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Work Place Discrimination / Internship

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CC59He
CC59He Scope Member Posts: 11 Listener
edited May 2023 in Work and employment
I started this internship two weeks ago, and I thought it was great at first. Then it got worst, with being told by another member of staff that my boss did not like women and has a volatile temper. She said he even went right up to her face and started swearing, I was told he did this to all the women in the office and to just keep my head down. Then I had a disagreement with him, he was off with me from the start on that day. I didn't have the door code on me as my phone wasn't working, he said 'next time you could knock on the door' acting as if I was stupid. I tried to keep my head down and work.

I felt so undervalued, especially finding all these things to help them bring in more money (this place is a charity for children with disabilities and medical needs) I then had a chat with him as he wanted me to go to this place I had never been to that evening late as well. And I did not feel safe at all, I only got told about it the day before and just got emailed the directions saying I would have to wait outside by myself for a short time till meeting this guy I never met and then help with these children when I had no training. Plus a bus journey and a train journey so late in the evening in an unsafe place with paying my own train fares.

He made out I was being dramatic, and showed me on google maps saying he didn't know what my problem was its just a short distance away. I didn't even get my train fares paid. He also wanted me to do this weekly as well! Two times in a week helping children with disabilities and medical needs when I had no training they just gave me this pile of paper on details of the kids needs to read and that was it plus a brief chat on that morning. That day that started with the door comment just got worst, he kept making digs at me. Making out I didn't remember things properly, and maybe you need to have things made out clearer to you. I was meant to be working from home one day which he said. When I asked him about this as I had been left in the office by myself a week before and no one seemed to know I was there by myself. He just said you should have checked the job listing more clearly did it say hybrid. Which is what I never meant at all. Every concern I brought up he brought round to being my fault for not understanding the induction properly, not remembering what was said in my interview. I then felt like my autism was being made fun of, as I said I hated things sprung on me last minute such as the travel. 

He seemed to think it was funny, and said 'so me leaving suddenly early would that make you panic / give you anxiety?' which is wasn't what I meant at all. He just seemed to think I was really stupid. And kept digging at me. He said 'you need to understand how a workplace works you know.' That you get things coming up which you don't know about which wasn't the point I made at all. I then asked about working from home as I said the work could easily be done at home, he just said 'its up to him and that you don't know how to do the work from home in the first place or how to use your home computer properly.' As well as this it was just the feeling of my safety continually put at risk. The place he wanted me to go to was under a bridge barely any lighting late at night. And he wanted me to do an event in July till midnight no pay. And he just said 'sure we can find you a cab or something.' I brought up this complaint to the lady who was boss above him voicing my concerns which turned out to be his mother in law. As I said I left early that day I just couldn't handle it, plus his aggressive attitude towards me. Plus him blaming all the women in the office, saying it was their fault. And 'how dare this woman call me on my day off, she planted a thought in your head that was all wrong.' 

The lady emailed me back yesterday evening telling me to go on one week paid leave and that I was not under any circumstance to contact anyone in the office. And that if I wanted to come back I would have to have a meeting with her so she can decide. She made out I was being ungrateful for the job 'saying just two weeks you been here', and that I should be given time to reflect on what I said when I complained. When all I wanted to do was highlight how I didn't want to be made out to be stupid, have my autism made fun of especially when I try telling people what I struggle with, and the sexist attitude in the workplace. 

I think I am going to quit but just wanted some opinions. I think as well what made me uncomfortable was the fact when I did one of the activities with kids with disabilities, and a few that had serious illnesses including wheelchairs and breathing tubes I had no proper training. Plus he checked up on what I was doing. I felt good for leaving early that day though, he just stared at me and just made me feel so uncomfortable especially coming round to my personal space and making me feel trapped. I hate people laughing about my autism especially when I feel that someone has been brave enough to tell you like I did. The boss ladies attitude was just shocking, wish I had never put in the work. I also when writing the complaint email copied in my boss he never bothered to reply, or when reading my note I left on his desk saying I had left early never checked on my wellbeing. 
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Comments

  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2023
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    Hey @CC59He. Thank you for reaching out to us. This sounds like a really difficult thing to go through for anyone, let alone those of us who are autistic. Is there anyone higher up who is not related to this man? It sounds really corrupt, unfortunately.

    Have you made them aware of your autism and do you have evidence this is only women and not men too? If so, you might also find it useful to contact ACAS. They have legal duties to not discriminate based on your sex or disability (and many other characteristics!). 

    Unfortunately, although training is key, not everywhere does train you properly (or at all). Having said that, if you have no prior training from external sources, you of course want training to do your job safely.

    Your well-being and health and safety are pivotal and, certainly, come above any job. It is completely your choice what you do next though.Please don't hesitate to let us know if there's anything we can do to support you, even if that's just listening to you. We are here for 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.
  • CC59He
    CC59He Scope Member Posts: 11 Listener
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    Hey @CC59He. Thank you for reaching out to us. This sounds like a really difficult thing to go through for anyone, let alone those of us who are autistic. Is there anyone higher up who is not related to this man? It sounds really corrupt, unfortunately.

    Have you made them aware of your autism and do you have evidence this is only women and not men too? If so, you might also find it useful to contact ACAS. They have legal duties to not discriminate based on your sex or disability (and many other characteristics!). 

    Unfortunately, although training is key, not everywhere does train you properly (or at all). Having said that, if you have no prior training from external sources, you of course want training to do your job safely.

    Your well-being and health and safety are pivotal and, certainly, come above any job. It is completely your choice what you do next though.Please don't hesitate to let us know if there's anything we can do to support you, even if that's just listening to you. We are here for you  <3
    Thank you so much it really is I have felt so stuck. No one else just his mother in law, who I thought would understand but unfortunately not. I have, told them what I struggle with and how it was part of my autism they just made fun of it and found it funny. Or patronised me because of it. I am not sure about evidence, I was told verbally by the other women. I will contact ACAS, do I have much of a footing though if I have only been there two weeks? What I hate is the fact the lady above him said she would be happy to help if I had any concerns, soon as I made a complaint she changed to shutting me off in a way. And exactly I just worried about the kids more than anything, anything could have happened. Thank you for your help, and very true about well being. It meant a lot that you are there to listen. I just felt so let down, the internship promised to give me confidence but now I just feel trapped and stuck. I am not one to quit, but then the atmosphere if I go back would be worst. Plus I would still have to be alone in the office with him, and I can't complain. So it might just end up in a cycle, plus corrupt as you say. What I hate is that he will go back to the people who funded the internship and make himself look good no doubt, and place all the blame on me.
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @CC59He and thanks for reaching out, I'm glad to read you're feeling supported and heard on the community, so please do keep us up to date with how things go. 

    If you have any ongoing concerns I'd also encourage you to contact ACAS, or let us know if we can help, and we'll do what we can :) 
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

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  • CC59He
    CC59He Scope Member Posts: 11 Listener
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    Hello @CC59He and thanks for reaching out, I'm glad to read you're feeling supported and heard on the community, so please do keep us up to date with how things go. 

    If you have any ongoing concerns I'd also encourage you to contact ACAS, or let us know if we can help, and we'll do what we can :) 
    Thank you so much. I contacted ACAS and they said I should have been given notice of being put on leave. I have a meeting with my job tomorrow, I guess I am close to quitting but want to give it another go. I know I will be bullied by my boss, but think its just about how to handle it and deal with my mental health. I also really need the money. I have a meeting with his senior tomorrow (his mother in law)too. Not going to lie I am really scared they will both bully me. Especially as she forced me on leave, and he got nothing. I didn't even do anything! She asked his opinion instead of mine. He made out I was really stupid, and she said things like maybe its because you don't know how to use a bus or a train properly. I think its sad I came in so excited to start and feel like he just ruined it all. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm so sorry you had those comments @CC59He I think they're quite hurtful, and perhaps he just doesn't understand how hurtful, so it's worth bringing this up. 

    I'm glad to hear you got helpful information from ACAS, how did the work meeting go? :)
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    Scope

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  • CC59He
    CC59He Scope Member Posts: 11 Listener
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    I'm so sorry you had those comments @CC59He I think they're quite hurtful, and perhaps he just doesn't understand how hurtful, so it's worth bringing this up. 

    I'm glad to hear you got helpful information from ACAS, how did the work meeting go? :)
    Hi Not well at all just put another post up about how it went, least I tried I guess. For sure, I did try bringing them up but was just called a liar amongst other things. Affects you mentally for sure. 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,562 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm so sorry @CC59He you're right it's bound to affect your mental health. Have you chatted to anyone you know about how it's made you feel? Sometimes a friendly face can really help. 

    I'm just looking into whether I can share some helpful resources with you, and I'll reply to the discussion you've posted just now.
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to give us feedback? Complete our feedback form now.
  • CC59He
    CC59He Scope Member Posts: 11 Listener
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    I'm so sorry @CC59He you're right it's bound to affect your mental health. Have you chatted to anyone you know about how it's made you feel? Sometimes a friendly face can really help. 

    I'm just looking into whether I can share some helpful resources with you, and I'll reply to the discussion you've posted just now.
    Thank you so much. Just my mum I don't have any friends or other family.
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