In these enlightened days of respect and understanding, where we treasure eachother’s differences and embrace equality in our workplaces, I am absolutely shocked by the behaviour of a manager and his attitude to his staff.

The Organisation provides a number of services, one of which is providing education and training to school children. In the Schools Department there are eight employees, five of whom are educators, and spend 3 days a week in schools doing their thing. The other two days a week, they work in the Office. The office is shared by the staff of various other services, but they all contribute to the same aim, so can be regarded as colleagues. Of the 5 educators, one is the manager of the service – let’s call him Bill. One of the educators Bill manages is a fantastic lady who is an inspiring educator, who works to a very high standard, is great with the kids, is punctual, organised and positive in her attitude. She is a breath of fresh air. Lets call her Sue.

There is another special thing about Sue: she’s profoundly deaf.

Now this should make little difference to how we view Sue, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. Considering her disability, Sue is even more of an inspirational member of staff, because she’s able to do all she does while at the same time overcoming considerable obstacles.

Last month, Bill’s manager – let’s call him Colin – called a meeting with all the staff from the open-plan office to announce that the Chief Exec had ordered a reshuffle of the office to incorporate another service within it, and that the Schools team were to lose all but two desks. Bill was on holiday at the time, and knew nothing of the move, but Sue was at the meeting.

Did Sue complain? Did she raise any concerns about the changes? She did not.

Bill came back from leave to find his desk had gone, and his stuff had been moved elsewhere. Bill went to see Colin who told him his team would be ‘hot-desking’ from a work station in the centre of the office which doesn’t have a telephone yet. Bill tried hard to explain that his team would struggle with this arrangement, and Sue would especially.

‘Well,’ said Colin,  ‘she was at the meeting, and she never said anything’.

‘You do know she’s profoundly deaf, don’t you?’ asked Bill ‘You know she struggles to follow conversations when she can’t see who’s talking? Are you sure she even knew you were taking her desk?’

‘She heard. She was at the meeting.’ Said Colin, again.

The first I know of this is when Sue comes to talk to me to say she’s thinking of resgning because she can’t do her job properly. Apart from Bill, no-one in the office is speaking to her, she can’t use any of the telephones they’ve put in because they aren’t compatible with her hearing-aid, and she has no space to work. Sue says “I don’t want to cause a fuss. I don’t want to be nuisance. I don’t want to be labelled as ‘The problem Disabled Person’, but I’m struggling, and I don’t know what to do.”

These kind of things make me seethe.

I am shocked that managers like Colin who think they know about equality, who can say all the slogans and go through the motions can be so utterly ignorant about basic needs. When will people realise that being fair does not mean treating people exactly the same.

I will have it sorted by next week. I’m sure of it.  Heads will roll.


2 Responses to “Shocking”

  1. 1 Booger 8 December 2006 at 12:03 pm

    Ahhh, Colin just reinforces a theory that’s bounced around P27 this morning: stupid people get promoted.
    What a fucking arse. Sort him Spaniel, sort him good.

  2. 2 Moobs 8 December 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Ah the concept of reasonable adjustments has just passed him by i see. Wallop him.

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