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Disability discrimination during covid pandemic

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TG0601
TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
edited May 2021 in Work and employment
Hi everyone, I’m just wondering if anyone else has suffered disability discrimination in the workplace during then covid pandemic? I had to shield as I’m critically vulnerable, so was furloughed from work. I asked if I could work from home instead. They said home working wasn’t available, however it was. When I asked again to work from home as my colleagues were able to, I was told my absence recorded was higher than there’s so I couldn’t. My absence was due to shielding & disability absence. My condition makes me incapacitated, unable to walk & drive in flare ups. I asked for home working every time I was off sick but was refused. They also denied me car parking space as they were only for senior staff with no disabled parking either. I have a tribunal pending at the end of the year. Have any of you been refused home working also?
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Comments

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi and welcome 

    I have heard of others whi gave been refused home working 

    Did you put in an official complaint to your employer ? If so did they give reasons why 

    Did you put in a request for reasonable adjustments as outlined in the equality act 

    Have you asked to be referred to oh for a workplace assessment ? 

    These are all actions that could have possibly brought about a solution  for you 

    As you have put in a tribunal claim are you getting any support with this 

    Have you been in touch with ACAS for advice 

    Just few things for you to consider 

    Hope it all works out for you 
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    Yes I followed all procedures re grievance, appeal & ACAS. Their reason was my absence record was too high. All of my absences were disability related so I’ve maintained that’s disability discrimination. I am with a union & my union solicitors are supporting me. They also didn’t pass my probation due to disability absence & had me on probation for 2 years 8 months! I’ve a list as long a story my arm of incidents of discrimination & failure to make reasonable adjustments. They refused to do an individual risk assessment when I returned from shielding, so my union told me not to go back into the office until I was safe. They refused. It’s been so stressful.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    I can imagine how stressful it has been and good for for fighting for your rights 

    Glad you have some support to fight your case 

    Would be interesting to know what the outcome is 

    Is it a large company? 

    I would predict an out of court settlement 
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    Yes it’s a big concern. We have approx 500 staff in our office alone. There’s more in the uk. Going from shielding alone for nearly 6 months to the next day walking into an office as big as that, where social distancing wasn’t being adhered to by most, was totally overwhelming. I was absolutely panic stricken. I was coughed over, sneezed over, I had 5 different desks in 4 days, my disability chair & equipment disappeared & I was removed & replaced from my team whilst shielding. It’s definitely done my mental & physical health a lot of damage. 
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,507 Disability Gamechanger
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    That does all sound very stressful @TG0601, so I'm sorry you've had to go through it. 

    Have you been able to access any mental health support throughout this process? 
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  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    Thank you Tori. Yes I have, via the NHS. It never fails to amaze me how difficult & discriminatory some employers are. My employers solicitors are maintaining they have done nothing wrong & it was proportionate. I’m hoping & praying then tribunal give me justice 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    I am hoping and praying you find justice too, it never ceases to amaze how insensitive employers can be to disability. I am also going down the route of an Employment Tribunal for Disability Discrimination which was pretty blatant and quite shocking. Good luck though with your case.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,507 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm glad you're accessing some NHS therapy @TG0601. How have things been recently? 
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  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    Hi @shellbell20 I’m so sorry to hear you have gone through something similar. Such a shame that in this day & age this happens. How far are you down the tribunal route? I’ve got a judicial hearing early June. My solicitor said it’s for both sides to discuss settlement & to try to get it sorted before the main hearing in October. I’ll just have to see how it goes. Have you got representation? I’m sure we can support each other ?
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    Hi @Tori_Scope. Thank you for asking how things are going. I’ve got a judicial hearing early June. My solicitor said it’s for both sides to discuss settlement & to try to get it sorted before the main hearing in October. I’m not sure my employers will back down as they are saying they have done nothing wrong & it was all proportionate. It definitely wasn’t. I can see it going all the way to the main hearing in October. If anyone else is going through something similar I’ll be happy to try to support them too ?
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    TG0601 said:
    Hi @shellbell20 I’m so sorry to hear you have gone through something similar. Such a shame that in this day & age this happens. How far are you down the tribunal route? I’ve got a judicial hearing early June. My solicitor said it’s for both sides to discuss settlement & to try to get it sorted before the main hearing in October. I’ll just have to see how it goes. Have you got representation? I’m sure we can support each other ?
    I got sacked yesterday, although I had been in touch with Acas before that date as the incidents started happening a few weeks ago.  I sent my companies an email asking for Reasonable Adjustments, I worked for an agency on a contract for a bank,  they said no and then sacked me and told me to look for a job more suitable. So I have to take two companies to court. Luckily they sent their response via email as I couldn't talk to them on the phone with my anxiety.

    I rang Acas today with the new development and they said send them a letter to reconsider their decision about reasonable adjustments,  however I can't do that as I know the answer I shall get and I don't even really want to talk to them nor do I want to go  through Early Conciliation either as I am tired of their insults about my Mental Health and the attitude of tough luck, I keep getting.

    I now need to fill the forms in for ET, however I don't have any legal representation so I am quite worried about it all to be honest, taking on two major companies and one being a bank. It would be lovely if we could help each other through this and pass on any information we find out. 
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    @shellbell20 aww no! I’m so sorry to hear all of this. Just awful. Did ACAS give you any information on free legal organisations that can help you? They gave me the tel number & email of my local legal advice centre. You’ll have one near you too. Ring ACAS on Monday & ask them for free legal advice organisations. They should be able to help you fill out your ET1. My union did all of mine fortunately. Make sure you get as much information in your ET1 form but make it bullet pointed & in chronological order. & reference any evidence that you have. In order to go through to a tribunal you have to follow grievance procedures otherwise a tribunal might not consider your case. So even though I know you don’t want to go back, & rightly so, write a letter to both companies outlining your side of events. You have to go this within 3 months less 1 day of the incidents happening. If they invite you to a grievance hearing have a representative with you as your witness. Ask ACAS advice on what to say at the grievance. It’s just a procedure & shows a tribunal you’ve done everything properly. If you were to win a tribunal case the tribunal can deduct compensation for not following procedures. I have been on long term sick leave since my issues so I know how you feel. Are you on sick now with stress? 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    I've already tried to raise a grievance, but both sides blocked me. One said I had to go to the agency the agency said why do you need to raise a grievance as we've already discussed it? I have spoken to ACAS and mentioned this and they said I don't have to send a letter of complaint outlining that they didn't put it in place for me any reasonable adjustments but like you said it can affect your claim. I have tried to ring the Equality people for the past couple of days but I keep getting we don't have enough agents please try later. 

    I do have a legal centre near me, I can only get half an hour appointment with them as they don't have the resources to be there through it all. I have my appointment next Friday, so I am holding off until I get that advise before proceeding with the claim.  And yes I was off work with stress and anxiety when they sacked me. I don't have an union I am afraid, so I guess I am going to have to go most of it alone.
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    That’s good that you tried to raise a grievance but were blocked. It shows a tribunal that you tried. Do you have their response blocking you in emails? That would be great evidence if so. If you can, ask if you can send evidence & your points of your case to the legal advice centre do they have the heads up on everything before your appointment next week. It’s good to hold off on your ET1 form until you’ve had legal advice. Very wise. You still have 3 months less 1 day to submit your ET1 so there’s no rush yet. How long was you working for the agency/bank? What reasonable adjustments did you ask them to make? 
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    sorry @shellbell20 I forgot to add you in to my above response x
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    @TG0601 No I wasn't blocked via email. I spoke to my TL on Skype and then subsequently to the agency via phone about taking the matter further to an email I had sent complaining about it all. I had already written an email of a complaint when it first happened and not only did I do that I forwarded it to both parties and then sent it to someone very senior.  Then I did a request for reasonable adjustments that was denied and they sacked me for asking.

    So I guess I have done it in reverse order.  The requests were simple ones, like asking for one to one training like someone else with disability gets, having the hold time longer whilst I was still in training, which my manager had already said, don't worry about the hold time we can appeal it and the final thing was the new law they plucked out of thin air about how many calls we suddenly had left.  I found out from a colleague today it's now either been extended or axed. So each thing I requested was doable and I have evidence to prove it for two out of the three requests I asked for.  

    When looking on here about reasonable adjustments there is a paper that someone has shared which states categorically that if you sack someone for asking for reasonable adjustments and they sack you then that is victimization.

    The Law Centre took all the notes from me yesterday, the person who took these notes was quite shocked of how blasé they have been  regarding the whole matter. 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    @TG0601 I found this on Scopes website which talks about discrimination at work.  I feel this is my case really.  

    Victimisation – s27 This concept is the same in respect of all the protected characteristics. Essentially it occurs when a worker is punished or treated differently as a result of complaining about disability discrimination or complaining that the employer has not made reasonable adjustments. For example, a worker raises a grievance about disability discrimination and is dismissed as a result. It does not matter whether the worker raised the issue formally or informally, in a grievance or in a tribunal case, on his/her own behalf or on behalf of a colleague who is disabled. The employer has a defence if the worker’s allegation was false and made in bad fai
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    @shellbell20  Yes I’ve got victimisation & harassment cases as well as my disability discrimination case against my employer. It seems (without knowing the details of your issues) that you have a case for disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustment & victimisation. Did they know you had a health issue? 
  • TG0601
    TG0601 Community member Posts: 51 Connected
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    @shellbell20 it seems your requests were totally reasonable. Both companies will try to show your reasonable adjustment request weren’t linked to a disability. So you’ll have to show that they were directly linked. So you’ll have to show a comparator, someone else who has a disability like yours where reasonable adjustments were approved. Was the extra hold time needed to help with your disability also? & the calls? 
  • shellbell20
    shellbell20 Community member Posts: 260 Pioneering
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    @TG0601 I think my requests were reasonable. I suffer from severe anxiety and to give me targets that are unachievable was too much for me. I broke down at my desk for four hours sobbing my heart out. Other people coped much better as they don't have a disability. It's a long story but these calls were impossible for a reason, they wanted me to take them and if I got a transfer call it would knock a call down from the ones I had left.

     Only transfer calls aren't counted towards accreditation, meaning if I got 8 transfer calls which can happen, I would be sacked for not getting the right calls. They set us up to fail.

    I have difficulty with concentration levels due to my anxiety and depression. I was having difficulty reading a few different texts due to this, so was a person with dyslexia only they were given one on one coaching. I was given nothing. I also was so scared that I couldn't do anything, I just froze. 

    As for linked to disability, they blatantly told me to get another job suitable to my needs and said with my mental health condition was it the right job for me as I would be talking to people who were vulnerable and depressed. I couldn't believe my ears to be honest.
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