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Workplace discrimination continued

Thought I’d post again rather than individually replying. Thank you all for your support although it saddens me that so many of us have experienced this.

My manager has spoken to our HR director and made her aware of what was said. Her response was that she was sure said person didn’t mean it that way and she knows they are extremely busy at the moment and not in the office much so an email was probably the best way for her to communicate with me. She said she hoped it wouldn’t happen again but to let her know if it does.

Whilst I understand that said person is very busy, aren’t we all?! I’m busy at work but I still afford people good manners, consideration and speak to them in a way I would wish to be spoken to. Said colleague is also very fond of telling other people exactly how they should be doing their job and is also the first to point out when they’re not. Maybe I am being over sensitive but I think she knew exactly what she was saying and she doesn’t really care.

There is, unfortunately so much ignorance out there around asthma. If I had a pound for every time I’ve come across the, ‘oh well you’ll be ok after a few squirts on your puffer’ attitude I could fund asthma research from a sun drenched location!

Thank you to everyone who replied and keep fighting!

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Glad you followed it up ... albeit a not productive response but at least your manager is aware and can’t “brush it under the carpet “ you hope !!!!

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I was in two minds as I don’t like to make a fuss or make things worse but I hate bullies and I’m a great believer in there are certain ways of saying things and the nicer the better.

It just frustrates me that as asthmatics we put up with it because sadly we’re just used to people’s attitudes/ignorance

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And we don’t have much control over the symptoms !!!!

I’m still mid diagnosis and not sure if it’s asthma but I’m getting repeated infections and more and more frustrated !!! Still on asthma meds as that’s what helps .. but it’s very tough at work ... speaking to OH tomorrow about the equality act as trying to get permanent reduction in my shift pattern !!! It’s been a long 4 yrs !!

You’ve given me a bit of strength knowing I’m not alone in the workplace fight !!! Xxx

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We certainly don’t and people don’t seem to get that either!

That sounds very frustrating, hope they get a diagnosis for you soon, one way or the other then at least you know where you stand. I wish I could give you more advice but I’ve had asthma since I was two so I don’t remember being diagnosed. I did have a test a few years ago that confirmed it as OH at the place I work disputed that I had asthma!

Great to hear you’re speaking to OH and it sounds like you’re putting up a great fight. You’re certainly not alone, speaking to people on here definitely helps. Let us know how you get on 😊

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Hi RD23! The person I mentioned yesterday sounds very similar to your colleague! She’s disliked by almost all of the staff having had some sort of run in with each of them about various things over her employment. I just wish she would understand that I’m not faking, can’t help it and would much rather be at work than stuck at home in bed because I have little to no energy. People are strange 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Exactly! I’m constantly telling people that spending a day in A&E isn’t exactly my idea of fun! When people ask me what it’s like having an attack I tell them to imagine being laced up in a very tight corset, while someone is pinching their nose, jabbing them in the ribs and making them breathe through a straw! The reaction I get is, ‘it’s that bad?’ 🤦🏻‍♀️

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Touch wood I haven’t had to spend a huge amount of time in hospital, but yea I think she thinks I’m kidding on for a day off (because you know I only work weekends and don’t have enough time off 🙃). My male manager also likes to make comments such as ‘oh you’ve got some colour in your face you’re fine’ and my personal favourite ‘I’m so surprised that your asthma is giving you problems when it’s duh a nice sunny day, surely you should be worse when it’s raining’. Dripping with sarcasm of course. He claims he’s asthmatic as well and yet doesn’t understand

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Some people are just nasty. Changes in temperature affect me but I get the, ‘oh cold weather affects you, bet it’s much better in the summer (with a smirk)’ er, no actually because humidity is just as bad!

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I never really understood asthma before I was diagnosed myself which is perfectly normal. However I’d never have assumed someone was over exaggerating or the like. People are strange 🤷🏻‍♀️ the worst part is I work in a tiny little local family owned business. No OH or HR departments for me

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That’s true of many conditions though, we never really know what it’s like until we have experience of it ourselves.

Can you not join a union?

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I don’t know about a union. I don’t even have a contract at this stage. And it’s just this one (not even a supervisor) woman whose the real problem.

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Might be worth researching or asking at Citizens Advice if there’s anything that can be done. Let me know how you get on 😊

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Sometimes people who have asthma or another condition but are able to control it very well can be the worst as dependent on personality it can make them feel like they know it all and everyone is like them! I used to have a consultant who kept on about how she had asthma too - it just seemed to make her think that if she didn't get that, it wasn't real.(and told me all asthma can be controlled...)

Sorry to hear you all have colleagues like that - it really doesn't make you want to do your best for the company does it? I agree that politeness costs nothing and should be expected in a professional environment. Grrr!

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It doesn’t, I was always told by my parents to treat people as I would wish to be treated and it’s stuck with me.

Ha, yes! I’ve come across those people too and you just want to shut them up and tell them that the person who is best qualified to speak about YOUR asthma is YOU! Sometimes there’s nothing worse than an ‘expert’

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Especially when they're meant to *be* an expert! I wish my lungs knew that it's impossible for them to behave like this. I actually felt this consultant would be annoying to work with as like many of the colleagues mentioned on here, she was convinced everyone who was not her was wrong.

I hope you all get somewhere with the work situations. I believe there are unions you can join without them.being attached to a specific trade or industry.

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Ah yes, if only our respiratory systems would behave! Luckily I have a great specialist who’s really helped to make a difference, it has taken years of weeding through not so great ones though!

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Hi there, I don't beleive the widespread propaganda that asthma is controllable either. Unfortunately the biggest culprits seem to be NHS staff. There will always be days when everything is out of our control. Many just don't seem to understand that with multiple triggers it is impossible to protect yourself against everything, without living in a bubble of course, which I don't think any of us would want. We just want to live as normal a life as possible don't we ?!!!

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Yep! Her response to anything she didn't understand or agree with was to assume it was in my head and that A and E and the acute medical unit was entirely staffed by panicked juniors/people who didn't have her superior knowledge that I was just looking for attention. You can see why I think she'd be annoying to work for!

As an aside, if all asthma can be controlled then I am not sure how she explains the existence of tertiary difficult asthma centres or the market for new biologic drugs...

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That old chestnut! ‘It’s all in your head’ like you would somehow willing put your body through that 🤦🏻‍♀️

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Sometimes it feels like we’re asking too much. I don’t think people realise just how frustrating it is to have such little control over your own body. I regularly take my medication which I’ve been on since I was three so it’s part of my routine, like having a wash or cleaning my teeth and people seem to think that should be enough to keep it under control. If only! I come into contact with multiple potential triggers every day like so many of us and it’s a gamble as to how my chest will react. Sort of like asthma attack Russian roulette!

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Well you have got a good response from your employers and hopefully they will speak to the person concerned. If it happens again just tell her that discrimination is against the law and you have reported it.

Apart from that don't give another thought to the woman - after all why rent your head space to toxic people! x

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Indeed! It also says a lot more about her as a person than me!

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Lots of years ago now I was very concerned about our daughter’s policy on inhalers, not allowing pupils to carry their own , instead that they had to ask for theirs when needed. In the end I got hold of AsthmaUK’s information pack about asthma in children and gave it to the head teacher. She did read it all and the policy was changed.

I wonder if something similar could be done with employers or HR? Get them all better informed? It won’t stop rudeness, but could it help a bit, perhaps?

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Great idea, I’ll look into it.

Not surprised you wanted that policy changed, quicker you can get to your inhaler the better

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It was good! Our daughter was and is very independent (she is 35 now), and would not go and ask for her inhaler even if she needed it. Not all children are like that. So it was a great help when it was changed. Though certainly not brittle it was bad enough for her to collapse a lobe in her lung once, so it was a concern.

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You certainly have given me a bit of strength and consolation.

At the moment I am battling the side effects of the duoresp inhaler.

I know when I get better i will be marched to HR and have the management and representatives of the HR quiz me .

They never seem to believe that the symptoms of asthma csn be bad and they almost make you feel guilty of taking sick leave.

I am a chronic asthmatic snd I have been off sick the third time now in one year. But my employer does not care. It will now go to the cspability hearing and there is the added stress of losing ones job over my asthma which I have no control over.

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Sorry to hear you’re going through that. I had a similar experience a few years ago after an OH doctor who’d never met me in person, read my notes and that my peak flow is good and told my employer he didn’t think I’d got asthma!

Are you in a union? You should be allowed to take a colleague in with you. They won’t be able to speak for you but they can be there as support.

Really saddens me that there’s so much ignorance out there. Just focus on getting better, easier said than done I know, then you can decide what to do next.

Good luck!

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Thanks very much.

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This is so bad that you don’t get your hr departments help with this. If it was racial abuse I’m sure someone would be right in it. Don’t give up continue to fight at work they are just ignorant to a really bad medical condition I mean we don’t ask for much, just to be able to breath right. Good luck with your fight against the ignorant.

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Thank you! How selfish of us to just want to be able to breathe 🙄

I wasn’t sure if I was being over sensitive but the response, which has been quite overwhelming, reassures me I’m not.

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Hi RD23

Update on OH appt today .. you’ll be surprised to hear I answered yes to all three Equality Act questions asked !!! 😂😂it’s only taken a year to get it asked after being unwell for 4 yrs !! Now for the next step in getting my reduced hrs made permanent!!!

Hope your ok x

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That’s great news and good on you for sticking to your guns.

I’m ok, little deflated but singing with my choir tonight which always cheers me up.

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