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Discrimination or not discrimination


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My employer is in the engineering sector and I recently had occasion to request new prescription safety eyewear. I asked the H&S rep if I could have either tinted lenses or transitions because we often work outside and the sunlight reflects off everything around us and can be quite dazzling. This is a safety factor and is why the company provides free of charge tinted safety specs to those with normal vision.

 

The H&S rep asked the budget keeper who responded with “the climate here doesn’t justify that kind of expense”. It’s an extra £150...

 

So... I made a point of mentioning to the H&S rep that it appears I’m being treated differently due to my defective vision and I’m not sure the spirit of the Equality Act is being entered into.

 

Fast forward a week and I’m hearing that the budget keeper is likely to provide me with a cheap set of tinted over glasses to wear over the top of my safety specs... much like the goggle things school kids wear in science.

 

My question is would that be considered a reasonable adjustment or should I push for a tint built into my prescription? I feel that by being made to wear two sets of specs I’m being treated differently and discriminated against because everyone else only needs to wear one pair of glasses, either tinted or clear.

 

I’m looking for objective comments on the reasonableness front.

 

Thanks in advance!

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they are paying for the PPE needed to do the job.There is nothing else for them to consider with regard to discrimination. You could ask them to pay what they are willing to fork out towards the snazzier pair you prefer. the same would apply with safety boots, if they use a particuar supplier and you dont like the look of their stock then you can claim discrimination.

 

If for example you were size 9 and the supplier only sold size 11's then you would have a case to ask for steel toecapped trainers from elsewhere and they bear the cost but in your case the eyewear they offer to provide does the job. Now if you refuse to accept the offered glasses you had better have a better reason for saying no becuse refusing to use safety kit or clothing is a sackable offence.

 

Chose your battles wisely.

Edited by honeybee13
Paras
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they are paying for the PPE needed to do the job.There is nothing else for them to consider with regard to discrimination. You could ask them to pay what they are willing to fork out towards the snazzier pair you prefer. the same would apply with safety boots, if they use a particuar supplier and you dont like the look of their stock then you can claim discrimination.

 

If for example you were size 9 and the supplier only sold size 11's then you would have a case to ask for steel toecapped trainers from elsewhere and they bear the cost but in your case the eyewear they offer to provide does the job. Now if you refuse to accept the offered glasses you had better have a better reason for saying no becuse refusing to use safety kit or clothing is a sackable offence.

 

Chose your battles wisely.

 

I understand your comments EB. I’m not going to refuse the proffered PPE. I’m simply asking the question about reasonableness in respect of shades. If the employer provides them to other workers then surely he is obliged to offer them to me...

 

Im not even sure there will be a battle....

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I doubt the Equality Act and its 'reasonable adjustments' requirement will help you here unless your sight is seriously impaired. You'd be better, as has been suggested, in focusing on the H&S PPE rules. Under the Equality Act needing to wear glasses to correct defects in vision is not a disability unless you are "...certified as blind, severely sight impaired, sight impaired or partially sighted by a consultant ophthalmologist". If that's you then the Equality Act would be relevant. But otherwise the Act does not apply.

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you had the answer, they cant justify the expense.

No discrimination

needing saftey glasses is not a discrimination matter, it is covered by a different piece of legislation. If they denied you the right to wear glasses at work and your work suffered as a consequence then that would be discrimination apart form in the armed forces or police.

I used to have 4 different pairs of specs for work and my employer would only pay for one under DSE regs.

 

as said, ask if they will pay the bulk of the money towards the ones of your choosing and you pick up the tab for the extras.

I understand your comments EB. I’m not going to refuse the proffered PPE. I’m simply asking the question about reasonableness in respect of shades. If the employer provides them to other workers then surely he is obliged to offer them to me...

 

Im not even sure there will be a battle....

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Hi

 

Could you just clarify for me this part of your post#3

 

If the employer provides them to other workers then surely he is obliged to offer them to me...

 

Are you saying the Employer provides that specific eye wear specification you are requesting through PPE to other Employees before you placed your request?

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Hi

 

Could you just clarify for me this part of your post#3

 

 

 

Are you saying the Employer provides that specific eye wear specification you are requesting through PPE to other Employees before you placed your request?

 

Yup. They provide tinted non-prescription eye wear for outside use.

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Hi

Are you saying the Employer provides that specific eye wear specification you are requesting through PPE to other Employees before you placed your request?

 

 

Yup. They provide tinted non-prescription eye wear for outside use.

 

Well “tinted, non-prescription” isn’t the same specification as “tinted, prescription”!

 

You already have “prescription, safety” specification. I don’t think the employer is either

a) being unreasonable, or

b) breaching legislation / guidance / their duty of care by finding a different solution to the glare issue than supplying you with the “tinted, prescription, safety” glasses you are hoping for.

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The offer of tinted non-prescription goggles which you can place over your prescription frames is a reasonable compromise by the employer. The only way you could take the matter further is if you know of someone else who has been given a pair of tinted prescription spectacles or goggles by the employer.

 

Sorry about that.

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The offer of tinted non-prescription goggles which you can place over your prescription frames is a reasonable compromise by the employer. The only way you could take the matter further is if you know of someone else who has been given a pair of tinted prescription spectacles or goggles by the employer.

 

Sorry about that.

 

Don’t be sorry. I asked for objective opinions and that’s what I’m getting. It’s all good!

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Unfortunately, poor eyesight is not enough to constitute a 'disability' within the meaning of the Equality Act. The statutory definition of disability is very strict, it would need to be something seriously impacting on basic day-to-day activities, poor eyesight would not be serious enough to qualify unless you were getting to close to being registered blind. So there is no Equality Act issue in this situation.

 

There is could be a H+S issue though.

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