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Discrimination at work?

sammyjayneesammyjaynee Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited March 2020 in Disabled people
Hi! This is a long long story, so please bare with me while I try and muddle through!

I'm 26, and was diagnosed on the spectrum April 2019 at 25. I've struggled for a long time and was misdiagnosed with a whole plethora of conditions before I got one that actually felt like it fit! I was also diagnosed as having ME in 2014 after a mysterious virus. I worked really hard with a OT on coping strategies etc and managed to get myself into a position of feeling like I could do *SOME* work. 

In 2016 I secured my first job, a care worker. Due to what I thought was anxiety - i asked for reasonable adjustments to be made. Which is how i started to see only one client, part time - this gave me a sense of security, knowing what I was doing and not having to deal with too many different people because I can feel overwhelmed easily. My manager at the time was very supportive, she checked in on me regularly and made sure that I was coping okay. Then, a new manager started at the end of 2018, which is when my problems started. She made unnecessary comments about how if I had interviewed with her she wouldn't have employed me, that it wasnt good for the company that I was so rigid and not flexible. When I was off sick she took advantage of my need to please, and made me feel like I had to work even though I wasnt fit to. She harassed me whilst I was on holiday, and a lot of other things. It broke me and completely destroyed my confidence. When my support group finally talked me into making a grievance, the company decided to serve notice on my only client. When I asked what I was supposed to do, they suggested they would give me a "run" of calls, but they couldnt guarantee it would be the same every week...this was all about a month after receiving my diagnosis so due to everything happening all at once I was signed off. This was June 2019. I tried desperately to claw back some positivity in my life and in august 2019 I secured a new job and got myself out of the toxic environment. - but my confidence and mental health was very badly damaged.

I started in my new job, I was lucky as the client I had worked with in my previous company had moved to this one. My manager at the new company seemed to be very supportive, and in the beginning December 2019, she suggested to start training me up to progress within the company. With a more nurturing environment and being desperate to stick my fingers up to my previous manager I accepted and began to train to do some of the office jobs as well as my calls. We took it a small step at a time and if I was overwhelmed my manager was happy to help where she could. Near the end of december something happened in her personal life and she became almost unreachable. I stopped doing the training and just started to do my regular calls with nothing else. Then in January, management let me know that they would be serving notice to my client, and that I would be without one. Unfortunately 3 weeks ago I was admitted into hospital for suspected meningitis, as you can imagine I was very Ill. I messaged my manager and explained the situation, in my message I wrote "unfortunately I have been admitted into hospital and I am having to have CT scans and a lumbar puncture. I'm sorry to say you will need to cover my calls for the forseeable future" to which she replied "can I just confirm this means you are resigning from the company" 

I was very confused because this isnt what I said, so I replied to say basically that I meant I wasnt sure how long I would be in the hospital. 

Anyway, I had a CT scan and my sinuses were swollen and that was causing the symptoms, after a couple of days they sent me home with some morphine and other pain relief and told me to rest. 

I messaged my manager to explain the situation and to double check their sickness policy to ensure that I would get SSP whilst off. After receiving this message, she blocked me on whatsapp, so I couldn't contact her. When i messaged the next person in charge they also ignored me, then a couple of hours later I got an email to say that i failed my probationary period, due to "attendance" (my attendance had been fine) my "work limitations" and "personal reasons". This came as a massive shock as in all of my reviews with my manager I was doing well, and as far as I was concerned I was progressing with in the company. I sent 2 replies, 1. Was asking for a statement of reasons because I felt they were being unlawful, and when they rejected sending me one of those, I send number 2. Basically defending myself and asking why they had not brought up these issues in the 4 reviews I have had in the last 6 months. I got a response from the manager basically saying that I was harassing them and they would no longer reply to any form of communication. 

I feel totally shook. I'm starting to wonder whether I am the problem, and not the managers. My confidence is totally gone, and I know for definite that I dont want any other job within care as they really really dont care for the staff! 

Anyway, i have a house, partner, small child and 2 cats. Although my partner works we cant afford for me to not be earning any money. I'm going to try and get into some admin based job, as I feel like that could make use of some of my key strengths... 
There are a couple of things I would like peoples advice/opinions on. 

1. If you have been through something similar, how do you get out of the mindset that you are the problem? Or how do you stop the self deprecation? 

2. If by some miracle I get a job interview, what do I say about my situation at my last job?

3. how do I get references? My last manager says I was "threatening" and the manager before that i made a formal grievance about and she didnt even apologise for her behaviour! 

4. If I manage to get a new job, any tips on how to settle into a new environment, how to engage and make new friends or aquantices? 

If you manage to read this far, you are a superstar! And honestly any help would be amazing. 

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,266 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome, sadly an employer can sack anyone for any reason within the first two years, the care industry is well known for staff moving from one employer to another so I wouldn't worry about references as they are rarely asked for now as a previous employer can't say anything bad about anyone.
    Are you claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled? If you are and can manage financially then maybe a spell away from work would be an idea while you get some confidence back?
    Anything we can help with please just ask.
  • JeffreyDriverJeffreyDriver Member Posts: 11 Listener
    In my experience it's not the managers that are the problem. It's always been coworkers.
    1. People who are desperate to undermine you to appear better to superiors. It's not you. It's people who will manipulate the situation.
    2. Say as little as possible about it. Some of it seems to be about those people, not yourself.
    3. Where are you based? In the UK employers are scared to give bad references as you could come back and complain. References need to be factual, whereas you could complain they were subjective.
    4. There's been a couple of cases where I wish I'd been upfront about my conditions and spoken to the managers straight away. This might have cut down on issue 1. 
  • sammyjayneesammyjaynee Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you for the reply. :) 
    Yeah, I decided in terms of the probation there is not really much point in taking anything further as I couldnt have proved anything anyway. 

    The new jobs that i want to apply for because they are not care related jobs, i need references which is why I'm concerned. 

    Yes, I recieve PiP, we did a check on ESA, but unfortunately even with that we would struggle financially so having some time off (as much as I would love it) is not an option. 
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,295 Disability Gamechanger
    @sammyjaynee Hello and welcome to the community, I am an ex Human Resource Manager, do not concern yourself too much about references you will have to give if asked your most recent employer and maybe one other as a reference, but as others have said it is rare for ex employers to give a bad reference , however it must be based on fact and they can give a bad reference if it is factual for example if they are asked about absence levels they can only out there was an issue if they took any action on this issue (issued a warning), or for example somebody was dismissed. But don't let this worry you as most employers just give a general refefence stating start end dates and reason for leaving. If asked about your last employment at interview just say what is relevant what duties you did, skills and care you provided. I would advice you tell your prospective employer about your condition as this will allow them to make appropriate reasonable adjustments and tailor your probation and training accordingly, if not you may be expected to achieve targets which are not suitable this would also help you settle into the new environment.

    I wish you luck in your job search and hope you find something more suitable, any more support just get in touch    
      
  • SeanchaiSeanchai Member Posts: 381 Pioneering
    edited February 2020
    Hi and welcome sammyjay ....could you maybe go back a step or two and go back to your OT ? 
    This government are stopping giving visas to people from other countries and we all know how much the 'foreigners 'are wanted ...and needed , in the care side of things and the hotels and fruit and veg picking . There will be plenty of jobs in care work just shortly ( before the end of the year) of course most of these jobs will be minimum wages or zero hour contracts ....maybe you could take some courses to better your chances in care work or office work and also be paid a higher wage .
    I,m sorry to hear you are being treated in such a way but if your still in the probationary period , there is not a lot you can do I don,t think .
    I hope you get employment soon .
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @sammyjaynee, how are you getting on?
    Community Partner
    Scope

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