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Workplace discrimination

GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
Okay, brief history. I work for a local authority, admin based, am good at my job and have 14 years continuous service. Not in Union. 18 months ago I dropped my hours from 37 per week to 19 per week.

I have chronic and significant osteo arthritis in both knees (one replaced; second due in next 18 months); left ankle (needs fusing this year) and lumbar spine together with spinal disc damage.

I am registered disabled and this is recorded at work. I have reasonable adjustments in place and equipment so that I can do my job. We are having an office move very soon and this means my team going up a floor. Herein lies the problem. At the moment, if we have a fire drill I have a step free route out in my PEEP (personal emergency evacuation plan), once we move this goes.

I've been placed in the situation of Hobson's choice of agree to go down stairs against medical advice (and which will cause me a lot of pain) or lose my job. I cannot afford (financially or psychologically) to lose my job. Therefore I have had to say that once or twice a year when we have fire drills I will go down from the second to the first floor using the stairs slowly,and then re-join my current step free route.

This is discrimination but I am between a rock and a hard place. My plan - if after a fire drill I am (as I expect to be) in agony, I will go home sick for the rest of the day. I've told them I'll be slow getting down the stairs but I honestly don't think they know how slow I'll be.

I need to be very mindful of my health and safety at work and also that of my colleagues. However, when the move upstairs was planned, the building management knew of my situation as I've been in that building since 2007.

I am due to agree shortly to an ankle fusion. This will mean my being non weight bearing for 4-6 weeks and the same time again partial weight bearing. I'll now have to ask to see Occupational Health before I can return to work as I cannot see any way that my line management will support me going back partial weight bearing due to the fire drill issue. This seems so unfair that I'll then have 12 weeks on my sick record for this year, rather than the 6 weeks that I'll actually need.

I'm not expecting any magical resolutions but I just needed to 'vent' how frustrated, annoyed and irritated I am about this. As I said to my line manager - I didn't ask to have osteo arthritis - it 'chose' me. I don't enjoy having OA; it's certainly not fun.

Thank you for reading.

GraceB
Turn a negative into a positive!

Comments

  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have to go down several flights of stairs in the event of a fire alarm, one very important thing I have as part of my risk assessment is that I wait until the children have exited and then go down escorted by a member of staff in case I have a fall.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh, don't the healthy get on one's wick every now and again? :roll: When things were very bad with me I found it easier to descend stairs backwards because my weight was then leaning forwards towards the stairs, rather than away from them. I still did them like a small child (better leg down, other leg joins) but I felt more secure in myself which led to more confidence in my ability to cope. Could you have a quiet practise of this somewhere? I agree it's not an ideal solution, and having been self-employed I have no experience of fitting in with office diktats but it might provide an easier solution for you to reach your preferred route. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your kind replies.
    We move next week and I am dreading it. I have to use client files all the time. My allocated desk is one end of our area, files - yes, you guessed - are right at the other end! I've asked for a trolley to be purchased so that I can get files to my desk. No common sense, that's the problem!
    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Common sense varies from person to person (and gender to gender, supermarket layouts prove that). Those who don't have to think about efficiency, effort and layout don't do so because they don't need to. We're the tricky ones, the 'un-necessary' prickly thorns in their very healthy sides.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. TWERPS. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • LadybrownLadybrown Posts: 130
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    How frustrating for you! Can't occupational health help with this sort of thing? Maybe it'd be worth joining the union...

    People who are lucky enough to avoid good old arthur can really lack understanding sometimes. :-(

    I guess you'll just have to work more slowly if they want you to walk the length of the office to get files!
  • GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your kind thoughts and advice ladies.

    First day over. Usual chaos that you'd expect following any move.

    What I wasn't expecting was that there were no disabled toilet facilities for me to use. Yes, really! :!: The solution from the building management? I leave my desk, use the lift, go down to the floor where I was before, go through what is now a building site - walking through a taped off "avenue" through the disruption - to the disabled toilet I used before. Then I reverse this faff to get back to my desk. This will continue until the disabled toilet is in place. In the words of Victor Meldrew "I do not believe it!". This will be the case all this week - but thankfully I only work Mon, Tues all day and then Weds mornings.

    I can no longer see the printers so I have ended up in a queue several times today waiting for printing. I've had to get files and folders into a cupboard next to my desk and whilst I have had some help from colleagues this has taken a toll on me. My left ankle (for which I am due to discuss a fusion with a consultant on Wednesday this week) blew up like a barrage balloon this afternoon. So much so, I struggled to keep my shoe on.

    So, I left early having sent myself home sick. I have spent most of the evening with a frozen peas ice-pack on my ankle and the swelling has gone down a fair bit but it's still up compared to what it was like yesterday.

    I've taken a photo with my phone to show consultant Wednesday (and my line manager when she is back in the office tomorrow).

    My plan for tomorrow is to stay at my desk, moving only when my back dictates that I need to. I haven't even attempted to access any of the client files, nor will I do so until my filing trolley is in the office.

    Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • GraceBGraceB Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'd love to say my disabled loo was ready Tuesday as Monday I was told this would happen. Sadly this wasn't the case, I was told 8.30am Wednesday without fail. Each trek to the loo was taking 15-20 minutes for me to get there and back. I can't describe the pain I was in.

    By the time I got to Wednesday morning loo still not ready and this was getting beyond a joke for me. By that time the disabled toilet on the floor below had also been taken out! I ended up throwing the builder out of the 90% finished disabled loo on my floor, and used it regardless.

    I was so frustrated I was in tears in the office and said I want to register a complaint about this. I explained I thought having an accessible toilet wasn't really too much to expect and it was all getting too much.

    By 11.30am management had decided I couldn't stay in the office so they sent me home. I have no intention of making that time up as they sent me home, despite my protesting that by that time I only had just over an hour to work. Awful week, just awful and so un-necessary.

    I've been told the disabled loo will be ready on Monday as it was being steam cleaned today.

    Was I really expecting too much? Is it me?

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
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