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Wife's having problems at work.


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Julie who's my wife works for our local education authority as a Midday Meals Supervisor, working a couple of hours a day. At my insistance she joined UNISON, but they haven't been very useful so far. The school caters for children with physical, mental and learning difficulties. As such her duties include serving meals, feeding the children, clearing away and also changing their nappies.

 

Julie is a Type 1 diabetic. She also only has one hand. Her left hand is severely reduced, with no finger and only a small palm. The school was made aware of both of these conditions when she was interviewed for the role.

 

Although we try to keep her appointments with her diabetic professor during school holidays, on occasion she's had to take time off of work for them. We have to travel to London for these appointments, so it's impossible to arrange them for before or after work.

 

On Monday 8th June, Julie had problems with her diabetes. Her blood sugar levels shot up to dangerous levels and I had to take her to hospital for treatment. This resulted in her having to take three days off that week. I informed the office at her work that she wouldn't be in. When she returned her line manager did her return to work. She told Julie that her workmates had been complaining about her, and that without naming names they'd said that they had been carrying Julie. They said she wasn't working as fast as they were. That she wasn't changing as many children. That she was taking too long washing up in nursery, and that she had taken too much time off sick. Shortly after starting work at the school this line manager heard Julie comment to a colleague that another member of staff avoided changing a certain child, as he was quite hard to do. The line manager told Julie off, saying that she wasn't being a team player. This seems like double standards to me.

 

In September 2014 Julie broke the bones in her left foot, this resulted in her being signed off work for several weeks. Although she tried to resume on several occasions when individual sick note expired, she was sent home by the line manager as unfit to work and told to get another doctors appointment. Julie asked her line manager if it would be possible for her to be put on light duties, perhaps she could sit in the "sluice" and change the children's nappies. The line manager refused this request. At no time during her period signed off was she contacted by anyone from work to enquire about her wellbeing or to try and facilitate her return to work. When Julie finally returned to work after this episode the line manager complained that she had been seen out food shopping and picking our children up from school. She also said that it had been noted that she'd posted pictures of two family days out in London. I should point out that these trips occurred over the half-term holiday, that her sick note had expired, and Julie resumed work the following Monday.

 

Since Julie started work at the school nothing has been put in place to make her job more accessible for her, nor has anyone asked her how her role could be made easier. She is expected to carry plates by hand, a situation that results in her having to use her nose to open security doors. When drying up or changing children these tasks take longer because of her disability. I should mention that the complaint about Julie not changing as many children does have some foundation. It is due to Julie being assigned to another department for the previous six and a half weeks. She went there at the personal request of the line manager because one of her colleagues didn't like working there. Since then the colleague has been receiving regular overtime in the department she claimed to dislike so much

 

Julie has been signed off work since the meeting with work related stress. She now feels unable to continue working at the job she loves as she doesn't know which of her workmates has essentially "stabbed her in the back". She was never bought up to consider herself disabled, as she's always been able to find a way around her condition. Even if it does take her slightly longer to do things. This incident has left her feeling worthless and miserable. She frequently breaks down in tears . I hope someone can offer us some advice.

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Sounds like your wife should be having some work assessment by occupational health, as to whether her employers are being fair on her, in regard to what work she can do and in regard to her condition e.g sickness time off.

 

Think your wife needs to speak to her line manager about the situation and not being happy about the way she is being treated. That she is happy for the local education authority to arrange for an occupational health advisor to assess the situation and to recommend what they think is required to carry out the role she is employed for.

 

I think that is the only way forward for the school and your wife. Remember that it is difficult for the school as well as they probably don't know how to deal with the situation.

We could do with some help from you.

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Sounds like your wife should be having some work assessment by occupational health, as to whether her employers are being fair on her, in regard to what work she can do and in regard to her condition e.g sickness time off.

 

Think your wife needs to speak to her line manager about the situation and not being happy about the way she is being treated. That she is happy for the local education authority to arrange for an occupational health advisor to assess the situation and to recommend what they think is required to carry out the role she is employed for.

 

I think that is the only way forward for the school and your wife. Remember that it is difficult for the school as well as they probably don't know how to deal with the situation.

 

Thanks for the reply. Julie tried to refer herself to occupational health, alas it has to come from her line manager.

 

Julie's capable of doing almost any task that a person with two hands can. (She's a better juggler than me). It just takes her a little longer to do because she can't grip with her left hand.

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Suggest that she puts in a written request for an occupational health assessment. This should go to her line manager and the HR people responsible. The reason for the request is the feedback given by her line manager and that she believes she is performing as well as her disability allows, but if an assessment can help to assist with adjustments to improve performance, then it would be beneficial.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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