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Failure to implement reasonable adjustments

vapegirlclouds Community member Posts: 10 Connected
edited November 2019 in Work and employment
I'm a civil servant who works in a leased building on a university campus. 
The disabled toilet on our floor is available for disabled students and staff to use too.
Last year access to work recommended better management of the disabled toilet. 
Because staff are routinely using it, telling visitors it's fine to use. Leaving it dirty, unflushed, seat up. But the biggest issue is there are times then, when I can't actually access it.
I sought advice from the equality human rights commission. They stated that a disabled toilet is a reasonable adjustment, and misuse from able bodied staff could be seen as discrimination especially as they've failed to act on the previous access to work recommendations.
I'm not one for going through tribunal, I didn't have equal access for a while.
They're not very good and I'm constantly made to feel that I am the problem.
Last year they turned around and said they can't stop people using the toilet, it's not about that, it's about education. 
If I'm monitoring what I drink because I know access is limited they dont seem to think that's an issue.
They're about to cordon off the tents toilet and have already said that the men can use the disabled. 
I can't go to any other floor only mine, everyone else can go to any toilet on the campus. 
I sent an email yesterday stating my concerns, and am worried sick now about when I go back to work tomorrow. 
It's not right that we feel so upset asking for simple things.


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,665 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @vapegirlclouds
    I'm sorry to hear you are having such a tough time with this, it can be so hard even when we know we are asking for things within our rights to not feel upset and stressed about it.

    I have asked our employment team to have a look at your post to see if they have any thoughts.

    You can get advice on reasonable adjustments from the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus office, or the Disability Employment Service if you’re in Northern Ireland.

    You can apply for Access to Work if you need extra help.

    There’s more detail about employers’ obligations and how to meet them on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

    Senior online community officer
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Posts: 10,581 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @vapegirlclouds, sorry to hear things are really difficult at the moment. The advice Sam has given is really good so I'd definitely look through the things she has suggested. Here are some other articles you may find helpful:

  • Ren_Scope
    Ren_Scope Scope Posts: 24 Courageous
    Hi @vapegirlclouds

    Im sorry to hear that you are having problems with the toilets at work, you are right to address this with your employer.  I think the best course of action, would be to speak with ACAS, who would be able to give you the correct advice on where you stand and how best to deal with this matter.

    I wish you all the best
    Scope Employment Advisor
    Phone: 0300 222 5742
  • vapegirlclouds
    vapegirlclouds Community member Posts: 10 Connected
    I’m not sure the links etc. are ever much use to someone in this scenario. It’s just generic stuff you probably know already as a disabled person. 

    I’m a WRO with strong personal and professional knowledge of EA 10 and RAs and I think this is relatively straightforward. Firstly, it’s worth understanding that it’s unlikely you’d ever have to take a case like this to an ET. Employers etc. rarely want the glare of bad publicity and will almost always settle beforehand. Having gone through the process myself I can say you’d be surprised how stress free and liberating in some ways it can be.

    So, go join a union and get a union rep. Either way, raise a grievance. I’m not sure I buy the EHRC idea this accessible toilet is an RA. That would only be the case if it were put in specifically for you or if it was acknowledged from the outset that the nature of your relevant health condition meant you would always need immediate access. I can’t see how the latter could ever be enforceable as another person with equally valid needs might just happen to be using the accessible toilet when you need it. That’s not going to be a breach of your RAs. There are always going to be times it’s not available.

    The stronger argument for a grievance is to give reasons why you need to use that specific toilet and provide vivid details of what happens when you can’t because, for example, a non-disabled visitor was in there. Then come up with a solution, which in this case would surely be to make sure the toilet was only accessible via Radar Key. Provision of temporary toilets for other staff whilst work is being done would also be a reasonable solution.

    if the grievance fails then you take to the union for advice and they’ll usually go for an ET. Well worth doing because the level of panic you’ll induce within your team, HR and senior management will very much focus minds on a solution. 

    Hi @mike
    Sorry I dont know how to reply direct to you.
    Update so far. Sorry it's a long one.
    I'd initially sent an email to manage and her manager, because he was involved with the facilities department when I first asked for adjustments December last year.
    The email explained all my current adjustments, and outstanding ones. The toilets and a small fan heater.
    Had a meeting with manager Tuesday. She spent the first 15 minutes telling me how bad I made her feel by the email, especially as I'd copied in her boss (he was involved as i said) so explained that was why. I'm not at all confident anymore and find any conflict incredibly difficult. I feel unsupported by her as it is, she's denied all knowledge of things she's previously approved. Is close to a colleague who actually broke my large video magnifier, and happily passes derogatory comments.
    I was asked is there anyone specific also making things difficult. 
    But it's not worth it. I can't deal with that too.
    The facilities department are the ones who have been difficult, and my manager tends to side with them.
    They are going to put signage in the disabled toilet ro leave it as you find it. As it's frequently left unflushed, seat up against the back rest etc.
    They're going to reiterate to staff quarterly about use, "just a reminder to staff fo show visitors to the appropriate facilities and remember that the toilets are used by both students and staff on campus not just our staff"
    I'm happy with that.
    They will under no circumstances put a radar lock on it, as then it becomes an inaccessible toilet for trans etc. The equality manager has said this.
    They have also said that they will email the agents about the toilets on all the other floors for when it the gents is out of use.
    I'm happy with this.
    When I didnt have equal access to the building, the facilities department frogmarched me to attempt to walk a route into the building, all to avoid putting a salto lock on the door.
    Despite the route being assessed by external impact assessor as inaccessible. 
    So they aren't the most understanding
    While they've now agreed signage, hopefully it will be implemented. 
    The fan I've asked for is a small fan heater, they've said they have EMS targets and the EMS team doesn't like fan heaters.
    As it's disability related issue, our people services said there should be no issue as disability related.
    They still said no, so I emailed EMS team and they've come back and said it's absolutely fine.
    My manager was going to buy my fan last night, and the head of facilities, known to be not understanding of issues has put a stop to it. Suprisingly my manager thinks it's silly.
    Whereas they've said EMS system all along, they're now saying that the small fan will have an impact on the whole HVAC system. 
    This is obviously highly unlikely, and to me, being awkward for the sake of it. 
    I've already got a cooling fan, oil heater and have equipment that produces heat.
    I need quick blasts of hot air for raynauds attacks, and quick cooling for erythromelalgia 
    I'm once again left feeling despair, utterly fed up and wonder why I still bother getting up at 5.30 to go to work.
    I've other disabilities too, but it's like I'm not believed.
    I was told a handrail was a specific adjustment... hand rain on a stairs.
    This is a disability confident employer, civil servant. 
    Utterly fed up.
    Sorry for rambling I hope some of this makes sense.
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,651 Connected
    Like I've said before, if they're refusing the reasonable adjustments, you are well within your rights to sue the **** out of them under the 2010 Equality Act.. OK I've said for years that the Act has no teeth because the Tories don't and probably never will enforce it, but it is there.

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 11,942 Disability Gamechanger
    Like I've said before, if they're refusing the reasonable adjustments, you are well within your rights to sue the **** out of them under the 2010 Equality Act.. OK I've said for years that the Act has no teeth because the Tories don't and probably never will enforce it, but it is there.

    Once enshrined in law it's not for the government to enforce the law but outside agencies. Thats why we clearly define the difference between the law makers (parliament) and the law enforcers in the UK.
    2024 The year of the general election...the time for change is coming 💡

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