Issues with line manager and disability discrimination — Scope | Disability forum
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Issues with line manager and disability discrimination

Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
edited April 2019 in Work and employment
I was wondering who I should speak to about the situation i am in currently?

This is the third year I have been working for my current employer, the first 2 years were ok, I felt comfortable talking with my line manager and she suffers with ME so understood a little of what I was going through. I never had any complaints about my work only praise and commendation in whole school meetings.

 My current line manager is new to a managerial role and makes me feel like an inconvenient, nuisance of a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She makes me feel so small when she singles me out in whole staff meetings. I have asked her if she could tell me personal criticism in private but felt awkward doing so due to the way she is. I feel like she is trying to make me leave or trying to find anything she can test to get rid of me and so are the leadership team so I don't feel I could take it to any of them either. 

I hate to say it but I don't know if it is because I am disabled and the school has recently undergone cuts. They keep stressing the amount of physical activity involved and that i would be better suited in a lower paid role. I am currently undergoing assessments for reasonable adjustments but they have said that if that doesn't work the I may not be suitable for the role anymore and I would probably have to leave for medical reasons.

This whole situation is making me so unhappy, all I want to do is carry on doing my job, any advice would be greatly recieved.
Thank you


  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    edited January 2019
    Given that you have had no formal minuted meetings or discussions about your performance they are are on very shaky ground. Such matters should also be brought up during appraisals too, if they do them.
    It is not possible that you "may not be suitable." Either you are suitable or due process determines otherwise. "Medical reasons" can only come from a doctor, not them or even an OH.
    Start keeping a secret log of all such conversations (who, what, when, where, why) and contact ACAS for advice and possible arbitration.
    It may be that the school wants to "thin the herd" and are targetting those who they see as the weakest.
    Good luck.
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,793 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Lyns83, and another warm welcome to the community.

    I'm truly sorry to hear about your experiences and can only imagine how frustrating this must be. I posted this discussion for you based on what you shared on your wall, in the hope that our members and advisors will be able to offer some guidance with this. Please do keep us updated in the meantime.
  • Lyns83
    Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Hi @Markmywords and @Pippa_Scope.

    Thank you so much for replying, the idea of a secret log sounds like a great idea, I wish I had started one sooner, I will most definitely do that from now on.

    These past few months have been frustrating Pippa, it has been an awful atmosphere to work in. I honestly don't know what i have done to deserve this treatment. I have been wracking my brain trying to think if I have done something to upset her. She blanks me or talks to me like I am thick and know nothing. I have done a lot of training I just enjoy my role so I have stayed the same over the years.

    Is there anyone you think I should approach about the way my line manager is being? Or do I just take things in my stride continue to be pleasant regardless and try not to let it get to me?

    In the meeting I had with them with the health and safety officer the school business manager said it was a problem if people are off sick or they require extra support in another part of the school because they feel like they can't deploy me elsewhere to cover these gaps.

    Can they get rid of me if they decide I am not suitable anymore?

    There never used to be as much physical activity but this year they changed the timetable and are expecting me to clean the kitchen on my own every month. I feel like I am being set up to fail.

    I have an Access to work assessment scheduled for next Thursday.

    Thank you for your supportive words
  • justg72
    justg72 Member Posts: 173 Pioneering
    Hi @Lyns83
    I previously worked in schools and education and was finished on ill heath grounds. They can't get rid of you straight away I will tell you what they did for me.

    I was diagnosed with epilepsy a few years ago and was working at the time of diagnosis however I had to drive for my job as I worked as a Peripatetic Inclusion Mentor so I had to stop driving this led to me going on the sick.

     Occupational Health was contacted and a meeting was arranged to discuss this further. OH, my Epileptic Nurse, myself and Manager all met up and The first stage was to put reasonable adjustments into place at work.

     A plan was put in place for me with reasonable adjustments these were. My main base in education was in an office then they would allocate me into different schools where a referral was made so all decided that I would be office based at first.

     They also cut my hours down on a  temporary basis to support me. We would meet up on a regular basis and discuss the next steps in my employment. Gradually my hours built up and I was put into  more schools.

     I found this hard and stressful and this led to an increase in my seizures. We all met up with my nurse, manager and with a doctor from OH. It was decided that I couldn't be pensioned off because they could get my epilepsy under control. The doctor said that I could go on the redeployment list. So I was given 3 months to find a job because non were suitable I couldn't be redeployed, this led to me been finished on ill health grounds because my epilepsy worsened.

    Can I ask are you employed with the local authority? or is it private, or an academy, or is it a free school?
    Are you a member of a union?

    Your manager sounds awful and this sounds to me that she is discriminating against you and bullying comes to mind. Criticising you in front of other employers is really unprofessional. She obviously doesn't understand what your disability is and how it can affect you. If your health is affecting your work performance this is grounds for them to refer you to OH. There supposed to support you by making reasonable adjustments. To be finished on ill health grounds they will have to have evidence of why they are finishing you.

    Is there anybody in school who could support you?

    Like markmywords said above start keeping a log: date, time, who was present, what was said etc.

    I would ask for a OH referral meeting without your manager been present because you can discuss this with them and it is confidential.

    CAB have employment advisors so they maybe able to support you.

    If you work for the local authority your pay is protected at first, if they changed your current role to another which is less pay mine was this:
    1st year the same hourly rate.
    2nd year they would give you a percentage of your hourly wage.
    3rd year a lower percentage of your currant wage.

    I hope this is of some help to you, please let me know how you get on.
    Take care and good luck.

  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Lyns83 said:
    Hi @Markmywords and @Pippa_Scope.

    Is there anyone you think I should approach about the way my line manager is being?

    In the meeting I had with them with the health and safety officer the school business manager said it was a problem if people are off sick or they require extra support in another part of the school because they feel like they can't deploy me elsewhere to cover these gaps.

    Can they get rid of me if they decide I am not suitable anymore?

    There never used to be as much physical activity but this year they changed the timetable and are expecting me to clean the kitchen on my own every month. I feel like I am being set up to fail.

    If this abuse goes right to the top, and it might, then sadly there won't be anyone internally you can go to.
    H&S and a business manager are inappropriate personnel for such a meeting as are the "reasons" they gave.
    No they cannot "decide" to get rid of you. Only a proper, open procedure can determine if you can do what you were contracted for. They must also consult with you for your views and consider alternative employment roles.
    It does appear that you are in fact being set up, not to "fail" as such but to be pushed out based on a made-up excuse.
    It sounds as though this has already escalated past what would be legitimate situation so I recommend that you contact ACAS as soon as possible.
    Good luck
  • Lyns83
    Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
    @justg72 thank you for your reply and sharing way happened to you with me. 
    I am paid by the local authority, if was their health and safety officer and equalities officer that met with me and the schools finance manager.
    I have had OH referrals but the school aren't satisfied with the suggestions that they have made.
    I am a member of a union and I have made email contact with a steward and have been keeping her updated but she only works 2 days a week in her steward role. She feels I am doing everything right so far and she hasn't really suggested anything I can do as it is so hard working in that negative environment. It's such a shame as the 2 years previous in this work place were a dream and I had no desire to be anywhere else. Since September it's been awful.
    Perhaps I will approach the CAB then and see if they can help too.
    Thank you so much for your message.
  • Lyns83
    Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
    @Markmywords I think it might go right to the top  too which is why I am unsure who I should go to to discuss and try to sort out the situation. Because it is a local authority school do you think I should go to them?
    I know when my old line manager left she told me she had done an exit interview with one of the school goveners telling them what things have been like for her as an employee with ME at the school. She was a middle leader though.
    They were making adjustments in the beginning without telling me or consulting with me. I found out that they were doing this due to annoyed teachers telling me I was no longer doing certain things and it was now their responsibility instead. SLT said there was no time to do that when I questioned them about but agreed that they would stop making adjustments behind my back. As you can imagine this whole situation made working life with my colleagues very awkward to say the least.
    I will indeed contact ACAS thank you for your suggestion and continued support it means so much.
  • Lyns83
    Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Beginning as in beginning of this school year so September. Sorry I just read that back.
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    edited January 2019
    I wish I had more encouraging advice @Lyns83 but my experience has been that the public sector will just close ranks and that includes governors.
    I once had a problem with the improper behaviour of HR in a college. It was referred to a senior director who passed judgement that my complaint had no merit even though I had made no complaint and he had collected no evidence!!
    So sadly my advice is trust no-one, including colleagues.
    ACAS is a neutral government body so if management take offence then they have obviously done something wrong. ACAS is also a requirement before an Employment Tribunal so it often "focusses their minds."
    At the very, very least you should have been consulted right at the beginning.
  • justg72
    justg72 Member Posts: 173 Pioneering
    The school are not supposed to go against OH decisions. Just like markmywords has quoted above I wouldn't discuss what is going on with your work colleagues even the ones you trust. I confided in the ones I trusted only to find out that they had gone behind my back and discussed issues with my manager. Has the union rep been there when you have had meetings with school? I know they can't attend all of them but should with some of them.

    Working for the local authority has its advantages, as you are protected by law and they have to follow strict employment guidelines and procedures, because if they are discriminating against your disability, you can take them to a tribunal. I know that this is not going to help how you are feeling at the moment and I know how some people can make life so difficult at work so you feel like giving up and handing in your notice. I can't believe how the manager speaks to you in front of other work colleagues. Have any of them commented on this and confronted her about this? 

    Has a plan been put into place to support you in work?

    Could you ask for another meeting with OH because the school should not be going against what they have said.

    Have you thought of moving to another school if they offer you this, I know you should not have to, however if this makes you happier and you receive supportive work colleagues its an option worth thinking about. With some disabilities you can get help towards paying for taxis to and from work. It is called access to work.

    I wish I could be of more help, If you want to let off some steam or have a chat I am here.

    Take Care and good luck. 

  • jonny1
    jonny1 Member Posts: 15 Listener
    If you ask your employer to make any adjustments you must either email them or give them a letter stating the reasonable adjustments needed ,I can’t stress that enough as I learnt when I worked at the local gov ,that is your evidence that you have asked them for help ,they then have a time limit to make the adjustment  such as 12 weeks ,if they don’t then you raise a grievance then it can go to a tribunal but that is very important you do that .if they agree verbally to help you then decide not to it is a waste of time and you couldn’t do much about it as it’s your word against there’s .i know it’s difficult doing it like this as you work there and you would possibly feel easier to talk to them but trust me have some proof that they received the adjustments in writing or an email because that would give you a case later on if needed ,and taking a lesser paid Job is bull why should you, if they did adjustments for you ,possibly you could carry on with the job your doing ,I had the same issues with the local gov and my union what a waste of sxxt they were ,ill advising me all the time and it was because I’d phoned up Acas and read a lot about what I should of done about having adjustments in writing and raising grievances it’s was to late and in the end I had to finish medical reasons and was to late 
  • Benistmonk
    Benistmonk Member Posts: 343 Pioneering
    The first thing you need to do is read your contract of employment, see what the grievance procedure is. Then make a complaint in writing, especially about the dressing down you get in front of other staff, which is totally wrong, and that you believe you are being discriminated against for being disabled.   

    That will put the cat among the pigeons, the manager needs to keep well clear of you after that or she could be the one facing the sack for being abusive to a member of staff.

  • vapegirlclouds
    vapegirlclouds Member Posts: 10 Connected
    Good luck with your access to work meeting.
    TELL THEM EVERYTHING. Tell them how they've made you feel inadequate and that you want disability awareness training for your colleagues.
    I understand, my manager called my reasonable adjustments a comfort zone.
    The person sent by access to work to see you. This will be their job, assessing peoples needs and wants in the workplace to help them remain working. 
    Reasonable adjustments  can be anything from specialist chairs, desks, transport to work. To working pattern changes, making it so you've not got to work in another room. By law, your employers have to implement these.
    I offer you my solidarity. I trust one person in my workplace, I don't partake in gossip as my life is hard enough. I joined a union that nobody in my workplace was part of, thatnway there was nobody internal who I didnt trust involved.
    You are not in the wrong here they are. 
    Let me know how it goes with access to work xx
  • Lyns83
    Lyns83 Member Posts: 8 Listener
    So access to work came in, my HR/Finance lady sat in on this too, is this normal?

    Anyway everything he suggested she dissmissed saying that it wouldn't work in our setting.

    The only thing I have been allowed to have is someone to come in and teach me coping techniques.

    I have since then triggered an attendance procedure which they said that I am only allowed 3 days off in 3 months taking into consideration my disability too.

    Unfortunately I am having a flair up, today is the last day I am allowed from that meeting. I spoke with my GP who has given me a fit for note. My work said I haven't been off long enough for a phased return and they have explored adaptation. They said they will discuss if I can have part time hours at senior leadership meeting.

    Do I stay off until well enough and/or they offer adapted hours like my fit for note asks for?
    If I do then I would be over the amount of days allowed from my attendance meeting so what would happen then?
    Is it normal that I am not part of the adaptation to hours meeting?

    I feel at an absolute loss, I have given this job everything and always told what a great job I do. 
    I have come to accept that I am not superwoman and I might have to explore part time hours and different avenues of work. I don't know how or what though??
  • jonny1
    jonny1 Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Hr will sit in meetings they usually try and help through experience,or advised the management of mistakes but as I said before anything you ask your employer must be written to them or at least a text message this will help later at a tribunal , they’ll possibly also ask the oc health if you’d be covered with the disability act but that depends what your disease/condition is ,they have to do adjustments for you but I wouldn’t come up with suggestion and say to much let them work at it what’s suitable for you also reduce pay why should you have reduce pay that’s what the reasonable adjustment is for otherwise your being penalised for have a disability stand your ground but you 100%need it in writing to them even if you ask for a reasonable adjustment have it in writing 


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