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I would deeply appreciate some advice/suggestions on what to do regarding a very upsetting incident between myself and a fellow employee about disabled parking.

 

Background info

The building I work in is undergoing significant refurbishment and because of this approximately a third of the car park has been sectioned off causing a significant reduction in parking spaces so block parking is now the norm. There is only 3 disabled parking spaces, one single and two which are subject to block parking. The car park is available for staff and visitors/general public to use.

 

I work part time for my local authority and I suffer from multiple chronic medical conditions that impact significantly upon my daily life and abilities. I am in receipt of DLA and have a blue badge and I have mobility issues. This week has been very difficult as one of my medical conditions is flaring due to an infection. My bladder has stopped working so I had to be admitted to hospital on Tuesday for emergency treatment and to have an indwelling urethral catheter inserted. On the plus side Tuesday was my day off so I didn't miss any work!

 

Incident

I arrived at work on Friday afternoon to find there was only one parking space available which was a disabled parking space which was part of the block parking. The car in the disabled bay in front of me had parked away from the wall in front which meant I had to park extremely close to the car in front to prevent blocking the entrance to the carpark. I displayed my blue badges and also my office direct dial number and mobile phone number so I could be contacted if the car i was blocking needed to move before I did.

 

I noted that the other cars parked in disabed bays were displaying blue badges.

 

Later in the afternoon I received a call on my mobile but as I was on a call on the office phone I couldn't answer my mobile so the caller left a message. As soon as the call I was dealing with finished I checked my mobile message to find it was a message from the person whose car was parked in front of mine. The message stated "You're right up my f***ing a*se can you move your car please" the caller used a very aggressive tone.

 

I immediately went to move my car. The woman was extremely unfriendly and was very annoyed with me for keeping her waiting. I explained that I had gotten there as quickly as I could but I was unwell and my mobility wasn't good. I asked her why she was being so aggressive and that her message was very rude and there has been no need for swearing or such an aggressive tone. She denied both accusations so I played her the message back and she said you weren't supposed to hear that - she offered no apology.

 

I asked her why her blue badges were not displayed as she was parked in the disabled bay. The woman replied that she wasn't disabled. I explained that parking is very limited at present and to take a disabled parking space when she wasn't disabled was unfair and disrespectful to those with disabilities. The woman said that there was no other parking spaces available so why shouldn't she park there. I repeated my point but the woman said that she didn't care and that she needed a place to park and the space was free so she felt entitled to use it. She said she had put her number on the dashboard of the car and if somebody needed the space they should have called her.

 

i explained that visitors to the building wouldn't know about this and that it is very emabarrassing to ask people to move their cars when they are parked in disabled bays when they are not entitled to. She then questioned whether I was genuinely disabled as I didn't look it and said she didn't know what my problem was and why I was making such a huge fuss over nothing.

 

it was at this point I realised that anything I said to this woman wasn't going to make any impact so I told her I was very upset by her behaviour and her questioning my disability and wanted to know who her line manager was. She then replied that she was a service manager so if I wanted to complain she was the person I complain to so tough! I stated that everybody has a manager above them and asked again for her line manager's name. This time she gave me a name and said she wasn't bothered if I complained or not.

 

I gave up trying to have a reasonable conversation with the woman so moved my car. I slowly went round the car park to give her opportunity to move her car so I could park my car back in the disabled bay. As I re entered the carpark the woman was still parked in the disabled space, smoking a cigarette and appeared to be talking on the phone. She made me wait 5 minutes before she moved her car. I had no option but to wait for her to vacate the parking space as the only other disabled bay was occupied and there was no other parking spaces near the entrance of the building.

 

When I returned to my desk my colleagues asked if I was ok and I ashamedly burst into tears, I think it was more out of shock than distress. They listened to the phone message the woman had left for me and was horrified by my account of the incident. They are encouraging me to raise a grievance against this woman. My line manager explained that if she is a service manager then she is responsible for training and oversee staff and also deals with very vulnerable people and if her reaction to me me is typical of her behaviour and attitude towards those with disabilities then it's important that this is dealt with.

 

Reason for posting

Am I over reacting to this?

Is raising a grievance the right thing to do?

I am very scared about raising a grievance against this woman. She was extremely unplesant and confrontational and I felt hulmimated and belittled by her and the prospect of going through round 2 with her doesn't fill me with joy to say the least!

 

If I raise a grienece what good would it actual do?

What would happen and what would the consequences be if my grievance was upheld against her?

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Sorry the 5th paragraph down line stating "I noted that the other cars parked in disabled bays should state were NOT displaying blue badges

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Sorry to hear what you had to go through. To answer your questions you are not over reacting to this. You should raise a grievance however you need to mention in grievance that being your line manager she had threatened to cause hindrance in grievance proceedings and therefore you don't believe grievance may be able to get the desired results and therefore would want this matter to be investigated by someone independent of your area of work if that is a possibility in your area of work. For example someone working in a store requests someone from head office to investigate grievance against line manager.

Most importantly that is a breach of parking regulations so this be reported to parking enforcements and there is definitely a big element of bullying and harassment and even some discrimination against your disability so if you are part of union please raise this with them and they should give you some sort of advice and legal representation.

Hope this helps

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Thank you for your reply and advice, it is extremely appreciated and is very helpful - thank you..

 

The woman involved in the incident is not my line manager and I do not work in the same directorate as her. I'd never seen her before that day. My line manager is very supportive and helpful.

 

The woman stated she is a service manage, which is a very high up position so I'm very nervous about taking on somebody with this amount of power or be the subject of gossip and judgement in our building.

 

Sadly there is no parking enforcement within the building. The receptionist do what they can but they are very busy and can not leave reception if only one is on duty so can't really actively deal with parking related issues and have hardly any power anyhow.

 

I am in a union, I hadn't thought of access their support. Only slight issue is the union rep in our building works in the same directorate as the woman but I'm not sure if they are in the same team.

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Every union has a local on site rep like you mentioned and regional office where you can call and ask for a rep from another area independent of your company and your management and I would highly recommend request a rep who is independent of your work place. Regardless how high up she may be in management but grievance are always investigated by person higher than accused so in this would be her line manager at the least. Again it's highly recommended like previously you mention that she had threatened you nothing would be done against her therefore you need someone independent from her area of work to investigate this grievance and take unions advice on writing grievance

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You can ask for a union rep from another work area, or the full time officials - it doesn't have to be the closest one. And if the car park is part of the council building, then parking enforcement won't normally operate - it is a private car park and they would have to have their own enforcement rules and company. Few Councils do that because of the cost - many don't have enough parking to justify it.

 

But yes, I agree that you should raise a grievance. This person is in a position of influence, and is responsible for promoting the council's values, which must include equal opportunities and respect for diversity. If this is any indication of her conduct, then think about the staff and client she is responsible for - what are disabled people being treated like, and what kind of example does this set to managers below her?

 

I don't think you are over-reacting at all. Some people are unbelievably rude and bad mannered to people with disabilities, and treat us like second class citizens who are somehow deficient. I am often astonished how inconsiderate they are, and how offensive they are when it is pointed out. Complain. Your employer has a public sector equality duty in law - if this is how even one senior manager is acting, then they are letting their citizens down.

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Thank you both for your wonderful advice and also supportive words. I was worried that I was being over emotional and making more of the situation than it was. Sometimes it's best to stand back and ask another person to look at the situation objectively.

 

You are completely right (naturally!!😆) and after reading your posts I realise that I have to lodge a grievance to ensure that her behaviour is looked at. I'm usually quite a strong person (weirdly enough my health issues/disabilities have forced me to be!) so I need to pull my big girl panties up and get on with it and ensure this woman doesn't do this to anybody else. Somebody else may not have the support and strength that I have been blessed to have.

 

Thank you so much for the reassurance, I will let you know how it goes as I'm just about to go into work now.

 

Once again thank you for your support, advice and kindness.

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I know what you mean about disability making you tougher. I thought I was tough until I found my mobility going and realised just how selfish people are. Where I live there are three people in the village have mobility scooters, and up at the top of the main crossing there is a place that does wedding receptions. It's really popular. Every time there was a reception the ENTIRE of the pavement was parked up forcing us into the middle of the road. Now I should point out that there is shed loads of free parking on the road, but using that would entail them having to walk.

 

One day I decided that I had had enough, and politely[/u asked a young gentleman to ask if the people who were parked right across the pavement would move their cars so that people with disabilities could get past. Well, after waiting [u]politely for five minutes whilst nobody bothered to move their car, I got out my crutches and went in and politely asked again. At which point the bride and groom at the door said "But it's our wedding" in this totally disparaging tone like I had come in on the bottom of someone's shoe - as though this, presumably, suspended the traffic regulations. I admit, I am usually pretty cool, but I totally lost it! I told them "You presumably appear to have been able to walk down the aisle at your wedding, and in case it isn't f****g obvious, I can't walk anywhere. So tell everyone to get their f****g cars off the f****g pavement or I will be dialling the police in two minutes".

 

I have never, in my life, had to resist the temptation to key half a dozen cars as much as I did that day. But the cars were moved, and after that the owner of the place (who doesn't live locally) made sure that nobody parked there again. But he could have done that any time before when he'd been asked. It took someone losing their temper and threatening the police at a wedding to get just a little bit of courtesy. It shouldn't need to be like that. It's just common sense and courtesy - cars park of roads and people walk on pavements.

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I admire your courage Sangie and I totally understand your frustration. It wasn't until I became so ill I started to realise how selfish and ignorant some people can be. I find challenging strangers far easier, perhaps because I probably won't see them again! My biggest annoyance is when people park in disabled bays in supermarkets etc, especially when there is only a couple of spaces allocated for disabled parking . I have been known to wait for the person to come out and explain my point of view in a very clear way and usually quite loudly so others know what's going on! The usual excuse/explanation I get is I was only popping in for a minute and behave as if that is a reasonable excuse - I'm very quick to point out that they are lucky enough to pop in and be quick and I wish I had that luxury and their selfishness/lack of consideration makes a disabled person's life even more challenging and often painful.

 

Weirdest response I ever had was - it's ok as my mum's disabled and needed something from the shop so I'm entitled to park here! They didn't have their mother with them but said that as she was disabled they could use the disabled bay because they were related to somebody who was disabled - that one left me speechless!

 

Anyhow back to my original reason for posting...

 

I have lodged a formal grievance against the woman, who is indeed a service manager. I have spoken with the area district manager and played her the message left on my phone. My grievance has been accepted I was asked what I wanted from the grievance. I have asked for a mediation session with the woman - I want the chance to explain to her how upsetting her behaviour was and why did she behave in that manner. I also want an apology.

 

I have been assured that the matter will be investigated fully but I will not be told what/if any disciplinary action is taken against the woman as this is confidential. The area district manager is going to raise the misuse of disabled parking with other senior managers and an email is going to be sent to all building users to remind them that disabled bays must only be used by those with blue badges or have authorisation from occupational health via a senior manager. It will be made clear that those who continue to misuse the disabled parking could face further action.

 

.

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