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Thread: Reasonable adjustments for a wheelchair

  1. #1
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    Reasonable adjustments for a wheelchair

    Hi all

    Does anyone have experience of asking your workplace to make reasonable adjustments so that you can use a wheelchair? What was your experience?

    I'm having a tough time and I'm not really sure how to get the adjustments I need. Right now I'm not using a wheelchair, have finally been approved one and am waiting to hear how long it will take. Meanwhile, work have been quite negative and said the adjustment they can make would be to change my job role.

    I manage a team of people at the moment and would not be able to move freely around to sit with people at their own desks. I would have to ask them to come to me, and would never be able to observe them doing their own work at their desks. I would like one set of desks to be moved out slightly so that I can get round them. Does this sound unreasonable?

    It's a very large company 1000+ people and we are moving to a new building. The perfect time to plan where desks go and consider 1 row of accessible desks?? I feel lost and vulnerable - I'm going to loose my job again!

    Instead of offering support, they want to take me to stage 2 of a medical capability plan. I've never had a day off sick but have underperformed while I was waiting for equipment to be provided. It took 6 months to get equipment and my boss could not differentiate between my actual capability and poor performance because of low productivity. Now I have equipment I feel it is considerably better. He won't say either way. And now wants to go to stage 2 because I want to start using a wheelchair. I want to reduce my painkillers to improve my cognitive function, to improve my performance at work!! Stage 3 allows them to fire me so I hope you can understand why I'm worried. Many thanks for reading ????

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaff79 View Post
    Hi all

    Does anyone have experience of asking your workplace to make reasonable adjustments so that you can use a wheelchair? What was your experience?

    I'm having a tough time and I'm not really sure how to get the adjustments I need. Right now I'm not using a wheelchair, have finally been approved one and am waiting to hear how long it will take. Meanwhile, work have been quite negative and said the adjustment they can make would be to change my job role.

    I manage a team of people at the moment and would not be able to move freely around to sit with people at their own desks. I would have to ask them to come to me, and would never be able to observe them doing their own work at their desks. I would like one set of desks to be moved out slightly so that I can get round them. Does this sound unreasonable?

    It's a very large company 1000+ people and we are moving to a new building. The perfect time to plan where desks go and consider 1 row of accessible desks?? I feel lost and vulnerable - I'm going to loose my job again!

    Instead of offering support, they want to take me to stage 2 of a medical capability plan. I've never had a day off sick but have underperformed while I was waiting for equipment to be provided. It took 6 months to get equipment and my boss could not differentiate between my actual capability and poor performance because of low productivity. Now I have equipment I feel it is considerably better. He won't say either way. And now wants to go to stage 2 because I want to start using a wheelchair. I want to reduce my painkillers to improve my cognitive function, to improve my performance at work!! Stage 3 allows them to fire me so I hope you can understand why I'm worried. Many thanks for reading ????

    Sorry to hear what you are up against All I can say is the failure to make reasonable adjustments is Direct Discrimination and requesting a slightly altered layout should be done
    As we all know some employers are better than others I had to get the equality manager involved when I had issues and the issue is now ok
    Are you in a staff organisation who will assist you ?

  3. #3
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    I'm pleased you've got a wheelchair ordered. You definitely need some expert advice, of course this sounds like a reasonable adjustment to us, but that won't help you sort this out. It may be worth calling Disabiliy Rights UK and SCOPE, both organisations may have some suggestions a as to where you can get some advice and support from. Did you speak to Access to Work? Although I think this is outside of their remit.

    Please let us know how you get on.

  4. #4
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Try Access to Work who will assess what you need

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your replies. I'm in a tricky situation. I know what the law says, but how an employer behaves is something different. I have been disabled 4 years and this is my 4th job in that time. 2 jobs forced me out and I took substantial financial settlements from them, the other one I left voluntarily as the treatment was so bad. I had plenty of evidence but it was such a small company I knew I would have to go to tribunal to get anywhere, and didn't have the will to fight. I don't want this to end the same way, I want to keep my job. ???? I don't want to fight all the time, I want to do a good job. If I move in to the other role, I'm more at risk. It is using skills I'm not so good at and leaning more on tasks I find more difficult. I will be more exposed to making mistakes or underperforming and then lose my job anyway! I'm only 37 and have to get back to working regularly with stability and confidence. I feel so completely and utterly incapable at times, i can't carry on like this.

  6. #6
    Hi,

    Sorry to hear work isn't being very helpful.I understand your frustrations and concerns, it's always something that is at the back of my mind. My work place have generally been fine, a bit slow with adaptions but mostly easy to approach and discuss options. My main issue is I don't ask for things when I should.
    Moving one set of desks sounds extremely feasible to me in an organisation of that size.
    I assume you have a risk assessment in place? Do you get regular reviews with your manager and HR? I think you need to bring this up with them and explain your concerns.

    Explain that you really want to stay in your job role and would just like the opportunity to demonstrate that with adequate adaptions you can perform better. You could perhaps suggest a trial period of 3 months once you have your wheel chair and the desks are moved and ask them to wait until that period was up before discussing the options of a different role within the organisation. I would ensure that any meetings are fully documented or recorded, or put your concerns and suggestions in to a an email, either instead of discussing it face to face or as a summary of your meeting. I would be as pleasant and professional as you can. I wouldn't quote any rights or legislation at this stage, unless you feel it is really necessary, but would subtly hint at the fact you feel you are not being given a fair chance to perform at work because of your disability.

    What about access to work again? I think you have said previously that you have had an assessment. Do you think it would cause further tension at work if you went through the process again? At least that way you have fully documented suggestions.

    Let me know how you are getting on xx

  7. #7
    Senior Member catlover's Avatar
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    It might be worth contacting your union for advice and they may act on your behalf.

    While this isn't really an Access to Work issue, it's worth speaking to them as any recommendations from them (even if it's not something they will pay for) can carry more weight than a request from an employee. My employer has been pretty good providing reasonable adjustments as my mobility has deteriorated but I have difficulty getting in and out of the building and with some internal doors. My employer leases the building and the building manager has been reluctant to do anything as the public access is accessible but I need to use the staff entrance when the building is closed to the public. Access to work have made a recommendation for an Accessibility Audit and my manager now feels that she has something to support her request to look at the access and whether it meets legal requirements. It sounds like something like that would be useful for you. AtW can be reluctant to get involved in access issues but if you request something like a workstation assessment (which would be appropriate given you are moving to a new building, even if you've had one before) you could then ask whoever comes out to mention this in the report.

    I'm sorry that you're having all this hassle. I can't imagine working in an inaccessible office. It's not an unreasonable request and I'd have thought it would be a fairly simple thing for them to tackle. I use a scooter to get around the open plan office where I work. I have it parked up about 3 metres from my desk. I can walk to anywhere within about 5 metres but need the scooter to go further e.g. To go to the printer. I do wonder whether they are just lacking in disability awareness and have an irrational concern that someone "in a wheelchair " can't do the job or worries about evacuation in the event of a fire.
    Last edited by catlover; 22-06-16 at 17:01.

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