Wednesday 5 December 2012

It could be classed as discrimination, but...

Ben is adamant that he doesn't want to return to the deli / cafe to work. He says he couldn't work for someone that is obviously so unsympathetic about his condition. Mind you, I said, she doesn't know the full story. I suggested that maybe she should know, but...

... He insists that he wants to draw a line under it.

I have told him that, legally, because he has been under formal treatment for so long he is classed as disabled and therefore, legally, an employer isn't able to discriminate against him; indeed they should be more accommodating, rather than less, according to the law - and this applies to part-time workers just as much as it does full-time workers.

Mental health issues like these are, by law, considered to be the same as physical disabilities and, as a result, the same employment laws apply.

Employers are not allowed to ask about your health at interview stage or prior to giving you the job, either. And they are required to make provision for you to go for necessary medical treatment.

I suspect, too, that Ben is legally permitted to be paid for the hours he has already worked there and to have a reference.

She didn't dismiss him, he quit. Went he went to talk to her about it yesterday he said that considering his mental health issues he probably wasn't suited for the job (ouch!) and, apparently, the parting was on mutual terms (ouch again!) She wasn't sympathetic. I guess she just wants someone who can do the job, not someone who could be a millstone round her neck... Yet you and I know she isn't allowed to make employment decisions based on this kind of thinking.

But Ben won't go in and sort things out. He doesn't want to ever see the owner again or set foot on the premises. And, as I expected, he most definitely doesn't want me to get involved.

He says he doesn't care if he doesn't get paid or get a reference. So I guess we have to leave it there.

Meanwhile he's thrilled to be back at the charity shop. He loves the manager - and knows that she's no stranger to mental health issues in the family. He says he'd rather work for her, unpaid, than work for the woman in the deli / cafe and get paid!

And I guess it's his decision.


  1. Legally the cafe owner probably is obliged to give pay and a reference - but would Ben want a reference from someone who doesn't understand him, or from the charity shop manager who obviously does? It's a bit of a &&^*er about the pay though!

  2. Oh definitely a reference from the lovely charity shop manager - and from school where he is teaching two mornings a week. Both would give him glowing references, I know.

  3. I can't say I blame Ben - it's pretty unpleasant to feel you aren't wanted. But I think it just shows that no matter how much legal protection you put in place, it doesn't help unless people change their attitude.