Reasonable adjustments at work


#1

I was diagnosed with PD over 2 years ago (aged 45). I work in admin and have been with my employer for at least 10 years. Recently the job has become very stressful and I am finding it much harder to perform at the level I would like to. My employer has made adjustments to my job in terms of a voice recognition system and has modified the work space (2 years ago). Since this time I feel that adjustments have not been made to allow for the increase in work volume which has coincided with a slowing in my physical capabilities. Should my employer be making further allowances, such as a reduction in workload, under DDA because of this? Would welcome any comments/advise regarding these issues. many thanks Anne


#2
Hi Anne
My situation is much like yours (aged 45, dx about 5 years ago). I have been employed by the same big name company for >20 years. since I told them about PD about 18 months ago they have been pretty supportive.

I have been assessed a couple of times for DDA reasonable adjustments which included Dragon Naturally Speaking software. I can work flexibly (time and location) within limits.
As partt of the assessment it has been reccomended that my workload be reduced by about 10% There is no problem with that in principle but the implementation has been a bit tougher. My job does not lend itself to objective measures of quantity - I bet yours doesn't either.

The lack of objectivity isn't unique to disability - I am a contractual part timer (a choice I made shortly after DX not a DDA provision) and its just as hard to be objective about the workload impacts of that.

After all that waffle I think the answer to your question is 'yes' they should make adjustments to workload.

I hope that helps. I am surprised that there is not more discussion on the forum of the truly wonderful Dragon Speech recognition software.

Elegant Fowl

#3
Hi Elegant Fowl,
Thanks for your rapid and very helpful response. Are you able to tell me who did your assessments for DDA reasonable adjustments?
Thanks
Anne

#4
Hi

I would also be very interested in anyone's comment on this subject
I have worked for the same company for 24 years
I was diagnosed 2 years ago and symptoms are slowly getting worse.
For that time have travelled around 40,000 miles / annum for business with 4 days out on the road and one day at home.I now notice I get very tired and want to reduce this to around 20,000 miles / annum working 2 days a week from home still basically doing the same job but being more effective by use of phone and internet
if my employer objects can they either dismiss me or reduce my income?

Any advice would be most welcome

Thanks

Kram

#5
Hi Annelouise

My own experience of my employer making adjustment has been good but whatever they say doesn't seem to stop the work load building up
The amount of work is really defined by amount of enquiries / orders from customers and whilst I appear to be OK to many at work they don't see the tiredness and mental aspect of down days due to PD.

Regards
Kram

#6
Hi Kram,

I was dx 11 years ago, at that time my work involved driving across the North West of UK. I too covered a lot of mileage, however I began to notice that the driving was taking it's toll on me and I would arrive home exhausted. When I though about it all I realized that I now had to think harder when driving and in particular I needed to concentrate in order to use my left side, which was at that time the only bit of me that was effected by my parkies. I mentioned this to my supervisor and expressed my concerns regarding the safety of pushing myself too far. The outcome was that they changed my area to a smaller one and gave me some 'at home days' using computer and mobile. In addition, when my company car needed changing I was provided with an automatic.

Employers must make reasonable adjustments and as a person with a chronic illness/disability, you are entitled to an 'Access to Work Assessment. You might want to take a look at the link below, I'm sure that you will find some useful advice on there.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/Employmentsupport

Long may you remain in employment...

Glenchass

#7
Hi All

The advice given above is good but and here is the big but what is reasonable? As an Employment Law advisor for many years I know that lawyers love this word as they can argue forever on its definition in any single case. You have to look at the size of the company, its resources (financial etc)the feasibility of any proposed change and so it goes on. Don't lose hope however because the Tribunals in general expect quite a high level of adjustment from employers. Being realistic there will come a time when there are no more reasonable adjustments that an be made and an employer, going through the right procedures, can terminate the employment contract because the employee just cannot do the job any more.

Keep notes of any meetings, keep copies of any memos, letters etc. and get advice from either a union or Citizens Advice or a lawyer if you can afford it (you may have a legal expenses clause in an insurance policy.

If you need any further help I do keep an eye on what is happening.

#8
Mikey makes a very good point about the word 'reasonable' being a lawyers friend.
In my experience so far my company has been genuinely willing to make adjustments where possible.

As described above adjusting workload is tricky - but that is not unique to disability assessments. I have noticed a few things that might help.

I have been assessed at different times for the effects of PD (slow typing etc) and the effects of depression. In general the people around me were more willing to take PD seriously than depression although the latter condition has been more disabling than the physical effects of PD.

It can be hard for line managers and personnel people to understand PD. I can appreciate this having been the line manager involved in different medical case. Some of the personnel people give good advice - some dire. The earlier you involve professionals to advise the better.

Elegant Fowl

#9
Dear annelouise

In my experience dealing with my PD problems at work since my DX 4 years ago (now 47) your company will probably want to put a "Care Plan" in place to help you & protect the company.

I found that in my first few meeting with my HR Dept they were unhelpful & did not know what to do with me. This was the case right up until I done a bit of research into my rights.

On that note be aware that from 1 October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). However, the Disability Equality Duty in the DDA continues to apply.

See this link below for further info etc...
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/employer/disability-discrimination-act/

I found it was a wise move have your supporting backup paperwork should you need to use it, in business I try to follow the 4 P' rule - Preparation - Prevent - Poor - Performance & so far using this approach I have had no repeat from the earlier issues

To help you at work the government run free service "Access to Work" here is the ink to this info
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Disabled/people/Employmentsupport/WorkSchemesAndProgrammes/DG_4000347


I hope this has been helpful

kind regards

Teapot

#10
Dear Annlouise
I also work full-time as an Administrator for the NHS. I was dx almost 3 years ago and my office colleagues and Manager know of my PD. They brought Occupational health on board and they did a work station assessment which really helped as they identified that I needed a new chair,my computer screen raised, changed my mouse to a roller mouse and they have all helped a lot.
My manager knows I have to avoid stressful situations and gets others to assist me when these situations arise.
Do you have an Occupational Health dept in your workplace?

#11
Hi Glenchass

Many thanks for our post and the link
The website was very useful
I'm going to suggest two days working at home using email & phone
Will try to cut down my driving as well to nearer 20,000 miles / annum
Are you still working yourself?

Kram