Suk from the MS community: What should you do if you think you’ve been treated unfairly at work regarding your MS?
David Webb, ACAS writer: Again, it depends on the employer and who’s treated you unfairly, really. But say it’s just a colleague and you feel able to go to your manager and say look, this has happened, I don’t think this is quite right, I don’t think Jimmy quite understands what he’s doing or the ramifications of it, can we sort this out. Now, this might just be done internally within the company and the manager thinks, yeah, you’ve got a point. I’ll have a quiet word with Jimmy, he might find out from Jimmy what’s happened, he’s found out from you what’s happened, and he might just try to sort of find a way through and sort of say to Jimmy, look, you can’t do this, you know. If you do this, you’re in, potentially discriminating against Suk. And the matter might get settled that way. Sometimes it can be done simply because people don’t quite understand the law. Or if you couldn’t go to your manager for whatever reason, you might have an HR department that you could go to, or the organisation might have what’s called an equality champion, somebody who’s a sort of specialist in this kind of area who tries to look after fairness in the workplace. Or if you’re a member of a trade union, you could go to them and see if you could get their support, and no doubt they would support you. If none of those things work and you still feel that you’re being treated unfairly because of your MS, then you could lodge a complaint, and this is what’s called a, tends to be technically known as a grievance and organisations are supposed to have grievance procedures, which are set procedures which when somebody makes a complaint, are followed so the employee can sort of make their case, it can be investigated, looked into, the complaint heard, you know, witnesses are called, evidence is taken, statements are taken and then again, a decision can be made by a manager who’s nothing to do with the case whatsoever, really. So you get an impartial decision. Again, if you’re not happy with that, it’s back to the employment tribunal option.
Suk: And how do you go to the employment tribunal? Do you contact them with just the general evidence that you’ve got? Is there a…
David Webb: There is, again, the best thing, again, one of the stages is you will need to talk to ACAS, because there’s a stage called early conciliation where ACAS will try to help enable the matter to be solved without you going to a tribunal. So again, that’s the first thing you should need to do, because going to a tribunal is very stressful, can be very time-consuming, can be quite expensive. Not that you have to pay fees any more, I hasten to add.
David Webb: No, no. You don’t have to pay a fee any more to lodge an employment tribunal claim. But it’s not, it’s an experience best avoided if the matter can be solved another way.