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Is this discrimination?

(54 Posts)
Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 12:55:01

I have a chronic health condition recognised under the equality act. My boss has arranged the team Christmas lunch in a location that I cannot access due to travel restrictions placed on me by HR following an occupational health assessment.
Is this discrimination?

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 12:58:37

Can you travel with someone else or can HR waive the restrictions for that specific event. I'd discuss the options with my manager

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 13:08:14

I have discussed options and it's not possible for me to travel to the event. The restriction placed by HR is entirely in my interest and I have no issue with that. My issue is the location that has been chosen since it is not local to anyone in my team but has been chosen to allow us to combine the event with another team (all of whom could travel to a more convenient location).
It's a fifty-fifty split by the way - whichever location is chosen half the attendees would have to travel.

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 13:09:47

Just thinking for example if I were a wheelchair user then they wouldn't choose a location that was inaccessible. But it seems to be ok because I have an invisible disability.

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 13:11:55

What adjustments are they prepared to make to enable you to attend?
Is it in working hours?
Is it arranged by the company or one of the employees?

CotswoldStrife Wed 11-Oct-17 13:15:08

Is it in another office? That you would be expected to work in as part of your job if HR hadn't put the travel restriction on?

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 13:20:13

2014newme - My manager has arranged it. There will be a team meeting followed by Christmas lunch out. I've been told I can dial in for the team meeting and not attend the lunch. Yes it is in working hours.

Cotswold - the meeting part is in another office but no, I would not be expected to work there as part of my normal job.

blueskyinmarch Wed 11-Oct-17 13:22:54

Are you a member of a union who could give you advice?

CotswoldStrife Wed 11-Oct-17 13:23:39

I'm assuming by 'restriction' you mean that you only have to work in one office, and not travel for business because that's all I can think that HR meant by that.

Does the Christmas meal alternate between your location and the one proposed for this year? Where has it been in the past?

2014newme Wed 11-Oct-17 13:23:40

Yes it's discrimination then. And very thoughtless

Bourdic Wed 11-Oct-17 13:25:22

What a really rotten thing to do - I’d be devastated. Are any of your colleagues aware? Would they complain?

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 13:30:32

The travel restriction is slightly more complicated than that but yes it's along those lines.
Yes one of my team members is aware as my manager raised it in front of her yesterday and was pushing me about why I couldn't attend which was very unprofessional in my opinion. I raised it with my manager today and she has apologised for lack of sensitivity but she's still going ahead with the location.
I don't really want to kick up a fuss about it but I do wonder if I should log it with HR in case it becomes part of a pattern of behaviour.

LadyLapsang Wed 11-Oct-17 18:00:15

With team members on more than one site, it's possible that others also have disabilities, health problems or caring responsibilities which mean they might not be able to attend if the event is held on your site. We tend to alternate.

chanie44 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:43:00

I recommend taking a step back and considering why the restrictions were put in place and whether these are relevant for the purposes of the event.

A restriction on you attending a site may be from the context of regular travel and working there in your normal role, but not necessarily for the purposes of a one off event for the purposes of team building and a xmas lunch. In those circumstances OH may make different recommendations.

Bourdic Wed 11-Oct-17 19:16:11

But how hard can it be to find an accessible place for Xmas lunch? There is no excuse and I expect the truth is that no one even considered it - that’s what’s meant by institutionalised disabilism. , it’s always there. Yes log it - my guess is that HR might be a bit taken aback as they could see where this behaviour repeated might end

GlitterGlue Wed 11-Oct-17 19:21:42

I'm a bit confused. Are you actually unable to travel to the location, or have hr said you're not allowed to travel?

YouCantArgueWithStupid Wed 11-Oct-17 19:23:31

Why have OH said you can’t travel to this place?

daisychain01 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:52:34

Personally I wouldn’t take it further on this occasion. It’s a shame but how likely is it to reduce your standing in the team or put you at a serious disadvantage? I’d be more aggrieved about being excluded from training or a work event that impeded you from doing your job.

Making an issue about this year’s Christmas meal is probably not going to be in your best interests. Why not get everyone to go up to her in the evening and ask where’s Nacknick? Make her feel really shitty (evil cackle)

If you find other discriminatory things creeping in you can always include the Christmas meal as a additional example (rather than being an isolated incident)

Bourdic Wed 11-Oct-17 20:49:32

I can’t express how angry your post makes me feel as a person with disabilities - just let the fuckers get away with it and if in the future the OP mentions the Xmas lunch it will be oh you didn’t mention it at the time do how come you are mentioning it now? We just wouldn’t want able bodied people to be made to feel uncomfortable or have to face their disabilism would we?

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 20:51:19

Ladylapsang, no there aren't any others who have disabilities etc and in fact all the people in my immediate team are based out of the same office as me so will have to travel to the other location.. The team that we are joining up with are predominantly based at the other office and it has been deemed by my manager to be a good idea to have a joint lunch. Seems a shame to be prioritising their attendance over mine when I am a direct report and they aren't.

Chanie44, Glitterglue, stupid, the travel restriction is a reasonable adjustment that has been agreed as a result of my health condition. It's the distance and length of travel time that is an issue. I could give more details that would make it clearer but I'd prefer not to.

Bourdic, a compromise was suggested which was to meet at an office location half-way between the two which would have been possible. But for some reason that's been ruled out now.

Daisy, I'm inclined to agree with you that this isn't the issue to die in a ditch over, but will definitely record the sequence of events in case I need it in future.

Thanks everyone, good to have some other views on it.

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 20:55:14

Cross-post with Bourdic, I am wondering whether I should be more angry about this. Like I said before I can't imagine someone in a wheelchair being excluded in this way.

I think more than anything I'd like to find a non-inflammatory way to remind her that I am protected by the equality act and that this is discriminatory, but equally I have to work with this person and she does have a tendency to blow hot and cold. Any ideas anyone has would be really welcome.

GlitterGlue Wed 11-Oct-17 21:05:29

Right, so you haven't been banned from travelling by hr, it's that they've said that you don't have to travel that far.

Is there no possibility that you could travel there as a one off? Could someone from the team drive you, if that would help?

Nacknick Wed 11-Oct-17 21:21:23

Glitterglue, I don't really know how to make it clearer without disclosing more than I want but it's a bit more than HR saying I don't have to travel that far. It would actually be physically very difficult for me, so HR have agreed the reasonable adjustment.
We don't live near each other either, so travelling with someone would turn a four hour journey into a five + hour journey.
Suffice to say, it's just not possible for me to travel to the event.

FritzDonovan Wed 11-Oct-17 21:27:51

Is it possible for you to travel halfway on work time, take a break (overnight if necessary) and travel the remainder to make the lunch? Is this a restriction which affects you out of work to the same extent too?

PeasAndHarmony Wed 11-Oct-17 21:32:22

As a manager of a team I cannot understand why a work event in work home has been organised in a way that one member of the team cannot attend especially as it sounds like it would be easy to have the lunch and meeting near your office. There also seems to be no good business reason for needing to meet up with the other team?

It's just really mean and excluding (if that is even a word).

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