Home > Case Studies > I Was Discriminated Against Due to Speech Impediment

I Was Discriminated Against Due to Speech Impediment

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 11 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Speech Impediment Supervisor Colleagues

Gail Mabey grew up with a speech impediment that therapy could only partially correct. Despite the impediment, she had a happy childhood and didn’t suffer bullying at school. When she started work in an office, however, she experienced discriminationwork.

Beginning Work

“I began work with a feeling of optimism. This was my first job, and it was what I wanted to do. I’m also a naturally buoyant character, and usually untroubled by what people think of me.

“I’d explained to the interview panel about my speech impediment – it was obvious to them anyway – and how I’d taken a course in answering the phone and communicating with the public. The three people on the panel seemed satisfied – they gave me the job after all!

“The moment I met my supervisor, however, it was clear something was wrong. He was an older man, and he didn’t even smile at me. In fact he barely said a word – just pointed to where I would sit and then left, saying he’d be back later."

Discrimination

“Although my colleagues were all great – and just as at school, didn’t make an issue of my speech impediment – the supervisor really wasn’t pleasant to me.

“On the afternoon of the first day, he asked me in front of the others whether the public could understand me when I spoke to them on the phone or at the counter. I was taken aback, but told him what I’d said to the interview panel. His response was that the interview panel ‘knew nothing’.

“The others told me not to worry, but the supervisor’s attitude shook my self-confidence. The following day, he told me there was a job going on another section where I wouldn’t have to talk to the public. I replied that it wasn’t the job I’d applied for. He didn’t like this."

Denied Opportunities

“Over the next week or so, the supervisor spoke to me infrequently. This didn’t matter a huge deal because the other staff were supportive and showed me the ropes. Even so, I began to wonder where this would all end.

“An opportunity then arose for some staff to attend a training course. In fact, the course was for staff who’d been with the company less than a year. Apart from me, this applied to two others on my team. But instead of nominating all three of us for the course, the supervisor simply chose the other two. When I asked him why he’d ignored me, he said I wasn’t suitable for training.

“I felt this was discrimination. The supervisor was denying me an opportunity to improve myself within the company. But I decided to wait because I thought I’d have a chance to discuss this further with him when he held my first staff appraisal.

“According to the company’s new employee starter pack, the first appraisal occurs after six weeks. Six weeks went by, however, and the supervisor didn’t mention it. Rather than speak to him, I sent him an email asking for a date for the appraisal. His response was ‘Why did I need one?’ "

Resolution

“I now realised that this couldn’t go on. It seemed to me that the supervisor was trying to drive me away from work because of my speech impediment.

“I therefore asked around, and found one of the members of the interview panel - the head of human resources. I didn’t moan about the supervisor. I simply asked about my first staff appraisal, and when I could have it.

“I suspect that the supervisor already had something of a reputation, and that the head of human resources immediately saw what he was trying to do to me.

“Anyway, the next day, I won’t say the supervisor was a changed man, but he couldn’t have been nicer. He arranged the appraisal, and even sorted out another training course for me. He also asked how I was settling in at work.

“The other staff said that the head of human resources had been seen talking to him before he went home the previous day. Whatever she had said, did the trick. Nonetheless, even though I’m still with the same company and have the same supervisor, I know that he’s not comfortable with me. Still, that’s his problem!”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Your story is inspiring, I have a stammer and am being made redundant because of bullying at work. The manageress would rather push me out because I was off sick due to the stress than support me. While the bully is charm personified to others and his job is safe. Best of luck for the future.
Salli - 11-Sep-15 @ 11:34 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jay
    Re: Can my Employer Fire Me?
    I have worked for this company for 3 years I'm contracted to do 25 hours per week and I have offered a couple of hours at weekends to…
    22 August 2017
  • Mr A.Davies
    Re: When Your Employer Changes Your Working Hours
    I am on an 18 hour contract starting at eight until twelve each day .I have been informed my hours dont…
    22 August 2017
  • Williamk
    Re: Understanding Your Employment Contract
    My husband is contracted for 20 hours per week ( stated in his contract) his employer is now saying that's 80 hours…
    22 August 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Food Safety and the Law
    Chef Vic - Your Question:What exactly uk law says about consuming food in industrial food preparation areas? (Eating in restaurants…
    22 August 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Age Discrimination at Work
    Marie - Your Question:I have worked for a small charity,25-50 employees for 13 years, always as one of two people in my section, the…
    22 August 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Understanding Your Employment Contract
    Becca - Your Question:I'm on a 6 hour contract, and have no specific days, although I've opted to work my 6 hours on…
    22 August 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: What if Work Makes You Ill?
    Worriedworker - Your Question:Hi I hope someone can help me. I work in a store cafe and we have had no air conditioning for the…
    22 August 2017
  • Justice
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    I hurt my back was in servere pain so I rang in sick and advised my manager. I was asked if I was going to the doctor to get some stronger…
    22 August 2017
  • SafeWorkers
    Re: Employer Has Changed My Shifts: What Are My Rights?
    GG - Your Question:Hi I've worked the same night shift every Thursday and Saturday for over a year.…
    22 August 2017
  • Swifty
    Re: Sickness: Your Rights
    I've been signed off sick for past 2 weeks due to car crash and back problems. Been in regular contact with my place of work during this…
    21 August 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SafeWorkers website. Please read our Disclaimer.