Advice

masaka
masaka Member Posts: 47
Hello,

I have just returned to work as a teacher after having a revision of my left hip replacement. The OA is now present in my right hip as well. The hip problems are due to difficulties from birth. In addition I have rheumatoid arthritis as a separate condition. I get the usual constant pain that roams around. My hands play up quite a lot and I also suffer quite badly with fatigue.

I am finding that my Head thinks that because I have now had the operation everything is okay and I am back to full health.

She told me the other day that she thought my electric wheelchair was only a temporary measure, in spite of the occupational therapist report recomending its use to help me getting round the site and when I need to carry things like my laptop about.

She has also moved her office from down stairs to an upstairs location which is totally inaccessible to a wheelchair user. She offers to have our meetings downstairs, but that makes me feel even more of a nuisance. Most times I can manage but it annoys me that I am expected to manage. It is hard when I am tired. Can people make changes now that make life harder for people with disabilities?

I am getting very fed up with the whole thing, but it is getting harder and harder to fight when she is making it quite plain that she was rather I wasn't there.

Any bright ideas for the way forward? I have called my union for advice. I don't want to give up work but neither do I want to continue like this.

Thanks,

Comments

  • nearlybionic
    nearlybionic Member Posts: 2,204
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi
    I`m sorry you are having such a bad time at work. There will be people who have better knowledge than me on here, but I think you have done the right thing by contacting you union for advice and support. Also, I would think you will be covered by the DDA, working in a school, so check out the DWP website and look that up for information too.
    You should do what is right for you re use of the wheelchair and not be bullied into doing things which could be detrimental to your health.
    Good luck
    NB
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What a very unsympathetic person your Head sounds. Even if you are'nt covered by the Disability act I'm sure they can't get away with making your life so difficult. Hopefully your union will get on your side and get back to you soon r.e. what to do about this. Meanwhile try to hang in there and hopefully someone will help here to give you some direction/advice.
    good luck rita
  • markc1
    markc1 Member Posts: 253
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Masaka,it makes me really angry when employees get treated like this,make sure you stand your ground.
    The meetings you have should be held downstairs for your benefit,this is exactly how i started to get treated.Its as you say,they want you to feel un comfortable and not wanted.Well don't stand for it,you've got rights and want to work,let them make adjustments for you.

    Good luck
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  • livinglegend
    livinglegend Member Posts: 1,425
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't think your Head would move her office upstairs just for you to feel put upon. That is her choice. If there is no wheelchair access to her office then she runs up and down to see you or gets a lift put in under the terms of the DDA. Always bear in mind that you don't struggle upstairs as this says that you don't really need a wheelchair.

    What you could do is write a letter explaining that you are likely to use a wheelchair on a permanent basis and ask what alterations to accommodate your disability they could make. Keep it simple and just ask the question. Let her make suggestions on any help she thinks you need, then accept or reject and explain why. Making it a permanent basis clarifies the situation and gives her a lever to claim funding. Take your union rep to any meeting to discuss things and get any agreement or comments in writing.

    If you have to attend a meeting downstairs then so be it, take it as your right and if anyone complains then tell them to stop bullying you. What do disabled students do?

    Joseph 8)
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  • masaka
    masaka Member Posts: 47
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,

    I don't think the move has happened just to annoy me. I think it is more that it reflects that she really does not understand, or want to understand disability issues.

    I don't need to use wheelchair all of the time. It has been provided to help me get about the site when I am suffering from fatigue and when I need to carry things like a laptop or books and files about. My hands are often dodgy and when I am fatigued I drop things a lot and get clumsy. I also find static standing almost impossible.

    I have been given a lunchtime duty which involves being outside. In the winter this is really going to help with both of the variants of arthritis I suffer from.

    It is more the lack of thought that aggravates me. When I got back to work after my op and was having a meeting she commented on the fact I was moving about in the chair a lot. The fact the chair was several inches too low for me seemed to escape her, in spite of the fact the OT organised a higher and more supportive office chair for me. It is lots of little niggly things that are geeting me down. With a bit of support I could manage more easily, with out it, it is just becoming a daily battle that I am running out of energy to fight.

    I have got RA, plus OA starting in my right hip, and have just had a left hip revision due to congenital hip problems. The whole of my left side is a bit wonky. I have always worked and want to continue to do so, but I need some support now, and it isn't forthcoming or I have to battle for it.

    It gets wearing and grinds you down. I am covered by the DDA, but it seems that a lot of lipservice is paid to it, rather than doing anything positive.

    Thanks,

    Teresa
    I don't think your Head would move her office upstairs just for you to feel put upon. That is her choice. If there is no wheelchair access to her office then she runs up and down to see you or gets a lift put in under the terms of the DDA. Always bear in mind that you don't struggle upstairs as this says that you don't really need a wheelchair.

    What you could do is write a letter explaining that you are likely to use a wheelchair on a permanent basis and ask what alterations to accommodate your disability they could make. Keep it simple and just ask the question. Let her make suggestions on any help she thinks you need, then accept or reject and explain why. Making it a permanent basis clarifies the situation and gives her a lever to claim funding. Take your union rep to any meeting to discuss things and get any agreement or comments in writing.

    If you have to attend a meeting downstairs then so be it, take it as your right and if anyone complains then tell them to stop bullying you. What do disabled students do?

    Joseph 8)
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Teresa, What a rotten time you are having!! As your condition comes under DDA, your employer is obliged to make adjustments for you NOT make your life more difficult!
    There is another action you can take and that is to contact your local jobcentre plus and ask for an Access to Work Assessment. They will chat this through with you on the phone and then send you out the application for you to sign...they do all the form filling from the info you give them on the phone. Be ready to tell them how your disability affects you in the workplace and whether or not you have any ideas how things could be improved. An assessor will be appointed who will meet with you and assess your needs & make recommendations to your employer...your head t cannot ignore that! From the time an assessor is appointed s/he has ten days to complete the assessment so it is a very quick process. It is well worth doing. Good luck! Dorcas