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employment - Good and bad

JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
edited May 4 in Work and employment
Hi everyone, I am currently trying to help people with disabilities start, or go back to work. As someone who is partially sighted and recently gone back to work, I know this can be extremely daunting and I would like to help. In order for that to happen, I need to know what the problems are. Is it that people are being overlooked because of their disability? are people not applying because they are concerned? Are people struggling to think of what they can do? Are employers the problem? Any stories you have on employment and or what you think the issues are, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,088

    Scope community team

    Hi @JessH :) Welcome to the community, and thanks for posting. 

    Am I right in thinking that you won't be collecting or storing any data (e.g. usernames) from any members who may respond? Would any responses be anonymised? 

    Also, just to make you aware, I've moved your post into our employment category :)
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

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  • JessH
    JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi Tori, thank you for the welcome. 

    No data will be stored or used. I just want to find out why unemployment is high with people with disabilities and how I can help. I currently work for a company whom I’m writing a programme for to help people with disabilities gain experience in a number of industries. We want to know if we are on the right path or if there is something else we could be doing to help. Anyone’s story of employment, from CV writing to interviewing would be hugely helpful. 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Listener
    edited June 8
    That would depend on what disability the person has. As in what?

    To talk generally, in my experience people tend to look at the clinical model of disability as in a doctor diagnosing someone and quantifying their skills and impairments to find what they can and can't do and then determining how severe it is, by using medical terms. But they fail to consider the social model of disability where even if a person can appear normal or mildly disabled from technically having a disability, where even if a person can live independently and can communicate and move around effectively, they can still be considered unsuitable or be discriminated against for certain jobs based on their disability. Those things tend to not be considered in the first place to even cross people's mind when people say things like "you look normal", "you don't have a real disability" or "there's nothing really wrong with you".
  • cupcake88
    cupcake88 Member Posts: 1,002 Pioneering
    Hi there this is such a good topic . I don’t currently work I’m not able to but I would always mention in my interview that I have different mental illnesses and I’m on anti pychotic medication as they come with side effects . People I know who have mental illness feel there turned down soon as they mention they have a mental illness . 

    Before my mental health got worse I had a job and I stated in the interview all my mental illnesses ocd , anxiety and ptsd pychosis. I also explained bout reasonable adjustments they could make for me They were fine with it they hired me I was coming home in tears each shift because I was being bullied for having a disability staff and management I went to the owner bout it sent her a email .

    And her response I was not  expecting she basically said she had no time for staff with mental illnesses and how mental illness isn’t real just a horrible email so I didn’t return.

    i started tribunal proceedings against them and it didn’t go as far as court they settled before I didn’t just do it for myself I did it for all disabled people it was really hard applying to take them to tribunal and stressful but I knew I had to stand up to these bullies and hopefully they won’t treat people like that again 

    when I’m ready to go back to a job I will be letting them know bout my mental illnesses and that I have a nurse . 
  • JessH
    JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi cupcake88, thank you for telling your story. I’m so sorry you have been through such a difficult time. Your story is really helpful, so thank you for sharing it. 

    I am currently doing presentations and workshops to a number of employers about disability. My hope is to educate them about hiring someone with a disability and how to deal with certain situations. The way the owner dealt with yours was completely unacceptable and wrong. You should’ve been given support. I know you can’t change everyone’s opinions or who they are, but hopefully, educating more businesses will help. 

    Thank you again, I really do appreciate it  x
  • JessH
    JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Thank you innocent21. I guess it is about education and informing companies on how they should handle situations and remind them that not all disabilities are seen.Your response has helped us to know what to educate on. 

    I really appreciate your reply. It is such a big help x
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 4,257 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 17
    I have an invisible disability and to be honest I wouldn’t declare it to a prospective employer unless I thought it would endanger somebody, including myself. I say that only because employers and people generally do tend to be very negative about such things, not wanting what they see as an added burden of responsibility. 

    This is is my personal opinion, I wouldn’t advocate it to anyone else.
  • JessH
    JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi leeCal, I think a lot of people feel the same. I have spoken to a few companies who actually didn’t realise they would need to make adjustments. 

    Would you be concerned that  if you told your employer about your disability they would not hire you, or if they did, then would make your life difficult? x
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 4,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, I’d be concerned that they wouldn’t hire me mostly.
  • innocent21
    innocent21 Posts: 35 Connected
    edited June 17
    To talk about my experience, I have bipolar, anxiety, autism and dyspraxia.

    Because of this I'm unable to drive so I'll be unable to work in any job that requires a car. This wouldn't hold me back with my plans, because I don't want to work in the care industry, as a handyman, police, emergency services and because employers have never asked me to go to work before 7am. In some instances it's cheaper to buy a car and drive to work before 7am than to catch an uber or taxi every day for work.

    But I can say what has hindered me in the hiring process. Part of my autism means that I have blunted affect so my face isn't very expressive. Also I cannot voluntarily change the expression on my face. In the service industry workers are expected to look amused (not bored) and smile at the customers to gain rapport. As I'm unable to do this I wouldn't get hired for such jobs.

    When I had a work trial at a high street retailer, I was rejected after two weeks and they said I looked bored, didn't get rapport from the customers and they made up a lie that I didn't do all the work as I was given which is completely false, so they tried to spin a "cultural fit" reason into a "gross negligence" reason. They said I lacked enthusiasm. This proves that they wasn't 100% honest and knew more than they were letting on. Also they said I looked the most interested or happy is when we were labelling the products in the store with price tags at the end of the two weeks, but that was only because I hadn't done it before and it was the first time, so they said they struggled to see how I could stay enthusiastic to do the same job full time (5 days a week, 40 hours a week), and have the same enthusiasm for 5 or 10 years.

    So finally they said they wouldn't consider me, so as I was already rejected, I thought I might as well say I'm autistic which is why I have blunted affect and inability to voluntarily change facial expression. They asked me why I didn't say that in the beginning, and I said it's because they might discriminate.

    They then said that they don't discriminate because they hired someone with dyslexia who handles money at the till (I think they meant dyscalculia). This is from a company that knows that if they admit to discriminating, they can be sued for breaking the Equality Act 2010 and lose money, reputation, jobs and policies, which the company is so risk averse against being sued, that they have a policy against describing suspicious people and shoplifters as black, to avoid being sued for discrimination on the grounds of perpetuating a negative racial stereotype. The company doesn't give out of date food to the general public for free to poverty stricken people any more as it was an attack vector for being sued, so now it all goes to the Fareshare charity. The manager then flip flopped to go from "looking bored and not having rapport" to "the job isn't challenging enough for you. You need something intellectually stimulating" to move the angle from "what I failed to do" to "what the job description fails to have".

    Under British law this would be classed as "indirect discrimination" and would be illegal. The manager and his two associates in the room would be aware of this given they showed us a corporate presentation and quiz on discrimination so that us staff don't discriminate against customers.

    The manager then finished by saying "Retail is not for you. You should work in something else instead."

    Automation, artificial intelligence and globalisation has made most of the jobs that existed 100 years ago no longer exist any more. So most jobs nowadays in the UK are either service industry or dealing with intellectual property. With automation lots of jobs have been replaced by machines and computers, like self serve checkouts and in factories. With artificial intelligence a scientist can run hundreds of servers with a click of a button to simulate how a drug will affect millions of people with varying DNA types, so work that would take years for people to do themselves can now take one month. With globalisation British factories cannot compete with foreign competitors where it's cheaper for products to be made abroad, and if a greedy CEO didn't outsource, they failed anyway because they were no longer competitive.

  • JessH
    JessH Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Thank you innocent21 for sharing your story. Sounds like you have had to face some difficult situations. 

    I completely understand your concerns on telling employers you have disabilities because of discrimination. I guess if more companies were registered as being disability confident, then people would feel like they have more opportunities and wouldn’t be as concerned. Unfortunately, not all companies are registered though. 

    I think it is clear that people with disabilities should be able to feel more confident and be open about telling employers they have a disability, but employers make it difficult for them to do that. They should also not dismiss someone just because of their disability. They should see them as a person, an individual  and consider everything about them. They are missing out on such great talent. 

    I know so many companies are concerned about legal action if they do something wrong, but I just think if they are diverse and inclusive and treat everyone fairly and with support, then there won’t be a problem! 

    Thank you for sharing how things have been for you, it really helps x


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