The team at WorkAid started supporting a woman, let’s call her Janet (not her real name!), in August 2017. Janet is 52 years old and has a learning disability. She had recently moved to West Sussex.
Janet was keen to find a job near her new home, having previously worked for 2 large businesses in their canteens for over 23 years!!
After attending a Job Fayre in November 2017 Janet was offered an interview with a contractor for another large business. She was supported at the interview by a WorkAid team member. At the interview Janet mentioned she had learning disabilities and could not write or read.
Janet was offered the job and started working the following week. After 2 days she was told she was being ‘let go off’ as she only had a trial and they had no awareness of her difficulties regarding writing and reading when they took her on.
WorkAid team members helped Janet challenge this, as she was initially offered a job, not trial and had made them aware about her particular support needs. WorkAid supported Janet to keep her job by liaising with her direct manager, area manager and HR Department. It took nearly 3 months of persistent liaison with the company until she was finally reinstated into her job.
Later in 2018 Janet contacted her WorkAid Employment Consultant to make her aware that her manager had unfairly treated her in her job. The Employment Consultant immediately met with Janet to write down the details of her concerns. Janet’s concerns complaint related to organisational, verbal and emotional abuse. This led to a safeguarding concern being raised with the local authority.
The local authority and WorkAid took this matter seriously and several meetings were set up to raise the concerns whilst the company carried out an investigation.
It was in everyone’s interest to get a satisfactory outcome for all.
Janet was advised by WorkAid not to attend work until all was resolved, but thanks to WorkAid support this break from work was on full pay.
A mediation meeting was set up between Janet and her manager and facilitated the senior area manager and WorkAid.
Ultimately, Janet is still in work! The company has learnt some valuable lessons around supporting employees with learning disabilities.
In conclusion, this case shows the power of #Gr8Support. We must stand up with and for the people we support. We must not give in when things get tough!
A special thanks goes to everyone who offered #Gr8Support in supporting Janet (remembers it’s not her real name!)
(#Gr8SupportMovement Change Maker and Aldingbourne Trust team member. https://www.aldingbournetrust.co.uk)