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.
Turn a negative into a positive!