Monday, November 18, 2013

Seetec - Maybe Train Your Staff?

So I have not written about my experiences with Seetec recently, my Work Programme Provider mostly because they tend not to be noteworthy. I just come in and mostly get told to put my personality forward more in interviews and smile so you guys don’t need to hear about that. Something happened this visit though that troubled me and I think I need to share it in case it is happening to others out there.

As part of my Work Programme thing I have to do fortnightly job searches at Seetec on their slow heavily restricted computers that only run IE 8. Not the main issue but worth mentioning as I have told them time and again that IE 8 doesn’t work with a fair few of the job sites I visit but I digress. At the last job search session I was given a paper application form for a job I’d already applied for because Seetec apparently have a link with the employer, fair enough not a problem but things get weird from there.

The application was straightforward and also had an equal opportunities section in it which asked the usual questions, racial background and whether or not you have a disability stuff like that. I filled it in and gave it to my advisor and didn’t think much more of it. Today during the meeting I was asked about that application and I replied that I had heard nothing after some talk it emerged that she had never sent the application.
Obviously I was confused as to why she did not send it out, but then she let me know.

“I didn’t know you had a disability.” She said. To which I responded ok but what did that have to do with not sending out the application? My advisor said that she needed to know that all the details on the application were correct.

So was she accusing me of lying on an application? Who knows I wasn’t going to put that to her after already being called defensive.

So what is this disability she asked, which made me uncomfortable as a question to be posed in a busy office where I from my seat next to her I could literally touch to other advisors and their clients without leaving my seat. Anyway she asked so I told her, which then brought the response I don’t think that is a disability. I then explained to her the intricacies of what a disability is and why I felt uncomfortable talking about it, she then went on to tell me about some relative with a similar condition which really wasn’t helpful or necessary and really at this point I just wanted to get out of there.

I don’t write this because I think that the advisor was being intentionally rude, I think she could have thought a little more before speaking at certain points but I think what this really highlights is the lack of training that the staff at Seetec receive is this is how they deal with disability issues with users. The advisor has struck me as very professional in most of our dealings so if she has a problem I think though obviously I can’t prove that this issue is one that runs throughout my local Seetec branch.

My issue now is whether or not to do anything about this, make a formal complaint or talk to the manager perhaps though I have had no end of issues with that manager as highlighted in my earlier posts which you can see here and here regarding getting help with expenses so I don’t feel comfortable with that as she always comes across as very confrontational. I will have to sleep on it maybe discuss it with my mom tomorrow as I go fix her computer.

I am more than happy to hear from you guys even if you think I’m over reacting.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

No, it's not overreacting, you shouldn't have to explain your disability and its impact on your life to them, least of all in a completely non confidential setting. The DDA was made to protect us from discrimination in employment, the Equality Act that superseded it does the same. It is illegal to discriminate against us in employment; prior to a job offer a potential employer cannot ask us about our disability, it's illegal. They can only ask us about any reasonable adjustments they need to make to enable us to have a positive interview. They can only ask about any reasonable adjustments they may need to make to accommodate the demands of our disability in post once they have offered a job to us. This person was completely out of line.