Is this discrimination? — Scope | Disability forum
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Is this discrimination?

lallal Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi, I'm looking for some advice. I am a TA in a primary school and because my sons special needs school has been closed since March because of Covid-19 I have been unable to work on a rota system. I was on full pay until 20th June but then was told by my employer that I needed to make a choice, either come back to work on the rota or take unpaid leave. I took this to my union as I felt this was unfair as I cannot be furloughed due to the government giving schools extra money to keep on their staff. After taking it to HR I was told via my union that they do not have to pay me. So for the last month of term I will go unpaid. I feel I have been discriminated against by my employer for having a son with Special needs who needs my constant care and attention. I also feel that because I would not be pressured into returning to work I have been peanalised for putting my son first.
Can I take this further? Can I seek legal advice? 
Any advice is appreciated.


  • Awesomelorenzo
    Awesomelorenzo Member Posts: 114 Connected
    I don't think it is. They are paying you to not be there. I know you need to be home with your kid, but is it possible you could get a carer for him while you go to work?
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    I doubt this is discrimination, it sounds a bit too specific and maybe an isolated case.

    Personally I see people threatening to and taking legal action as more destructive than helpful. I keep running into problems getting help because as soon as someone makes a mistake they cover it up and refuse to help me, presumably in case something else goes wrong. Damages for normal life actions are more an American idea and seems to have more to do with becoming rich rather than helping sort out the systems supposedly in place.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Sorry_Susan
    Sorry_Susan Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    As you are a TA and need to work, there should be provision for your son, just like there was provision for health care workers during the lock-down stage. Their children still went to school. What provision is your son's school making for children of care workers?
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,876 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community, your union and HR are correct they have a legal obligation to allow you time off for dependants but this is only a temporary measure in order to find suitable child care also they do not have any requirement to pay you for any time off allowed.

    The fact they are allowing you to take unpaid leave would be classed as reasonable and would not be discriminatory.

    It would only be discrimination if they were treating you differently to other employees I suggest you ask for a copy of the time off for dependants policy and this should clarify their procedures
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • Cressida
    Cressida Member Posts: 945 Pioneering
    edited July 2020
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @lallal, how are things going? I imagine this has been tough!


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