigued easily and feeling the cold more than usual, amongst other things. I also had odd sleep patterns but my boss said it didn’t matter what hours I worked so long as the work got done.

A few years ago, when I was just about to leave work, my ear started whistling. I thought nothing of it at the time but I felt ill when I got home and lay down. I couldn’t stand for the next 3 weeks and I had become permanently totally deaf in my left ear. This really affects me; I can’t tell which direction sounds are coming from, I can’t tell if people behind me are talking to me and if there is a lot of background noise, I can’t hear anything at all.

Obviously, I was off work for the 3 weeks but when I returned there was no acknowledgement of my hearing loss, which I was upset about, especially as I am an audio typist. I got on as best I could and managed as I was in a quiet room.

In 2008, I applied to work from home but I was turned down. I didn’t really understand why so I did a Freedom of Information request asking for copies of communication that had been written regarding my application. In amongst all the derogortary emails about me was one from my boss saying that she had “some reservations” about my health. It became apparent that for some reason, they didn’t believe that I had the disabilities that I said I had. The professor who treats me wrote to them confirming my medical condition and the ENT specialist confirmed I had a “dead ear” which could not be treated with a hearing aid.

In January this year I was moved from my quiet room into noisier and noisier offices. I raised concerns about this and asked to be moved to an ajoining room, which was empty but this was refused. I was then moved to another office and I again asked if I could go to a quieter room but I was refused. I ended up going into work earlier and earlier in order to try and get work done before the office got noisy but it got too much and I ended up being signed off with stress.

I have now been off for 7 weeks but nobody from work has contacted me to see what the problem is. I self referred to occupational health and for counselling. When I attended for this, I met a colleague for another office who said I had been moved in my absence to a larger office with lots more staff, which was even noisier. I emailed my boss several times to ask if this was true but she just ignored me. I went to take my sick note in one morning before anybody arrived and when to get some personal belongings out of my desk but it had disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

Occupational health have reported to my boss that I have disabilities covered by the disability discrimination act and she said she will be making recommendations when she gets medical reports back. However, today I received a letter from my boss saying I have to go in for a meeting next Friday to discuss things. What is the point of this when occupational health haven’t made their recommendations yet? To be honest, I wish I didn’t have to go back at all. I really liked my job but the attitude of my bosses has made me dread going in. I think I have been treated unfairly but I just wonder if I am making a fuss about nothing. I would be interested in your thoughts or if anybody has got any advice, I would appreciate that too. I know my workplace is trying to get rid of staff and I just wonder if they are trying to make it so difficult for me that I will leave.:-(

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I would say that almost certainly your disability is not being given due consideration under the DDA. The DDA exists to enable those who might otherwise find it difficult or impossible to carry out normal functions in day to day life, and in your case, to remain in employment. From what you have said, despite a long-term condition considered a disabilty under the rems of the DDA, your employer, far from making the 'reasonable adjustments' necessary under the Act, is actually putting barriers in the way which are making it alsmost impossible to maintain your current role.

 

Are there any good reasons why you could not work in a quieter room? Is that room, or any other, sufficiently close to the heart of the workplace to still permit normal interaction with the business?

 

You do need to go to the meeting if your health permits, as this should be the starting point for getting things back on track, and you should be free to propose reasonable working patterns and the adjustments to location or workstation that would enable you to carry out your job effectively. There is sufficient medical opinion available to support your position, so there should not be a reason to question whether this is an issue. You should also take the opportunity to express your feelings that you are already being treated with less respect for your needs (and feelings) than other staff, why your desk and personal belongings have been moved, and why this has been allowed to drag on so long to the detriment of your emotional health.

 

Take a colleague to the meeting, write copious notes on everything that is discussed, and start to keep a diary. Clearly, if the necessary adjustments are not made without good solid business reasons, and particularly if your disability is used as a lever to move you out of the business, this will all be invaluable if it becomes necessary to take a more legal course of action.


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Oooh, thanks Sidewinder, I feel much better now. I start to doubt myself whenever I get anything negative from work, so much so that I cried when occupational health said my health conditions were covered by the DDA! (pathetic I know!)

 

To answer your question, no, there is no reason why I can't work in a quieter room. Indeed, the room I worked in before was quiet and as I am an audio typist, there isn't much interaction with other people anyway. Also, the empty room I asked to work in initially, which ajoined the office I was in has now been given to the typist who took over when I was moved to another office! I asked 3 times whether I could use this office but was turned down each time.

 

I just don't get it. I have worked for the same employer for 13 years. The only time I have been off sick is with things I have caught from work (it's a hospital) and when I went deaf. In total I have had 4 episodes of sickness in 13 years, which I don't think is too bad. I work without a break for what is meant to be 5 hours per day, but usually ends up more like 6 hours and I'm still treated like public enemy number one. I'm good at my job and don't make mistakes so I don't understand where I have gone wrong or why they think I would lie about disabilities. I think it might be because I don't "look disabled" in as much as there is nothing visible but surely lots of disabilities are invisible, so that's no excuse!!

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Hello and welcome to the forum. You have my sympathies and I also don't think you're being unreasonable.

 

I don't know if it would be possible for you to record the meeting. Some mobile phones have this facility, for instance. You don't need to tell them your recording it and a transcript is acceptable evidence if you need it later. Other than that, I agree with Sidewinder's solid advice.

 

HB x


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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...there is no reason why I can't work in a quieter room. Indeed, the room I worked in before was quiet and as I am an audio typist, there isn't much interaction with other people anyway. Also, the empty room I asked to work in initially, which ajoined the office I was in has now been given to the typist who took over when I was moved to another office! I asked 3 times whether I could use this office but was turned down each time.

 

I have worked for the same employer for 13 years. The only time I have been off sick is with things I have caught from work (it's a hospital) and when I went deaf. In total I have had 4 episodes of sickness in 13 years, which I don't think is too bad. I work without a break for what is meant to be 5 hours per day, but usually ends up more like 6 hours and I'm still treated like public enemy number one. I'm good at my job and don't make mistakes so I don't understand where I have gone wrong or why they think I would lie about disabilities. I think it might be because I don't "look disabled" in as much as there is nothing visible but surely lots of disabilities are invisible, so that's no excuse!!

 

A near perfect statement to make to your boss at the meeting - and make sure that it is minuted! You sound like th emodel employee and that should be taken into account....you aren't being difficult and have a wealth of experience and loyalty and your job just needs a minor tweak to allow you to fuction to full capacity!


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Thanks Hb. I will certainly try to keep a record of what is said etc. You never know when you might need evidence do you? I was naive last time I went to a meeting with the management and didn't take anything with me! I have learnt from that so I am trying to arrange to take somebody with me, and a pen and paper at least!!

 

Thanks for your supportive replies! :)

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Hi All

 

Well, I went for the meeting and I took somebody from my union with me - thank god. Basically, the managers denied they knew I had any medical conditions. This isn't true as I was employed as a disabled person. I said I would be ok if they could find me a quieter room but they said there wasn't a quieter room (it's an 800 bedded hospital so it's doubtful that there isn't a quieter room somewhere). Anyway, they said they would look into things and get back to me but if they couldn't find me somewhere to work, I would have to be redeployed, which doesn't seem very fair, as I like the work I do and if I was redeployed, I wouldn't be able to do it anymore.

 

I suppose I'll just have to watch and wait now, although on the plus side, I have still got to wait for the Occupational Health doctor to make her recommendations.

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I was employed by my public service employer 13 years ago. At the interview I explained I was disabled and showed my green registered disabled card. My disability at the time was caused by having a brain tumour' date=' which had been removed but left me with some problems of becoming fatigued easily and feeling the cold more than usual, amongst other things. I also had odd sleep patterns but my boss said it didn’t matter what hours I worked so long as the work got done.[/size']

 

A few years ago, when I was just about to leave work, my ear started whistling. I thought nothing of it at the time but I felt ill when I got home and lay down. I couldn’t stand for the next 3 weeks and I had become permanently totally deaf in my left ear. This really affects me; I can’t tell which direction sounds are coming from, I can’t tell if people behind me are talking to me and if there is a lot of background noise, I can’t hear anything at all.

 

Obviously, I was off work for the 3 weeks but when I returned there was no acknowledgement of my hearing loss, which I was upset about, especially as I am an audio typist. I got on as best I could and managed as I was in a quiet room.

 

In 2008, I applied to work from home but I was turned down. I didn’t really understand why so I did a Freedom of Information request asking for copies of communication that had been written regarding my application. In amongst all the derogortary emails about me was one from my boss saying that she had “some reservations” about my health. It became apparent that for some reason, they didn’t believe that I had the disabilities that I said I had. The professor who treats me wrote to them confirming my medical condition and the ENT specialist confirmed I had a “dead ear” which could not be treated with a hearing aid.

 

In January this year I was moved from my quiet room into noisier and noisier offices. I raised concerns about this and asked to be moved to an ajoining room, which was empty but this was refused. I was then moved to another office and I again asked if I could go to a quieter room but I was refused. I ended up going into work earlier and earlier in order to try and get work done before the office got noisy but it got too much and I ended up being signed off with stress.

 

I have now been off for 7 weeks but nobody from work has contacted me to see what the problem is. I self referred to occupational health and for counselling. When I attended for this, I met a colleague for another office who said I had been moved in my absence to a larger office with lots more staff, which was even noisier. I emailed my boss several times to ask if this was true but she just ignored me. I went to take my sick note in one morning before anybody arrived and when to get some personal belongings out of my desk but it had disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

 

Occupational health have reported to my boss that I have disabilities covered by the disability discrimination act and she said she will be making recommendations when she gets medical reports back. However, today I received a letter from my boss saying I have to go in for a meeting next Friday to discuss things. What is the point of this when occupational health haven’t made their recommendations yet? To be honest, I wish I didn’t have to go back at all. I really liked my job but the attitude of my bosses has made me dread going in. I think I have been treated unfairly but I just wonder if I am making a fuss about nothing. I would be interested in your thoughts or if anybody has got any advice, I would appreciate that too. I know my workplace is trying to get rid of staff and I just wonder if they are trying to make it so difficult for me that I will leave.:-(

 

 

Hi,

 

Have you ever been in a 'quiet room' since starting employment or been put there when you lost your hearing?


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Hello!

 

Yes, I was in a quiet room until January this year when I was moved to the noisier rooms. I have been moved 3 times since January. I expressed concerns before moving and after being moved about the noise levels and my hearing problems but for some reason it seems that my employer didn't believe I had lost my hearing, even though I lost it while working for them and was off for 3 weeks because of it. Each time the room I have been moved to has had more people in it and phones ringing and was therefore noisier. The room I was moved from was a typing suite, so anybody who used the room was audio typing (including me) but they said it was going to be knocked down. It hasn't been knocked down and the room has still been included on the site maps that have recently been purchased by my workplace. At the meeting they said there were no quiet rooms but while having a sleepless night thinking about it last night, I have already pinpointed at least one empty room that I could go into not including the now empty typing suite. I also suggested that I could work from home as I only type but then they asked me what pay grade I was and said it wouldn't be possible. They said if they didn't find anywhere I would have to be redeployed but I'm not really happy about it. Everybody who has been redeployed so far has ended up leaving!

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