Avril’s story

Published: September 17 2022
Last updated: September 28 2022

Avril talks about taking on an employer after being sacked because of her epilepsy

At university I had a bar job right next to my halls. The landlord of this pub chain knew about my epilepsy and what to do and not do if I had a seizure. I disclosed on my application form. He and his family went on holiday & got a couple to cover.

I had two seizures that week they were on holiday, I’d told the couple temporarily covering the bar management about my epilepsy, what to do and not do. I carried on working post seizure no problem. I had done bar work in my home town in a far busier freehouse biker’s pub where I’d often be responsible for opening the function room and running the bar solo.

On return from their holiday I had another seizure at work and the landlord insisted his 16 year old son who he employed behind the bar unlawfully walked me home immediately. I had only one narrow side road to cross and didn’t want or need to go home.

My next shift, friends from one of my uni course buildings were in the pub on the fruit machines next to where the land lady employed as bar staff sacked me on arrival saying it’s because I had a #seizure at work. No notice and no pay in lieu of notice. I told uni friends.

I wasn’t politically aware then and didn’t watch news properly as had a communal TV lounge in halls. My friend Chrissy a mature student from my course pathway had seen news about the DDA95. She said see #CitizensAdvice so I did where a trainee lawyer took on my case.

He said she was right to recommend their help. He said that it may not apply as I was sacked the day before it came into force but as they gave me no notice or pay in lieu, technically I’d have been employed when the DDA95 began and to request pay in lieu of notice in writing.

I did as he advised & the landlord refused both pay in lieu of notice & refused me notice. The friends who were there that night and heard it all wrote statements and were prepared to go to court & get their travel expenses and meals paid for them. It was a week from trial.

The Citizens Advice trainee lawyer representative suggested a settlement and they suggested a low figure. He went back to them and they offered more. It was only enough to cover what I lost that year but to a poor student only seeking #justice it was adequate and I accepted it.

My Citizens Advice representative & I made the front page of the local newspaper with a headline quote from him saying “The new Act has teeth!” in reference to the #Disability #Discrimination Act 1995.

Two years later an ex manager of that pub chain was at another bar I was working in at uni and told me his experience of them. We exchanged stories in confidence, he told me I’d have got at least 11 times that if I’d gone to trial. I got DDA95 justice thanks to uni friends.

Tell your friends if you’re able to open up about your #epilepsy as they really can make a difference as mine have. It’s unlawful to discriminate against someone who has epilepsy. It’s a recognised disability under the #Equality Act 2010 which the #DDA95 was incorporated into.

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