Jump to content


Been discriminated against on the grounds of disability


style="text-align: center;">  

Thread Locked

because no one has posted on it for the last 3395 days.

If you need to add something to this thread then

 

Please click the "Report " link

 

at the bottom of one of the posts.

 

If you want to post a new story then

Please

Start your own new thread

That way you will attract more attention to your story and get more visitors and more help 

 

Thanks

Recommended Posts

I have been working in my current job for just over three years now and today I was approached by the boss of the business in my office and told that as I had mis-heard a client over the phone when taking a card payment in respect of their name and that 'I should get some hearing aids'.

 

I would like to point out first that I am hard of hearing in both ears although it is only really affecting me in loud environments or when it comes to pronounciation of names and accents etc.

 

I was quite shocked at this statement as she then proceeded to tell me that unless I got hearing aids that I could be dismissed!!!

 

I tried to challenge her by stating that employers are supposed to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities. She replied by saying that 'she does not appreciate that comment' and 'that they are only a small office'. It is a firm of 10 people and my boss is a solicitor which makes it incredible that she thinks that she can get away with it.

 

I was understandbly most distressed at the time as I am quite sensitive about my hearing and it has never been a major problem in any other employment because other people knew to make sure that I was facing them before talking so I could lip-read if necessary.

 

I would like further advice on how to draft a grievance against her and what grounds I can state. I believe that disability discrimination is one area and if she dismisses me is it automatically unfair dismissal?

 

Also, I would like advice on how to enforce her to undertake reasonable adjustments.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 294
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Hi

 

If you work in a solicitors office you will know about the Equality Act 2010. Let me say first though that using the law against a solicitor, especially equality laws, could be quite problematic not only because they know the law and procedure but also because discrimination issues are never straightforward.

 

Reasonable adjustments are just that, they have to be reasonable and normally the disable person realises that their disability is causing problems and brings it to the attention of the employer who will listen to what they think will be an adjustment that will help that disabled person. Normally the easier / cheaper the adjustment the employer is more likely to help out with. If it is expensive maybe not so easy, but I did know an employer pay for a private prosthesis to keep one employee in post so asking is always worth it.

 

I think the solicitor's attitude is less than reasonable, man management could be better, but basically the information is correct because what they are suggesting is that if you are not capable of doing your job and make errors such as the one complained about then you could lose your job. However I think you are a long way from that at present. In essence though if a hearing aid could solve the problem (as with spectacles) then the employee should wear them to sort the problem out. However if the NHS are not providing the correct type or types, then perhaps you should be asking the employer to assist in the cost of privately funded ones. You probably would need to first see where that lies with the NHS and then privately if the NHS can't assist and perhaps getting a quote would help.

 

When you "tried to challenge her" and she did not appreciate that, I think she probably was right because the employer can't make reasonable adjustments unless they know you have a problem AND you are asking for those adjustments. It is a two way thing and cooperation between the parties normally work far better than confrontation.

 

I fear that you are going off on the wrong foot and your job will be at risk if you confront her and go the grievance route in the first instance. It would be far better to acknowledge that you have a problem and ask for help so it doesn't happen again.

 

Why not write to say what you are going to do about it because you were really shocked that this incident happened and indeed you felt you over reacted in regard to the reasonable adjustments comment. However this is the action you intend to take NHS referral for hearing test, find out the range of the hearing problem, find out if the NHS can help, if they can't help and there is an alternative solution re private hearing aid, would the company consider buying or subsidizing some or all of the cost? In the mean time could any potential problem that may occur be explained to clients who have an issue with any unintended mistake and that you are working on it.

 

grievances and Et's should be avoided at all costs and only resorted to as a last resort. having been made aware of it future problems come in the category of 'known' problems especially if done in writing and failing to make reasonable adjustments that you suggest might then stand a chance in the ET, especially if further insult is made to your feelings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the information you have provided. My employer has been aware for the past 2 years that I am hard of hearing although there has never really been much of a problem as such before in this regard. The whole point about the reasonable adjustments is that she will not go down that route becuase it costs her money and also she is quite an arrogant woman who is used to imposing herself on employees. Therefore if she knew of my disability within the two years previously why did she not undertake to assist me by asking if I required any adjustments?? The only reason I challenged her is that I felt that I was been unfairly targeted for attempting to excercise my rights.

 

I would also mention that I am the person who is asked to answer the phone on every occasion this is the norm not the exception despite that fact that i work in the accounts department away from the main room where the secretaries are and my colleague who is much older than me does not have to answer the phone at all. I believe that this is pointless in me answering the phone every time as I feel that I am being targeted purely because I struggle with some peoples names. If I miss a phone call, I am asked by the boss why did you not answer the phone and quite frankly its becoming a joke.

 

In addition, I do not consider myself to be needing to wear hearing aids. I am only asking for reasonable steps to be taken to enable me to function more efficiently in my job.

 

So if I am dismissed for requesting reasonable adjustments under the DDA would that be unfair??

Edited by nutter192
adding new information

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it might be unfair, it also might be discriminatory and if you do put in a grievance and dismissal happens because you have made a grievance that might be victimisation. But you really need to read up on discrimination / what reasonable adjustments are and also how the employer can navigate around the law so to plug the gaps. But working under those conditions in a small office will be very stressful and you could well end up unwell because of it. Just be aware of the fight you are taking on because the employer will know how far she can go and has the power / resources / attitude.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am already becoming stressed over the general overbearing attitude of my boss so am quite willing to take this on. I will also have the support of two ex -employees who are willing to provide statements supporting what I am saying.

 

Should I therefore write to my employer stating that I would like to request reasonable adjustments to my working environment i.e. providing assistance other than hearing aids etc. I am aware of technology like amplifiers which can be attached to phones etc.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well if you are wanting to do this, perhaps you should start by asking for the adjustments to working practices that would support your disability and see what reaction that brings. Once you get that reaction you could then put in the grievance stating that there was an unreasonable reaction to that request and perhaps, according to what is done, suggest that you are being discriminated against. It does sound as if you are being directly discriminated against as you, as the only hard of hearing in the office, is expected to answer the telephones. Give them the rope to hang themselves by asking for more support in this task due to your hard of hearing problem, if they refuse or carry on as before state explicitly that you are being discriminated because of lack of help even after a specific complaint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What you should do is to submit a grievance as to the way that you felt you were treated, and add the suggestion about the reasonable adjustment(s) to the letter of grievance. No need to go too heavy handed and start quoting the DDA or EA to the employer at this stage - quoting law to a lawyer might (as stated by papasmurf) have some rather unpleasant effects. Write out a letter of grievance outlining the embarrassment and humiliation which you felt in having your hearing problem criticised in the office, and the fact that you felt the attitude of your manager to be less than sensitive, as it is known that you have a problem, and find it difficult enough to be answering a disproportionate number of phone calls without the added pressure of feeling that you are now under extra scrutiny and the threat of dismissal for what was an error caused by your disability.

 

Add that whilst you take on board the error over mishearing card details, you feel that the chance of this happening again would be minimised if the office were prepared to provide a device to assist you with hearing callers more clearly, and perhaps a slightly quieter working environment, as you value your position and would not wish to feel jeopardised by a situation that could be remedied.

 

By rights, this should have the effect of your manager being made to think a little of the possible consequences of her insensitive behaviour, and a workstation assessment over what could be done to accommodate your condition. The employer would have to provide adequate grounds as to why the adjustments were not possible, and cost indeed is one of the possible reasons why they might not feel able to do as you suggest. That being the case, you should have a knowledge of some suitable products and their cost in order to demonstrate how little this needs to be.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

DONATE HERE

 

If I have been helpful in any way - please feel free to click on the STAR to the left!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

excellent thanks very much will draft a letter tommorrow to hand in on friday and see what they say. should i include some literature about reasonable adjustments from the RNID to let them see the errors of their ways??

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

There you go - two ways of dealing with this - your choice!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

DONATE HERE

 

If I have been helpful in any way - please feel free to click on the STAR to the left!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In a battle of confrontation v conciliation between a lawyer and a non lawyer who do you think will win a direct onslaught? As Sidewinder says your choice, we can only say it as we see and read it, you live it (although most of us on here have lived it too).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Nutter 192. Sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are experiencing in the workplace. The comments made by the CAG members to date appear to be credible and will doubtless be of assistance. I act in a voluntary capacity routinely assisting disabled employees to enforce their rights in the workplace in respect of the Equality Act and formerly the DDA.

 

If I may please allow me to supplement the comments made by other doubtless learned members. Firstly, it appears that you made your employer aware of your physical impairment. It is, however, not the employee's duty to advise your employer that you are disabled - a point that is often misunderstood. It is for the employer to determine if it may be appropriate to make reasonable adjustments in order to ensure that you are not treated less favourably than other (non disabled) employees.

 

As opposed to cherry picking pro bono advice on the forum I would recommend that you contact a free and highly authoritative helpline at the EHRC (formerly the Disability Rights Commission) . Their contact # is on the EHRC website. Their employment specialists will give you expert guidance free of charge. Sadly, they will stop short of advising you. However, if you wish to post a draft letter/ grievance to send to your employer then I (and presumably other members) would be glad to review it. Do you even know what constitutes a grievance ; does your employer have a grievance procedure ? If not, go on to the ACAS website and they have an excellent section on grievances. ACAS also have a free helpline, but their knowledge of the Equality Act is patchy at best.

 

As for taking on a solicitor I would have no concerns whatsoever. Many solicitors and in particular those who are employers tend to have little, if any, appreciation of the rights of disabled members of staff. If your employer really intends to discriminate against you then sadly they probably will. But ultimately they may have to face the consequences. In employment tribunals an employer's failure to make reasonable adjustments rarely leads to significant compensatory awards, typically in the region of £3-4K, BUT if as appears to be the case you may be being subjected to direct disability discrimination then awards can be significantly higher. For example in a recent tribunal case I assisted a disabled friend and she was awarded £65K.

 

Although it is highly improbable does by any chance your employer have a Disability Discrimination/ Equality Procedure !?

Link to post
Share on other sites
My employer has been aware for the past 2 years that I am hard of hearing although there has never really been much of a problem as such before in this regard. The whole point about the reasonable adjustments is that she will not go down that route becuase it costs her money

 

How much will amendments to the telephone really cost? And will the NHS not pay for hearing aids? - a question not a statement

 

I would agree that just because someone is a solicitor it does not follow that they are knowledgeable in nor follow employment laws or indeed employment 'best practice'.

 

Many solicitors are 'small employers' who do not have specialist HR dept's. In addition (from memory) employment law was not a compulsory subject on the LLB, the LPC or in your training contract - thus some qualified solicitors can be surprisingly ignorant in this respect.

 

I think you have received some excellent advice above. Especially re contacting the ex DRC helpline.

 

My personal preference was always to try and resolve workplace disputes informally before writing letters BUT that is a personal view not a 'legal one' You are entitled to submit a grievance should you wish.

 

But I go back to my earlier point - the adjustments in your case would seem simple and cheap. You have worked there for 2 years so you must (at least to some extent) 'like' the job and they must (at least to some extent) 'like you.

 

Surely when one considers the relative ease that these adjustments can be made there will (hopefully) be no need to involve a tribunal.

 

Hope this is some help

 

Che

...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ET3 my employer does not have a grievance procedure or if so I have never recieved one ever. Nor do they have a equality procedure!! I also have no written contract or handbook so will look at ACAS for grievances. I note your point about the employer have to be the one to take action to ensure that I am less favourably treated and will keep this is mind.

 

Also any adjustments should be cheap, I did read somewhere that by definition of a reasonable adjustment the cost could be the hiring and training of a new employee to be justified as reasonable in terms of cost. Will try and get a draft grievance done today and post up for some kind people to give it a mauling:-)

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have been working in my current job for just over three years now and today I was approached by the boss of the business in my office and told that as I had mis-heard a client over the phone when taking a card payment in respect of their name and that 'I should get some hearing aids'.

 

I would like to point out first that I am hard of hearing in both ears although it is only really affecting me in loud environments or when it comes to pronounciation of names and accents etc.

 

I was quite shocked at this statement as she then proceeded to tell me that unless I got hearing aids that I could be dismissed!!!

 

I tried to challenge her by stating that employers are supposed to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities. She replied by saying that 'she does not appreciate that comment' and 'that they are only a small office'. It is a firm of 10 people and my boss is a solicitor which makes it incredible that she thinks that she can get away with it.

 

I was understandbly most distressed at the time as I am quite sensitive about my hearing and it has never been a major problem in any other employment because other people knew to make sure that I was facing them before talking so I could lip-read if necessary.

 

I would like further advice on how to draft a grievance against her and what grounds I can state. I believe that disability discrimination is one area and if she dismisses me is it automatically unfair dismissal?

 

Also, I would like advice on how to enforce her to undertake reasonable adjustments.

 

 

 

 

Sounds to me like Direct Discrimination in that she may have a case to ask you about your hearing problems in private, but given that you pointed out your difficulties and she retorted in the way she did sounds like Direct Discrimination.

 

In the first step submit a grievance to her superior to initiate the three step grievance procedure, if there no one more superior than her then seek advice from ACAS, do you have a home contents insurance policy with legal cover attached, I am currently fight a case with my insurer paying all the costs, check it out

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunatly there is noone senior to her. I am going to check the contents cover on my home insurance and email ACAS for advice. In addition, one of my former colleages now works for a solicitor who deals with employment law and they can offer me a fixed fee interview for £30.00 just to see where I stand. Hopefully get an appointment for tuesday and see what the best scenario is. Have to say excellent advice from everyone so far and thanks are in order will hopefully be able to update next Tuesday after meeting with the solicitor.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Right an update.

 

Have been to see the solicitor today and he advised me to raise a grievance asap. He also said that I should send a complainant questionnaire under the The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 s56(2)(a). I have filled the questionnaire out and am currently drafting out a grievance. I have completed the questionniare to send to the employer and will hand it to them tommorrow by hand as soon as I get in or do you think end of day???

 

Anyhow the solicitor says that if she screams at me get out when i hand it in that is automatically unfair dismissal and he says if it goes to a tribunal then costs award is in the region of 5k - 8k. Will post the grievance up asap.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok will do this tommorrow night. I have also done a grievance letter but I feel its a bit simple but there is a great deal of detail and information in teh questionnaire. Would be grateful if someone could just look it over for me.

 

 

 

Dear Sirs

I am writing to tell you that I wish to raise a grievance.

This action is being considered with regard to the following circumstances:

I feel that I have been subjected to unlawful direct disability discrimination and failure in your duty of care to provide reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. I have enclosed a questionnaire together with a guidance booklet for you to answer the questions that I have asked you.

I am entitled to a hearing to discuss this matter; also I am entitled, if I wish, to be accompanied by another work colleague.

Please reply within 14 days of the date of this letter.

Please also provide me with a copy of your grievance procedure.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Nutter192

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously I don't know what you've put in the questionnaire, and whether that alludes to the specifics of your grievance, but I'd be inclined to go into more detail in your grievance letter. State the specifics, why you feel you've been subjected to DDD and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

I wouldn't set out your entitlements, let them deal with that. They should write back telling you that they're convening a hearing and that you may be accompanied.

Edited by elpulpo
alludes not eludes
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok attepmt 2

Dear Sirs

 

I am writing to tell you that I wish to raise a grievance.

 

This action is being considered with regard to the following circumstances:

I feel that I have been subjected to unlawful direct disability discrimination and failure in your duty of care to provide reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 due to various incidents which have occured during my course of employment.

I have enclosed a questionnaire under section 56(2)(b) of the Disability Discrimination Act which provides details of the incidents that have occured and a guidance booklet which also provides advice for responding to the questions that have been asked.

 

Please reply within 14 days of the date of this letter.

 

Please also provide me with a copy of your grievance procedure.

 

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nutter192

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok attepmt 2

 

Dear Sirs

 

I am writing to tell you that I wish to raise a grievance in accordance with the ACAS code of practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures.

 

This action is being considered with regard to the following circumstances:

 

I feel that I have been subjected to unlawful direct disability discrimination and failure in your duty of care to provide reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 due to various incidents which have occured during my course of employment.

 

I have enclosed a questionnaire under section 56(2)(b) of the Disability Discrimination Act which provides details of the incidents that have occured and a guidance booklet which also provides advice for responding to the questions that have been asked.

 

Please reply within 14 days of the date of this letter.

7 days is plenty.

Please also provide me with a copy of your grievance procedure.

Don't ask for that, they might tailor it to suit their own ends. Act in accordance with ACAS CoPoD&GP

 

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nutter192

Sorry to scribble on it. Yes, I think that's fine, providing the questionnaire does set out comprehensively what has occured.

Look at it this way, if it was the other way round and they were accusing you of misconduct, you'd expect them to fully set out the accusation(s) before any disciplinary hearing, so it's only fair that you do the same.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for the amendments will print off tonight and send special delivery tommorrow. The sooner the better in my opinon.

 

also the questionnaire details exactly what has happened.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have enclosed a questionnaire under section 56(2)(b) of the Disability Discrimination Act which provides details of the incidents that have occured and a guidance booklet which also provides advice for responding to the questions that have been asked.

 

I am not sure if this matters or not but if the discrimination occured or continued after 1 October 2010, wouldn't the questionnaire be under s.138 of the Equality Act 2010 rather than the DDA ?

 

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/new-equality-act-guidance/taking-a-discrimination-case/

 

"You should only use the forms listed below if the possible unlawful conduct in question happened on or after 1 October 2010 or if it started before 1 October 2010 but continued on or after that date."

 

http://www.equalities.gov.uk/docs/NEW%20FORMS%20discrimination%20and%20other%20prohibited%20conduct%20JB.doc

Edited by jonnycooper
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was told to use this particular questionnaire by the solicitor so should be ok although I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

 

meanwhile all hatches secure and ready to submerge Captain Elpulpo lol.

If there are spelling mistakes on my posts, I blame the gremlins tapping my keys. :eek:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...