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Work issues - can anyone help?

Giacoma Member Posts: 5 Listener
edited September 2018 in Work and employment

Hello everyone, I’m new to this having just found the advert on Facebook. I hope I am able to get some friendship and advice and hope I can do the same for others. I am having a few issues right now so apologies for what I imagine may be a long post. Hopefully there will be some context throughout the length and it’s not all waffle. So here goes....

I have a condition called palmar pustulosis Psoriasis with psoriatic arthritis which affects my hands By either being covered in scales, pustules or scabs along with psoriasis on my nails and this culminates in a lot of pain and difficulty in movement and the skin spitting cracking and bleeding. As you can imagine this is all very sore and makes it hard to do a lot of things. I am under a dermatologist for this and I’m receiving lots of help but there is that much more they can do for me because of the localised way my conditioners means that certain medications/treatments cannot be afforded for me. But this I am coping with.

I also have osteoporosis in my spine, osteopenia in my hips and spinal arthritis. I have suffered fractures in my spine and have spent time in hospital and wearing support brace and using crutches for these. My condition is not improving despite taking medication, I will never get better, and I regularly visit the doctor at the hospital to monitor this and have scans Which will determine my treatment which may consist of Prolia injections in the future.

I am an adult with Asperger’s syndrome. I was diagnosed late in life so I have not received any support and nor will I ever. I have tried to help others understand what the world Is like for me. But, because I appear “normal “, people think there’s nothing different with me. I struggle every day with situations that other people have no problem with at all. This is really quite exhausting.

Despite all this I have a full-time job and work for the NHS. Last year I was made redundant from my job in the NHS which was a great job. Following that I have taken on this new new job, which is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. These are things I already suffer with as part and parcel with my Asperger's. 

So here are the issues:

My job requires me to sit for long periods of time, this is something I am not able to do this causes me a lot of pain. Occupational health at work said I need to take plenty of micro breaks and have a proper chair to support my spine. My boss Arrange for a new chair to be ordered for me and for an osteopath for coming and adjust it. The chair was the same as everybody else’s, and as soon as I’m not sitting in it someone else will come in and adjust it so I don’t know which is my chair and consequently I suffer with backache. She also does not allow me to take micro breaks by virtue of the fact that she has me sitting in meetings for three hours taking minutes. I have told her this is very painful, I lose concentration I stop listening, I take a painkiller and it is not acceptable. 

After one week of back-to-back meetings and constantly being nagged for not getting my work done because we are shortstaffed in our team and I am constantly taking minutes I finally had a break down and became suicidal. My GP signed me off work with stress. This was 3 months ago.

Work recommended another visit to occupational health which I was pleased to attend. However, the doctor eyesore this time I’ve decided that I’m overweight and lazy and exercise will fix all my problems. She does not believe that I am to be considered disabled in any way. She categorically stated that spinal arthritis was nothing and this is something the doctor says when they don’t know what’s wrong with you. You can imagine how much this upset me. My mental health is considered quite considerably following this appointment and this resulted in me wanting more time off work.

I visited my GP and asked for an exercise referral as 0H had suggested. Unfortunately, the service have rejected me because I have a heart murmur, so that's that. My GP was appalled when I told him how she was able to diagnose me without even examining me or seeing any of my notes or scans.

Last week I visited my consultant at the hospital who looks after my osteoporosis and spine conditions. He also was disgusted at her attitude. I have asked him for a physio referral with the hopes that physio can help with pain and show me which exercises I can do and suggest classes I could attend safely. He was happy to do this.

To make things clear I have been considered disabled for a couple of years now and I am in receipt of PIP at standard rate and also have a blue badge for my car. Occupational health at previous employment had made a note on my records that I would be classed as disabled under the equality act and should be treated as such.

My problem now is I am still off sick from work I am on half pay and this has all culminated in stress because of my disability not been able to carry out my job and satisfactory adjustments not being made. Which they won’t be because as far as they are concerned now I have no disability and I am not protected under the equality act any more. 

I have no understanding of how benefits work, everything I’ve read tells me I’m not entitled to anything. I am looking for another job but I am afraid that I will have yet another unsympathetic employer and I will be in pain all day. I can’t go back to this job, I’d rather die. I don’t know what to do. I am receiving counselling for this, so what I really need is practical advice. If anyone is able to please offer some.

I am extremely depressed and suicidal, I do not know what to do. I don’t know where I stand I don’t know how I will pay my rent I am very worried about everything. I feel my body is broken and my mind is too, I feel like I’m a burden to everyone.

So sorry for the long post, I hope someone can pick through this and see if there is any advice they can offer me.


  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,948 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Giacoma
    Welcome to the community! I really admire you for opening up, I can imagine it must have been tough. From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry for everything you have been through. I wish I knew how to advise you but I don't, I'm sorry. I can promise you that you've come to the best place as the community is full of amazing and knowledgeable members that if one cannot help you with a certain aspect then another member could. We are all here for you so please don't hesitate if ever you feel alone to get in touch. I'm on here everyday so are another few members. You are strong, we will be with you every step of the way :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Giacoma
    Giacoma Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank you for your kind words Ami2301. It was hard getting all that out but I thought if I just do it all in one big that rather than in dries and drabs it might give people the correct picture of my situation. Just feeling so low at the moment since being told I’m not disabled I feel like a fraud but I don’t feel that that is a true and accurate statement.
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,948 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Giacoma
    I can assure you that you're 100% not a fraud! :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • sophialob
    sophialob Member Posts: 61 Courageous
    Hi @Giacoma. First of all, welcome to the community! I really am so sorry to hear about your situation. Some people are very unfair and don't understand the complexity of many conditions because they haven't been through such hardship themselves. It is a very good idea you are having counselling to talk this through and I hope this community will be a good source of information and help to you too. I think, while it is incredibly difficult, sometimes you have to ignore a negative comment that someone has said as they don't understand your situation. You know in yourself that you are not a fraud and both your consultants and GP know this too. Stay strong in yourself and remember who you are and what a wonderful person you are.

    Take a look at this page as it might have more indications of what benefits you are entitled to:
    I hope everything works out well for you, stay strong :smile:
  • Giacoma
    Giacoma Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thankyou Sophialob for your kind words. I do know really I am not a fraud, but what the OH Dr has said has been very damaging because now work do not recognise my disability and that changes how policies are effected on me. 😞 

    I will take a look at the links you have provided. 🙏🏼 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Giacoma
    Welcome to the community, I have moved your post to the ask an employment advisor category where I hope one of the team will be able to offer some support and information soon.

    You say you are depressed and suicidal, you are a member of our community and we appreciate you. 

    If you are having thoughts of suicide, it is important that you discuss them with someone who is qualified to help. Please call the Samaritans on 116 123 (free) or email them at jo[email protected] 

    You might also benefit from reading MIND’s information on how you can help yourself: 

    If you feel that you may be an immediate danger to yourself, please call 999 or go to your local hospital right away. 

    Senior online community officer
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Hello @Giacoma .

    Your employer is clearly preparing to dismiss you on grounds of incapacity. They are refusing to acknowledge your disabilities so as to discourage you from asserting your legal rights. You now have nothing to lose.
    You do not need anyone to accept that you are disabled nor do you need to prove it.
    If your employer paid for your OT assessment then it cannot be trusted and should be ignored.

    Firstly you can claim for "reasonable adjustments" in your working environment. This means that you are entitled to a decent chair for you alone to use. Also the meetings which you attend are logically better-off being recorded for you to transcribe afterwards. No modern business has a "note taker."

    I suggest that you could write to the most senior manager you can find or failing that, HR and mention the Equalities Act and that you find them to have failed in their responsibilities to it. State what you reasonably need in order to have an equal opportunity to perform your job.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,682 Disability Gamechanger
    @mwila_scope can you help?
    Senior online community officer
  • Giacoma
    Giacoma Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank you both Sam_Scope and Markmywords. I am keeping myself safe. I do feel very down and I cry a lot. Had my last counselling session today. The counsellor helps me feel better about things which is good. 

    I do agree that my employer is trying to get rid of me, I just hope I can get another job soon. As a disabled veteran I am receiving employment support so I have a good network around me. Although I was disrupted by a change of advisor which I found unsettling. 

    A friend of mine is a civil servant and has also mentioned about access to work and reasonable adjustments, but I honestly am made to feel as though I am an inconvenience. I once worked with a deaf lady and she had a signer come in a couple of times a week and most of the team learnt some sign language to communicate with her which was lovely. 

    I think I need to compose a letter to the Head of HR and discuss the issues, she is aware that my manager had treated me unfairly in the past as I have discussed this with her but at the time I did not wish to pursue it formally. I am actually off work with stress but this is caused by the way I am being treated because I cannot  do my job as she expects because no adaptations have been made.

    Thank you for what you said about meetings. Indeed it is archaic to work this way. We have all singing and dancing boardrooms, I suggested before that meetings be recorded and distributed with the agenda and an action list and if anyone had long winded information that could provide in a document to be included. Similar has been done in previous employments and it works. Hardly anyone ever looks at the minutes after the meeting. Action points are important....

    Well I'm off to apply for some jobs and I am trying to contact the council re help with rent/Housing benefit, unfortunately I was on hold for 25 minutes and gave up when I tried total earlier. I will try again later after some applications.  My current big fear is that I take on another job that has an awful boss....   :-(  I have asked my GP for another sick note, so fingers crossed. 

    Thanks peeps for listening. xx
  • Mwila_Scope
    Mwila_Scope Scope Support to Work service Posts: 52 Pioneering
    Hi @Giacoma

    Good to hear that you've got some support in place in terms of your counsellor as well as the online community, as its quite important to talk to people about how we are feeling- as a problem shared is a problem halved. 

    If you would like to stay in your current position and would like to speak to some one about your rights as an employee and what reasonable adjustments can be made for you, i would suggest you get in contact with ACAS at your earliest convenience. ACAS provides information and advice to employees as well as employers to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. they can be reached on; 0300 123 1100

    Alternatively if you would like some support, help and advice in finding a new role, Scope provide a free digital employment service called Support to Work. the service provides support and advice to disabled people who are looking for work and provide support in areas such as CV's, application forms, interviews, declaring your disability to employers and requesting some reasonable adjustments to enable you to do your job to the best of your ability, amongst other things. 
    If you feel you would benefit from this and would like to register or find out more about the service, you can do so HERE  

    Hope that helps 
    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
    Email: [email protected]
  • Giacoma
    Giacoma Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi mwila_scope, thank you for your message. I do not feel that I wish to remain in this role. I am meeting with HR and I will probably tell her how I have been feeling, but I don’t think I can go back to the company even if adjustments are made. I feel I have been treated badly by a couple of individuals and the thought of seeing them again makes me feels sick, even if I am not working directly with them. The OH had suggested I return to a different team, but the company is so small and in a large open plan office.

    On a brighter note I have a job interview next week. I applied for a job with this company previously and they really liked me but as it turned out I didn’t get the job, but it was apparently a close call, so fingers crossed. What I am now concerned about is references, I have had a lot of time off sick which doesn’t look good. I meeting with my employability consultant to discuss interview etc, she may have some ideas...

    I have applied for Universal Credit to help with rent costs and have applied for a reduction in Council Tax. Wow, that was a long winded process. After a week of phone calls and being on hold a lot they were both completed yesterday. I now need to make visits with evidence. If I get this job I won’t need them, but just in case. 

    Thanks evryone, I will keep you posted on developments. xx


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