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shortwoman68

Dismissed due to lack of mobility and Health and Safety

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I have mobility problems which only really affects me when the weather starts to change. At this stage I need to use crutches and have access to a cab to take me to and from work paid for by DWP under the Access to Work Scheme. I have recently started a new job (only 3 weeks) within a physio therapy centre however they do not have any disabled access. When I was offered an interview I noticed that the building only had stairs and prior to being offered the role, I did comment that I had mobility problems and that the stairs would be a problem for me. After being offered the position, I spoke to my Team Manager during the first week and informed her of the my mobility problems. She asked whether I would be able to manage and I said that I would see how it works out. Unfortunately I was unable to attend work the second week due to the pain in my back and mobility problems plus my cabs had not been arranged for me to get to and from work.

 

The third week (21/12/15) I attended work and had a meeting with HR and my Line Manager. We discussed my mobility issues and they suggested that I was assessed by their in-house Occupational Therapist to see how they could assist me further, which I agreed to. On 22nd I was assessed by OT however unfortunately after examining me and getting me to undertake a few exercises eg. leg raises etc I was unable to walk and had to be assisted by the OT and his Manager into my usual cab. Due to this I have not been at work since. As the OT had to write a report, he said that it would be advisable for me not to go up and down the stairs often however at the moment I am working on reception and the offices and staff room are upstairs therefore it is unavoidable. He also suggested that I stand every half an hours to stretch my muscles. Although both myself and the company are aware that they need to make 'reasonable adjustments' there is not alot they can do.

 

I am really considering my options here as when I am at home, although my mobility is an issue, I can get around and sometime do not use my crutches. However my symptoms worsen when I return to work due to having to climb up and down the stairs. This is of great concern to me as it feels like 10 steps forward and 10 steps back.

 

Any suggestions, comments or advice would be welcome. I am due back in work tomorrow and do not know if I will be able to attend. :-(:help:

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They employed you knowing your situation, so they will have to honour their commitment making it work for both parties. It is not your responsibility and you should get advice from charities that deal with employment issues for those disabled.

 

Your commitment is to attend work when fit to do so and do what you can, with the conditions that are provided. Make them find solutions to enable you to fulfill the role you have been employed for.


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Hello

You say in your post that during your interview "I did comment that I had mobility problems and that the stairs would be a problem for me". My first thought is that perhaps you didn't relay the severity and extent of the problem clearly enough. Merely "commenting" on your mobility problem does not convey the true extent of the problem and, quite possibly as a result, the firm didn't appreciate how serious your mobility problem is. Did you not discuss what adjustments might be made before you started the job? If not, I have to ask, why not?

 

It seems that you have accepted a job that you knew you could not perform.

 

However, in the few weeks that you've been there, they do seem to have already made reasonable adjustments by (a) allowing you work in reception and (b) having you assessed by their OT to see what further help they might give you. I really don't see what else they can do to accommodate you. What would you like them to do ?

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Thanks for both of your responses.

 

Miss Hope, I informed both my Team and Line Manager that my previous job had a lift therefore I did not have to use the stairs and my mobility did not pose any issues even when I used crutches. My role involves reception work and also working on the phones upstairs. The reception downstairs is on a rota basis however as I have to answer the phones eg, book appointments with various physios and assessments as well as response to emails while upstairs, I have not been trained in the second part of my role. I accepted the role in the hope that the stairs would not be a major issue but as I very rarely used the stairs in my previous role which I was in for 4 and a half years I could not assess this. I really don't think there is much that can be done to accommodate me further but feel that I will end up spending more time out of work right now than in work.

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Hello shortwoman

 

So what would you like to happen with the job now ?

 

My concern is that if you are on trial period, they may not want you to stay on as it is clearly not working out.

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What would I like to happen...that is a very good question. It is something I really have to think about as I would rather be in a job than out of one. Yes I am on a trial period ...6 month probation... they have offered other areas however there are no vacancies in their other offices, which some have disabled access. I would like to keep on at the job even though the stairs will continue to be an issue but I know that there will come a point when I will have to leave so I am searching for another position right now.

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Maybe, just maybe, another position will become available at another office with disabled access as you say.

 

It sounds like you are doing all the right things in keeping your eyes out for something else.

 

I wish you all the luck.

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Has anybody actually had a look at making the building more accessible?

 

As a physio's its safe to say that more people would be benefit than just you, and in any case if they offer services to the public they should have looked at if it is possible by now and implemented if 'reasonable' to do so under the Equality Act and its predecessor.

 

Barrier removal should be the starting point. There are very few buildings which can't be made accessible and if they are a decent sized firm (multiple offices you said) they should have sorted this out long before now.

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Hi

 

One thing that stands out to me here is has your employer actually carried out a proper Risk Assessment.

 

i.e. if your condition is at its worst and there is a fire alarm/fire and you have to evacuate the building immediately


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Thank you for your comment Marmacc but unfortunately there are no options to make the building more accessible. There is no where that a lift could be added and I do not think that they are able to make alterations to the building as it is part of a structure for a large sports centre. In terms of risk assessments it would be very difficult for me to get down the stairs quickly in the event of an emergency when my condition is at its worse however when my condition is very bad, I am unable to attend work.

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Is there a reason why they couldn't install a stair lift?


RMW

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A good question about the stairlift accept the stairs are used by the company and a college so I do not know how that would work. Also I do not know if they would go for it. I will ask.

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It seems very odd that a physio therapy centre doesn't have disability access anyway ? Surely some of the people attending are going to have issues climbing stairs ?

 

Almost as bizarre as some of the Atos Assessment centres not having disability access when at least half of those being called in for assessment are going to have special requirements ?


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I once worked in a school where stair lifts had been installed for the use of only one pupil, on about 8 different staircases. It's entirely possible to have stair lifts that don't interfere with use by anyone else.


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CitizenB and reallymadwoman, I very much agree with you. I also thought it was strange that a physio therapy centre did not have disabled access and I did question why there was no lift access and was told that there was no-where to actually put a lift. I have been off now since 23rd December because of my back but am searching for other roles and in the meantime I am hoping I can return to work next week.

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CitizenB and reallymadwoman, I very much agree with you. I also thought it was strange that a physio therapy centre did not have disabled access and I did question why there was no lift access and was told that there was no-where to actually put a lift. I have been off now since 23rd December because of my back but am searching for other roles and in the meantime I am hoping I can return to work next week.

 

There would be a way around this, if they had the will to resolve it. Has anyone ever looked at the building plans, to see whether a new disabled entrance can be created and what the costs of this would be ? If they can find a solution, it would benefit many people, so could be justified.


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This is absurd! A good opportunity will come to you as good things happen to good people!

 

I wish you all the best :)

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Thank you. I have seen my GP who has looked at recommendations from the OT when I was assessed to see if there is anything further that can be done.

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I have just been let go from work due to disability, health and safety and the company being unable to make enough reasonable adjustments.

 

I have a condition called Atypical Sciatica which affects my mobility when the temperature drops or whilst experiencing alot of stress. I became employed in a role where the working environment did not have any lifts only stairs (a physio therapy centre). I explained during the interview that I had mobility problems which I experience especially when the temperature jobs and this makes it difficult for me to climb up and down stairs. I was also concerned that the building was at the bottom of a hill. At the time I started my mobility was fine. The first week was fine however my mobility deteriorated before the second week and I was unable to attend work the second week. The third week was the week before Christmas where they suggested having an OH assessment to determine how they help me. On 22nd December, I had the assessment however by the time it was over I was unable to walk and had to be helped down the stairs by the OH assessor and his manager into a waiting cab. I was off sick from work from 23rd December and only returned to work on 18th December.

 

Whilst on sick leave I received an email from HR asking whether she could look at the assessment report in order to come up with a plan of action of how they could assist me which I agreed to.

 

On return to work, I continued with my reception duties (my role was to be on reception and undertake administration work upstairs. The staff room and kitchen are also upstairs). I was fine in this role however it was cold which affected my legs and I had to have a fleece over my legs which did not help. On this day, it was decided that there would be their first ever fire drill and I was asked whether I would be able to undertake fire marshal duties on ground floor and check all the physio therapy rooms and the toilets to ensure that everyone was out. I informed them when I am well, this is not a problem however it will take time on crutches. During the drill my colleagues checked the rooms and I was wheeled out on a wheelchair.

 

Before I finished work I was called into a meeting with HR, my Line Manager and a Senior Manager. They went through the recommedations and said that there were limitation they could do by way of 'reasonable adjustments' as the assessment recommended that I stay on one floor. The only suggestion they came up with was part-time hours of 4 hours a day and remaining on reception as I could not complete the other half of my role whilst I was on crutches. However they discounted this suggestion when they realised that I could not perform fire marshall duties as I was unable to move quick enough whilst on crutches. Therefore they terminated my employment.

 

Whilst I acknowledge that I was aware of the set up of the office I thought I would give it a chance. Nevertheless I am disappointed that I have lost my job.

 

As I am still on crutches, I would like to know whether I should apply for ESA or Job Seekers? I have not been unemployed for over 5 years!!:-(:-(:-(

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This is very sad - especially if you are going to be faced with similar issues in other employment! I am sure others will be able to offer more constructive advice for you.


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If you were to apply for ESA (And I would also investigate PLP regardless) I would make sure you read up on the descriptors and keep a diary on how your condition impacts on your daily living. This is useful evidence and can also help you get across on the forest of forms the necessary information to improve your chances of an accurate assessment.

 

Understand also that you must be able to achieve the descriptors, In good time, Repetitively and without pain.

 

http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/ has a whole lot of resources you can explore


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You can apply for ESA or JSA. With JSA, you may need to explain that you were let go due to your disability; but can work. They may write to your employer to ask for more information.

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