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Access to Work Employer Responsibilities

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AWD2020
AWD2020 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
edited March 2023 in Work and employment
Hi 
Can I please ask if an employer is obligated to carry out the recommendations within an Access to Work assessment? Is it their choice or do they have to comply? 
Many thanks 

Comments

  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Hello. I was really interested to see this question as I'm in the position currently where work are refusing to agree to Access to Work support offered to me. Access to Work have told me I cannot have the support without my employers consent. This seems really wrong to me especially as the support offered for me is of no cost to them. I hope you get the support you deserve.
  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,741 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @AWD2020 and @KRS17

    Unfortunately, Access to Work can only recommend measures that would help a disabled employee but not enforce them. I appreciate how frustrating that is. 

    @KRS17 Have reasonable adjustments been discussed with your employer? And were these also declined if so?
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  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thank you for your response. They won't do all of the reasonable adjustments recommended by OH. I have submitted a grievance but they have said they won't consider all of it so won't be impartial. They've just said I'm using my PTSD as an threat to get what I want so not taking it seriously.
  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,741 Disability Gamechanger
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    @KRS17 Ah that's shocking. I'm sorry you're coming up against this resistance and disbelief. It must be a tough time for you to negotiate. Scope have an advice section on what to do if employers reject adjustments that might help going forwards.

    Please do keep us posted and lean on us if you need any support at all. 
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  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thank you. Appreciate the support. It's been unbearable. I'm following Acas proceedures but have felt completely alone. Everywhere I try and get advice just signpost me somewhere else. I don't want to post my employer on here but it's a national organisation you'd really expect better from in this situation which makes it harder as I thought it was somewhere I'd be safe. If I'm unhappy about something they blame my PTSD and take no responsibility themselves for their treatment of me which has just been cruel. I'll look at the advice. Thanks.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
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    I can hear alone this has made you feel @KRS17, especially as you thought it was somewhere you'd be safe. Often, this makes us overgeneralise to "this must just be how it is".

    I can promise that some organisations are more supportive and proactive in identifying and following identified reasonable adjustments. 

    It is cruel that they blame it all on you, indeed. Taking responsibility for their actions is important too, especially as this has been identified by other professionals  :(

    Please don't hesitate to let us know if you want to talk through this advice or anything else. We are all here to support you and listen to you  <3
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thank you. I appreciate it. I just feel really alone and that I just have to take this treatment at work. They can do what they want and there's nothing I can do about it. I really love my job but feel like I'm being forced out by people who don't understand or care about mental health.
  • katwater51
    katwater51 Scope Member Posts: 41 Connected
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    Hi @KRS17 I’m in a similar situation. As part of my phased return my employer refused to make some adjustments, then is blaming me for mot being able to manage my full contracted hours. The progress has been slow but there is no way of knowing if that’s because I don’t have the right postural equipment 🤷‍♀️
    So it’s catch-22 for me. 
    My employer cited “uncertainty.” . Which is a recognised legal reason for not providing adjustments.
    But, before I went off sick, I was a high performing member of staff. I was even a mentor to people who were training in my role. At one time I was a mentor work to a team of six trainees. So that reduced the uncertainty as far as I’m concerned because I have a proven track record of being driven and good at this job. 
    I mention this, because I’ve been told by someone who works in a field adjacent to HR, that HR often view poor performance before going on sick leave as a reason for citing uncertainty when you come back. 
    You mentioned you’re shocked that it’s a national organisation. I was shocked too by my organisations discrimination in their practices, and Im still pretty appalled. But no longer shocked.
    I even had my manager - who told me that he worked previously in a disability related charity – say to me: “well, it’s not like you’ve got cancer or something.”
    My employer is also a big, national body. 
    I just want to let you know that you’re not alone.
  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thanks I really appreciate your reply. I guess I'm starting to feel less shocked now but more frightened as if organisations who you should be able to trust act like that then where can you be safe. I feel the same in that before I felt forced to go off sick I was doing more than my peers and job description and was told I was performing well. It's really disheartening as however hard I try in a job it doesn't matter. People can treat you how they want, use your disability against you and it doesn't matter. They can do this with no consequence. I've been round in circles being signposted to different places being told they will help but there's always a reason they can't so I'm still completely alone now going through a really stressful grievance process with no support.
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm really sorry to read how stressful things are for you at the moment @KRS17, can I ask if you have a good support network at home, and someone you trust to talk to? 

    Fighting discrimination does matter and it should not be tolerated. I'd encourage you to contact ACAS if you haven't already, they help with individual disputes and offer mediation services, information and support. Call the helpline on 0300 123 1100. 

    If you feel you're having a difficult time with your own wellbeing, it might be worth chatting to your GP about extra support for your mental health. You can also self refer if you'd like. 

    Let us know if we can support you with anything else, and I hope you can find the support you need.
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  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thanks for your reply. No I don't really have any support at all. I've spoken to ACAS and will contact them again when I get the outcome of the grievance if I'm not happy. I feel a bit let down by the GP. I was given an urgent referral to CMHT but they were useless. Not their fault really, just understaffed. I literally don't know what I'll do if the grievance isn't upheld as I gave so much evidence to back up what I've said but I think it'll all just be covered up, they'll find an excuse and there's nothing I can do. It's really overwhelming and I'm terrified.
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    It's a real shame to hear about your referral to CMHT, there's not a lot any of us can do when such a vital system is so understaffed. I'd definitely encourage you to get back in touch with ACAS if you're not happy afterwards. 

    Do you have a rough idea of when you'll hear the outcome? 

    Until then, is there anything you can do to try and de stress, or manage any anxiety you might be feeling? Mind has some good advice on self-care, if it's helpful :) 
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  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thanks I really appreciate your support. The person investigating said he'd have spoken to everyone he needs to by this Monday then will do his report and recommendations, I just don't know how long that'll take. I just worry as they won't want to admit they're in the wrong and so I'll have to keep battling alone if I want any justice which is really hard. The investigator also said he'd contact me nearly 2 weeks ago about how I could return to work but didn't. I'm not allowed to contact him and not allowed to talk to anyone else at work. No one at work is looking after my wellbeing through this. I just feel through this whole thing I've been treated with contempt, like I'm part of a disciplinary. I keep trying to read information to see objectively how my experience would be viewed and everything I read points to the fact how I've been treated is very wrong but I feel the organisation has enough power to find a way out.
  • katwater51
    katwater51 Scope Member Posts: 41 Connected
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    Hey @KRS17 I’ve noticed you’ve talked about being left out of the loop in terms of progress, dates etc. Just wanted to let you know, I’ve had this experience too. I think it’s hard because for us this is stuff that seriously impacts our whole life - but from the perspective of other people eg HR and managers, your case is just a tiny part of their day job and they have other stuff to get on with. So they don’t understand that for us, not hearing anything for a week can feel like years. It’s another cause of all the stress. 

    I know it sounds trite, but try if you can not to let your brain run over and over these thoughts. It’ll wear you out and you need to save your mental energy. 

    And I’m so sorry to hear about the lack of support you have. Trying to manage this situation must be so much harder when you’re in it all alone. 

    Sorry if I’m stating the obvious to you - but do you have any health insurance policy through your employer? You mentioned it’s a fairly large body. Sometimes health insurance is a benefit in these places. If so you can access highly qualified psychology support through them. 

    There is also EAP - your employer will have this probably signposted somewhere. It’s “employee assistance programme.” This will be phone line and you’ll get a person who knows a little bit about stress management. They may have relatively small psychological expertise, but at least they’ll listen and help you through. 

    Finally there are some useful documents and videos on the following site:
    https://www.toynbeehall.org.uk/know-your-rights/?_resource_category=employment

    I hope some of this is helpful. 

    Also I just want you to know, sometimes I’ve felt like I must be doing something wrong because for HR and my manager nothing I do at work seems to be enough. And nothing I say seems to get through to them. It’s not us. It’s them. If it seems like they’re not listening, it’s not you. They just don’t want to know. All you can do is stay the course as best you can, for as long as it feels doable. And if you’re managing to do that, it’s a pretty superhuman feat. 
  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thank you for your message. I really appreciate your support. It's exactly that. Nothing to them but has affected me constantly for 5 months now. I'll have a look at everything you suggested.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
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    How you feel deserves to be validated @KRS17. Please feel free to let us know how things go and if there's anything else we can do to support you  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • KRS17
    KRS17 Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    Thank you. I'm still waiting on the outcome of my grievance and I found out on Friday that because my employer hasn't approved the access to work support they've closed my case and I'd have to reapply again to get the support. I'd waited 5 months for an assessment and it's been over 10 weeks now since the support was offered so I feel really upset and let down.
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm so sorry to hear that @KRS17 Have you spoken to someone in HR about why it wasn't approved and the case closed? 
    Hannah - She / Her

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  • Wibbles
    Wibbles Community member Posts: 1,689 Pioneering
    edited April 2023
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    KRS17 said:
    Hello. I was really interested to see this question as I'm in the position currently where work are refusing to agree to Access to Work support offered to me. Access to Work have told me I cannot have the support without my employers consent. This seems really wrong to me especially as the support offered for me is of no cost to them. I hope you get the support you deserve.

    AWD2020 said:
    Hi 
    Can I please ask if an employer is obligated to carry out the recommendations within an Access to Work assessment? Is it their choice or do they have to comply? 
    Many thanks 

    I asked my employer for ATW to come and assess me at my workplace - 2 years ago and was refused - this meant that I had no option other than resign - and eventually, a year later, I applied for (and won) Medical Retirement !
    This was a school that I had been working at for 10 years..
    I believe the reason was that it would have cost my employer way too much to keep me on - and would have disrupted the school too much.
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