Escalating a workplace matter?(9 Posts)
I'll try to keep this as short as possible.
I moved Departments within the same company at the end of September. The office environment was quite weird, we wasn't allowed to talk to colleagues or other managers only our specified line manager. She would bring me into 1 to 1 meetings for trivial things and she would tell me to change personal things for example she didn't like my email signature so I had to change it to mimic hers, also one day I was very cold and radiator was on the blink so I kept my jacket on and she kept digging me out all day saying I wouldn't feel the affects properly and my jacket wouldn't serve its purpose when I go outside if o wear it all day before asking me to take it off.
She also likes to work with all lights off and most of the time she also has blinds shut. I have bad vision so I asked for the lights on when she point blank refused on a number of occasions. I had to stop wearing contact lenses and change to my glasses as my contact lenses became way to irritable. This was escalated through senior management and they sent me to occupational health and took 5 bulbs out of the office light (initially there was 8) and it was still to bright for her!!!!!
occupational health was keen for me to get a private opticians report before "incriminating" anyone I have been to the opticians and they have confirmed my eye sight has changed quite drastically in the last 6 months (my last routine check was in June)
I am a member of the Union and would like to escalate this matter further, the job has caused permanent damage to my eye sight and is affecting me emotionally. senior management would like me to drop the matter and hear no more of it but I am not happy to do so.
Is there any advice you could give me? Or tell me which steps to take next? I would be grateful for any help
Thank you in advance
Have you spoken to the health and safety committee about it being a H&S matter - having light in the office is a fundamental necessity due to slip and trip hazards.
Often challenging things on a H&S matter works better than on a personal matter. If things have been adjusted to her then that's fine, but you should be able to work in a separate space to have adequate light to work in.
Can you request to move back into a more effective office environment?
Yes, they took both opinions into considerations and took 3 bulbs out of a 6 bulb light and put in lower voltage bulbs and she still isn't keen. She also pulled me into a 1 to 1 meeting and said she didn't realise I had problems with my eyes as I had never mentioned it (which is a lie we even spoke about why I had to change from contact lenses to glasses) and she said she still won't be turning the light I can turn it on if I really need to in a aggressive tone. I even bought a desk lamp which was to bright for her but once I escalated to senior management they said it's not fair for me to use a lamp they will sort out the issues. Now that they can see it's actually quite serious and I'm really unhappy they asking me to drop it.
In occupational health they did say they would send health and safety down to asses my desk and working environment and it needs be they can ask her to move into a different office but nothing seems to be happening. I also found out this women has been moved departments before as she has Been branded a bully and has had loads of problems with staff she also had to be moved for her own safety.
I am really unhappy with the whole situation and don't think I would be happy to drop it at this point especially knowing she has done permanent damage to my eyes.
There should be a minimum light level in a work place which can be measured by a light meter. 300 lux rings a bell but I'm sure it's available somewhere on the Internet to check.
Actually 300 is quite bright so if she has had 5 of the 8 bulbs taken out this must have reduced the light levels considerably.
IF she has a medical condition your employers must make reasonable adjustments for her but those should not have a negative affect on other workers is yourself. However if this is just a preference to work in dark conditions she has no rights at to impose them on her colleagues if it is to their detriment .
Also poor lighting may also cause slip or trip hazards to arise if you can't see in the dim lighting.
If you have poor eyesight which is not helped by poor lighting then you may have more rights to have work place adjustments than her if your condition is supported by medical /opticians evidence.
That's is madness. I know there's some give and take in offices the heat and light but this just seems ott.
Document every interaction, email, conversation.
Your manager hasn't got a clue how to work effectively with others. If she's so precious about her own working environment she needs a small office of her own where she can sit freezing her knockers off in stygian darkness if she chooses without impacting on others.
Give ACAS and your union a call, summarise what's happened so far and ask for advice about next steps. Your employer should have a grievance procedure for you to follow to get all of this onto an official footing - no more giving your management any wriggle room about what's agreed, what course of action should be followed and whether or not any of it should be dropped.
Oh, and of course senior management would like you to stop talking about it - all situations are easier to handle if everyone just pretends nothing's wrong
Thank you guys..
I have offered to compromise with her and I bought a lamp etc nothing made her happy though unless the lights was off.
I have a follow up with occupational health because I have proved that it has dramatically damaged my eyes. I will ring my union rep tonight to see if I could take this further. I feel vulnerable and unsafe at work and that's not ok with me, in all my years of working I've never had any issues with anyone.
Can you raise a grievance against her? Is there any way you can take a light reading in the office?
If you can other prove that the lighting has damaged your eyes then you may have grounds for a Personal injury claim against your employer.
In general I'm not a fan of these type of claims but your eyesight is precious and your employers refusal to accommodate your needs/ them falling over to meet her wants, is something that may have a serious long term impact on you inside and outside of work.
Your employers are stupid if they continue to ignore you.
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