ASD & uniform compliance at work(13 Posts)
I have high functioning autism and a part of that is that I hate the feeling of most clothes. I only like loose clothes and at home generally just wear a nightie or something. I specifically hate wearing trousers.
I work in a hospital which requires me to stick to the uniform policy. I’ve no issue with the tunic but the uniform trousers are so uncomfortable. I’ve tried different sizes etc but they make me irrationally angry and in a really bad mood when I wear them. Sometimes on the verge of tears from how uncomfortable it is.
Recently I started wearing my own plain black trousers instead of the uniform trousers (still wearing the uniform top and shoes etc). Much more comfortable and bearable. Now it’s been a few weeks and I’ve had an email about complying with uniform policy and how I must wear the uniform trousers. I’m teary even reading the email and imagining me having to wear those trousers again.
I’m honestly thinking of quitting my job because the uniform trousers infuriate me so much. AIBU if I explain to my manager about my autism and insist on wearing my own black trousers? Is this weird? Would it be accepted do you think? I know this is a non issue in the grand scheme of things but it’s really a huge problem for me
Not at all unreasonable to explain the situation to your manager. Good luck!
I think maybe than "insisting" on wearing your trousers maybe write down the reasons why you struggle, I know that is hard though.
Say you have tried different sizes etc and none of them worked.
Ask for a reasonable adjustment to be made for you to wear your trousers to work, and ask for this to be written down (in case someone leaves, so you don't have to go through this again). Autism is a protected characteristic so they should be able to make this accommodation for you with no problems but be up front, explain how much of an issue it is for you and all the things you have done to try and get around it, this will show willing.
I wonder if being allowed to wear your own plain black trousers would come under "reasonable adjustments", OP?
I'm NT, but absolutely hate the feel of some fabrics and it would be hell for me to have to wear trousers made of that horrid scratchy polyester stuff that uniform manufacturers so often use.
Just approach your line manager / Occy health to explain. Are the official uniform trousers black? Would they be happy if you wore scrub bottoms in the official colour.
I wondered if it could come under reasonable adjustments too OP, it's worth asking.
Also, fwiw, solidarity here with sensory issues with clothing. I struggle, a lot.
Does your manager know about your autism?
If not, they may think you have just randomly decided not to comply with uniform rules.
You wearing your own trousers could be considered a reasonable adjustment for a disability. It would have been courteous to explain what you were doing (not sure if that was obvious which is why I'm saying it).
I'm sure they would not want you to be distressed and to leave your job, it's just that for now it just looks like you aren't following the rules.
If the manager is not sympathetic speak to HR. Employers do need to make reasonable adjustments.
Hope it goes well.
Some great advice here. If the worse comes to the worst could you wear the uniform trousers over the top of your own so that they're not against your skin?
I’ve tried different sizes etc but they make me irrationally angry and in a really bad mood when I wear them. Sometimes on the verge of tears from how uncomfortable it is.
Im (probably)NT but totally feel you on this. I have such bad sensory issues that I have actually made most of my career choices based on what I did or didnt have to wear to do the job.
As long as you inform them of your autism this may be a reasonable adjustment. An employer can’t be discriminating on the basis of disability if they do not know about the disability.
If you need other reasonable adjustments talk to them as soon as you realise and get agreement. Just not following the dress code/other policies could be misconduct.
The link below is about asking for adjustments
Wearing your own trousers would definitely come under reasonable adjustments. They might need to assess from a H&S perspective (eg if they are very loose they could be a trip hazard or an issue if a patient became violent and could grab loose fabric) but as long as they are safe they should definitely allow it.
I think though, you should have explained the issue and asked before you just started not complying with policy. If you were on my team I’d be happy to make the adjustment but I’d be very annoyed that you had just unilaterally decided to ignore uniform policy without discussion with me.
OP further to what Cheeby said (which seems very reasonable) maybe apologise for not asking first and explain that you found it embarrassing to ask for an adjustment for something you felt you “should” be able to deal with.
My manager doesn’t know about my autism. Would I need proof from my gp if I tell my manager?
It just seems a pathetic thing to go to my manager about, sort of embarrassing, but it seems I will have to do it so I will. I was worried that he would think I’m just trying to make up an excuse, but normally he is very understanding.
I am glad people agree with me too, I feel bad even making a big deal about it! I know it’s such a minor thing really to most other people
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