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Author Topic: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability  (Read 3820 times)

SmallCog

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I was wondering if anyone has experienced discrimination due to mental health issues. I ask this as some forms of depression are classed as a disability and, therefore, protected under the Equality Act.
My experience has been bad and, in my opinion, because depression is unseen and can be very difficult to talk about let alone acknowledge it is often not recognised by management which means they are failing to meet the Mental Health Policy the company has.
An observation I have made after searching tribunal cases is that all the cases I looked at were withdrawn which suggests to me that Tesco are paying out , once you take them to tribunal, because why else would you withdraw when you've gone to the trouble (and expense). It can be costly to go to tribunal especially if you engage a solicitor, and in my case because of the depression I didn't feel able to challenge Tesco without legal support, as there are many pitfalls which means your case could be rejected or lost because of errors of judgement (something easily done when depressed).

I'm thinking there might be an opportunity for a Group Litigation and would like to know if anyone else has experience discrimination because of diagnosed depression, especially if you have had an Occupation Health report that supports your depression being a disability. My belief is that Tesco policy is to drag out the grievance process but end up paying out anyway (if you take them to tribunal), causing: increased stress, anxiety and for depression to get worse. If I can get a few names then I will approach solicitors to see if they want to take it on.

I want to be clear this is not about the money, this is about a process that isn't understood or followed by management and a policy that is followed that makes a condition worse and is ultimately discriminatory in nature. That being said the only thing that Tesco seems to care about is profit and bad press hence looking to highlight this unseen disability in the hope no one else suffers the way I have, and I'm sure many others have.

If you don't feel confident to post on here please PM me.

Miremare

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #1 on: 23-07-19, 09:34AM »
Was this condition caused by working for Tesco, or was it a condition you have and wanted support with it working at Tesco?

genome

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #2 on: 23-07-19, 10:01AM »
Document everything.  Make sure you capture all details of what happened along with date/time/location/witnesses.
 

Welshie

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #3 on: 23-07-19, 05:53PM »
Group litigation for what ? Have you been dismissed  ? Are they putting pressure on you to return to work ??
For Tesco to help staff that are off sick and make adjustments for their return , they need to understand what is wrong , but as you say mental health is difficult to talk about so it's a bit of a vicious circle .
Re; disability,  people are protected from being  discriminated against due to disabilities but there should not be positive discrimination either , they still have to go through all the same processes, return to work , attendance review meetings etc

NightAndDay

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #4 on: 23-07-19, 06:04PM »
I was wondering if anyone has experienced discrimination due to mental health issues. I ask this as some forms of depression are classed as a disability and, therefore, protected under the Equality Act.
My experience has been bad and, in my opinion, because depression is unseen and can be very difficult to talk about let alone acknowledge it is often not recognised by management which means they are failing to meet the Mental Health Policy the company has.
An observation I have made after searching tribunal cases is that all the cases I looked at were withdrawn which suggests to me that Tesco are paying out , once you take them to tribunal, because why else would you withdraw when you've gone to the trouble (and expense). It can be costly to go to tribunal especially if you engage a solicitor, and in my case because of the depression I didn't feel able to challenge Tesco without legal support, as there are many pitfalls which means your case could be rejected or lost because of errors of judgement (something easily done when depressed).

I'm thinking there might be an opportunity for a Group Litigation and would like to know if anyone else has experience discrimination because of diagnosed depression, especially if you have had an Occupation Health report that supports your depression being a disability. My belief is that Tesco policy is to drag out the grievance process but end up paying out anyway (if you take them to tribunal), causing: increased stress, anxiety and for depression to get worse. If I can get a few names then I will approach solicitors to see if they want to take it on.

I want to be clear this is not about the money, this is about a process that isn't understood or followed by management and a policy that is followed that makes a condition worse and is ultimately discriminatory in nature. That being said the only thing that Tesco seems to care about is profit and bad press hence looking to highlight this unseen disability in the hope no one else suffers the way I have, and I'm sure many others have.

If you don't feel confident to post on here please PM me.

For your claim to have any merit you will need to have a fit note from the doctors stating you have depression, once Tesco has this in their documentation, any disciplinaries, grievances or out of process absence related disciplinaries that clearly show that you've been disciplined due to your depression can be used as evidence towards a claim. I would also strongly advise that you review notes taken by the note taker to ensure they accurately cover the convetsation and ask for copies of disciplinaries (lets talks, invitations to investigations, notes and warnings) as evidence (as Tesco can "Lose" the documentation for court cases.)

lucgeo

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #5 on: 23-07-19, 06:24PM »
Have you been on contact with ACAS and MIND for advice, clarification and guidance? When you say non recognition from management, are we talking, area personnel, senior instore team, or line management here  ???

Apart from area personnel, I wouldn't credit the other two with the sense they were born with, and I certainly wouldn't let things ride on their say so :-X They are puppets who follow the company trait of "deny,bully and deny some more!" The area personnel are more cautious of being brought up on grievances, as they cannot so easily bury the evidence.

Also what is USDAW's stance on this, as they're promoting supporting members with health issues. Depression is never an unseen disability, it should be recognised, noted and aknowledged in the first interview, and for Tesco ( managers HA!) to ignore this in future meetings are treading on very shaky ground in my opinion  :-X
Live for today. Learn from yesterday.

NightAndDay

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #6 on: 23-07-19, 06:45PM »
Can't trust the union to boil an egg, they're Tesco in disguise. They don't like those that rise against the confederate, any rabble rousers get "removed".

Munchkin

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #7 on: 23-07-19, 10:44PM »
As a former rep and h &  s rep for over 20 years with experience in more than one store and also a former psychiatric worker I have found tesco clueless regarding mental health even when escalated to occupational health they consistently fail appallingly causing so much distress I have come across attempts of suicide not wholely but certainly partly due to their failing even when their constantly challenged their process is poor and lacks even basic skills and knowledge of mental health

optout

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #8 on: 24-07-19, 12:40AM »
@SmallCog

I once spent over 1 hour in an office trying to convince a manager and a union rep (the rep was one of these 'I've been a rep for 20 years' types, and also at the time a member of the executive council) that anxiety could be classed as a disability. This was only a couple of years ago. It turns out that neither had bothered to read the Equalities act. The rep actually ganged up on me with the manager during this incident (yet completely denied it had ever happened later).

One thing that you will find is that managers and reps will discuss your disability with you by using the word 'condition'. Do not accept this, call it as it is 'a disability' NOT a 'condition'.


when communicating about this either with the union or tesco ensure you use the word (loud and proud) DISABILITY, give no avenue for misinterpretation.

Also when communicating about this; use email whenever possible as this ties down the when, the where, the who, of the situation, and prevents buck passing.

And unfortunately the biggest hurdle in all of this is your fellow GA. Yes, I believe in my situation at that time and beyond, around 90 percent treated it as a joke (even on occasion making 'my condition' worse) I'm sure you've met them the 'ohh snap out of it' brigade; 8 percent appeared to be supportive, until it really mattered, and only 2 percent (I think) really 'got it'. You really do find out who your friends are, and at tesco unfortunately it won't be that many. BUT eventually there is another sunrise and there really is hope, but you really must make your own hope and not depend too much on the many fair-weather-friends who will gather around you. Many will want to appear helpful because it is just 'fashionable' at the present time but don't expect them to understand what you are going through. Family, close friends and medical professionals are where your time is best spent. Good luck :thumbup:
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Superior Pie

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #9 on: 24-07-19, 02:37AM »
Mental Health is something that is new to this company and only now they are starting to recognise it.  How many people have left or been sacked over the years I can only imagine.  But speak up and I'm sure they will help.
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SmallCog

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #10 on: 24-07-19, 03:20AM »
Thank you everyone that's responded.
Some background - I have suffered with depression for a while and was in a good place with it, off medications. Unfortunately it's never, really, just one thing that triggers it but in this case work related stress was a huge factor.
I have told every line manager and their manager about my depression and been as open as I felt I could be.
I have now left Tesco and am thankful I was in a position to engage a solicitor to help me through the grievance, ACAS and tribunal.
I know there should not be discrimination of any kind. My claim is that Tesco have not followed their own policy on mental health and in doing so treated me unfairly leading to me leaving the business.
I am sure there are many people like me that have not received the support they should have received and may even have left employment or found another job because the stress was too much.
Reasonable adjustments are difficult to measure with depression especially if it's involving the management team, makes it more difficult to be open when there's a clear lack of understanding or effort to understand. Call the helpline was the standard response.
My reason for this post is that the discrimination is there and needs to be addressed to help others. We can't go back and fix things but we can stop them from being repeated.
The reason for wanting to find others like me and starting a group litigation, if it's even possible, is that I'm one person and although my voice has been heard in the various processes there will be others who haven't had the strength or will to fight. And just because I've been heard doesn't mean anyone was listening or that things will improve for others. There is a strength in numbers which makes it harder to be just a footnote in the big machine that is Tesco.

madness

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #11 on: 24-07-19, 02:05PM »
As long as it is declared on the interview under disabilities or medical conditions I see it as no different to any other disability.

T

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #12 on: 24-07-19, 02:49PM »
Thank you everyone that's responded.
Some background - I have suffered with depression for a while and was in a good place with it, off medications. Unfortunately it's never, really, just one thing that triggers it but in this case work related stress was a huge factor.
I have told every line manager and their manager about my depression and been as open as I felt I could be.
I have now left Tesco and am thankful I was in a position to engage a solicitor to help me through the grievance, ACAS and tribunal.
I know there should not be discrimination of any kind. My claim is that Tesco have not followed their own policy on mental health and in doing so treated me unfairly leading to me leaving the business.
I am sure there are many people like me that have not received the support they should have received and may even have left employment or found another job because the stress was too much.
Reasonable adjustments are difficult to measure with depression especially if it's involving the management team, makes it more difficult to be open when there's a clear lack of understanding or effort to understand. Call the helpline was the standard response.
My reason for this post is that the discrimination is there and needs to be addressed to help others. We can't go back and fix things but we can stop them from being repeated.
The reason for wanting to find others like me and starting a group litigation, if it's even possible, is that I'm one person and although my voice has been heard in the various processes there will be others who haven't had the strength or will to fight. And just because I've been heard doesn't mean anyone was listening or that things will improve for others. There is a strength in numbers which makes it harder to be just a footnote in the big machine that is Tesco.

The difficulty is a lot of the workers these day don't have the savvy to tell the TMs and higher ups they are taking the p**s and hardly perfect themselves.  If you do the chances are you'll get some amount of hassle and they'll never be off your case.  What's the worse/best case scenario you lose your job at Tesco and are forced to retire/gave a kick up the arse to do better.

NightAndDay

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #13 on: 24-07-19, 04:01PM »
As long as it is declared on the interview under disabilities or medical conditions I see it as no different to any other disability.

It isn't up to Tesco to define what qualifies as a disability, just because they don't recognise it at corporate level as a disability doesn't mean it isn't a disability and doesn't exclude them from disability discrimination for the disability they fail to recognise.

Also disabilities can happen during employment, as long as the reference to the disability is documented by Tesco in some way, they have to reasonably accomodate the individual.
« Last Edit: 24-07-19, 04:03PM by NightAndDay »

lackofinterest

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #14 on: 24-07-19, 08:08PM »
 :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

King1999

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #15 on: 24-07-19, 10:20PM »
Anyone had their diversity training yet...... utter shite,Tosco want to hide behind the treat people how we want to be treated bit late for that I’m afraid.There is mention of mental health in this training not that they will admit they are guilty of affecting our mental health on a daily basis.They must be incredibly thick....skinned to put this joke out.

King1999

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #16 on: 24-07-19, 10:27PM »
Just to add this bit of training kept harping on about everyone’s welcome at Tosco.....are they,we whoever really welcome is it really a nurturing work place hell no,but anyway if your worried you can  always phone a helpline we do care really.Not.

lucgeo

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #17 on: 25-07-19, 07:23AM »
Tesco has always professed to caring about the workforce and following the " Core Values" one of which being "treat people how you would want to be treated". Let's not forget the little faces in training manuals for investigation and disciplinaries, showing how to recognise emotionally flooded colleagues ??? Having someone sobbing in front of you isn't depicted, so obviously ignored by the ignorant.  :-X

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SmallCog

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #18 on: 13-08-19, 08:34PM »
Having read in the news about the poor gentleman who took his own life after being sacked for try to protect company property only highlights the lack of understanding about mental health issues. Something needs to change and I believe together we could make that change. It doesn't feel like it's going to happen without a push and as we all know big companies hate bad press and to lose money. What is has happened is a travesty and Tesco need to be held to account for the lives they continue to affect. Please get in touch if you feel you've suffered discrimination due to your mental health.

Hammer10

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #19 on: 13-08-19, 09:01PM »
Yes I have in the past and now.

optout

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #20 on: 13-08-19, 09:25PM »
@ Small Cog
Why not start a petition on change.org and post the link to it here, it may get some support, who knows?
I AM NOT A REP, BUT......

King1999

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #21 on: 13-08-19, 09:47PM »
Tosco doesn’t take mental health seriously,how can they for what they have done and are doing a petition would be a good start I think.

SmallCog

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #22 on: 13-08-19, 10:36PM »
Yes I have in the past and now.
Hammer10, are you getting any help? Not necessarily from Tesco as we know they're not great in that department. Have you informed your manager?

SmallCog

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #23 on: 13-08-19, 10:38PM »
Thanks Optout and King1999 for the petition suggestion.

Redshoes

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Re: Mental Health - Depression could be a disability
« Reply #24 on: 14-08-19, 12:22PM »
A colleague without mental Heath issues has to go through a set process if off. A lot of this process is now at managers disgression. A lot of the meetings no longer have to happen if no benefit can come from them but a meeting can be triggered early on if benefits can be drawn from it.
As someone who has had no mental health training, I have no idea what additional benefits are on offer. If additional support is needed should this not be documented and a meeting needs to be held to do this.
The percentage or times absence no longer automatically triggers a meeting so if ongoing issue and support plan in place this should not trigger meeting.
Also, if someone has high absence no matter what the cause are they not putting additional pressure on fellow colleagues. This can cause stress and anxiety for those struggling in work and should it not then be looked at. The fellow colleagues left in work are under pressure due to another's high absence so tip into the mental health category and on it spirals.
Like I say, I do not suffer mental health but I have suffered working through others high absence and seen the pressure on others as well as feeling it myself. At what point do we draw the line.
I would also add that it's not the right place to be when suffering stress, anxiety as you have to put that face on for customers. They don't understand what is going on behind the scenes or in our private lives and we need to endeavour to be professional when dealing with them. As we work in retail and we have a high level of customer interaction do we need to find jobs for people who can't cope with this.
Mental health is unseen, it's not obvious like a broken leg. It's also not the same for everyone. There are so many variables. I would like someone to list the different rules that relate to me tal health and at what point these kick in.