Accessibility | Follow Us
Youtube Icon

Losing my vision but not my job

Mary was diagnosed with a cortical visual impairment (CVI) in 2017. Although she had had this since birth, her optician did not correctly identify there was an issue until later in her life, despite regular check ups. Before her diagnosis, Mary found it took her longer to carry out some tasks at work and regularly worked extra hours, thinking that she was just clumsy, stupid, slower than other people and not realising it was the result of a visual impairment.

When she was diagnosed, she had to tell her employer immediately as she could no longer drive, although she was driving for 30 years without knowing she had a visual impairment.  Mary’s manager’s attitude was immediately unhelpful and started to make changes to her work which impacted on her negatively. She wanted Mary to work in a more remote office which was difficult to get to and was away from the support of her colleagues.

There was no workplace assessment carried out to establish reasonable adjustments that she may require.  During a meeting with her manager, HR and union rep, Mary’s manager questioned her capability to do her role which upset her greatly. Mary requested adjustments around her working hours to help her work more easily but these were refused. Mary also had recommendations for adjustments from occupational health but these were also refused.

By this time, Mary had become so upset by her situation at work she was signed off sick, having to not just deal with her sight loss but also not knowing what support she could receive. She contemplated resigning, as she thought that her sight loss meant she wouldn’t be able to her job any longer. 

Unfortunately, this a common experience that people will encounter as they lose sight as they are not aware of their rights under the Equality Act 2010 and the vast range of equipment and assistive technology they are entitled to that can keep them in work. This is why a workplace assessment is so important at this point in a person’s sight loss journey.

Luckily, Mary spoke to her local RNIB Eye Clinic Liaison Officer who encouraged her not to hand in her notice and referred her to the local RNIB employment advisor. Mary recalls on speaking to her local employment advisor: “It just made me think, finally somebody understands sight loss! It was definitely the way to proceed as they had seen similar situations before and they knew the law. I had no idea what to do.”

The Employment advisor advised on Access to Work and Mary’s rights under the Equality Act 2010. Mary contacted Access to Work, but her manager was once again unsupportive of the process. Mary had to attend a panel with her employers to appeal the decision made about the adjustments requested. The RNIB Employment Advisor worked with the union representative and provided a statement for the panel hearing outlining Mary’s entitlements under the Act and how they should be supporting her. The panel reversed the manager’s decision not to provide reasonable adjustments and Mary was granted the majority of the adjustments she requested and has been able to remain in her role. “Without RNIB support I wouldn’t have known where to start. The union were great, with specialist knowledge and advice from RNIB, they helped me stay in work. Without the support, I wouldn’t have my job. I couldn’t fight, I would have given up.”

This case study demonstrates the importance of why people require a workplace assessment in a timely manner to ensure they remain in employment with the correct equipment, technology and support. Sight loss should not equal job loss.

If you are an employer, occupational health provider or individual experiencing sight loss in work, Visualise Training and Consultancy can provide workplace assessments to ensure the correct adjustments are put in place.

For more information click on the website link below, call Dan Williams on 07472305268 or email daniel@visualisetrainingandconsultancy.co.uk

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

RSS News RSS

  • Dealing with Sight Loss: Being Blind in Business 10/02/2020
    A disability doesn’t define someone, nor does it equal inability. Whilst it’s important to understand the unique circumstances people may have, often I’ve found it can become all-encompassing to that individual. The post Dealing with Sight Loss: Being Blind in Business appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Supporting Employees with Visual Impairments 22/01/2020
    This article focuses on employees with visual impairments and how organisations can support them to maximise their potential. The post Supporting Employees with Visual Impairments appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Are UK Trains Accessible to Passengers with disabilities? 05/12/2019
    If you are a person living with a disability, it’s frustrating that you cannot just turn up at the station, get on a train and travel wherever you want to go to the same as everyone else, due to the fact that you need to book assistance at least 24 hours in advance. How many […]
    Daniel
  • Croydon Vision Talking Newspaper Interview 21/10/2019
    Following Dan's talk at the Croydon Vision AGM about the challenges of growing up with sight loss and how they spurred him on to make a difference to other people living with visual impairments, here's a follow up chat with Danielle, one of the charity's volunteers who helps to produce their talking newspaper The post […]
    Phil Roberts
  • Life Beyond the OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) Scan 16/08/2019
    You happily go along to the optometrist, feeling good about life. Then comes the bolt out of the blue when the OCT scan reveals a problem. You need to be referred to an ophthalmologist. The post Life Beyond the OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) Scan appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • I’d never have guessed… you really don’t look blind! 16/08/2019
    Lots of people, including those who have been blind since childhood, haven’t the foggiest what being blind is supposed to look like so comments like ‘You don’t look blind’ can be somewhat baffling. The post I’d never have guessed… you really don’t look blind! appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Fancy a REAL Blind Date? 15/08/2019
    If you’re going to accept an invitation for a date from someone who has appalling sight like me, don’t be fooled. It’s no good thinking you may as well turn up wearing your old gardening clobber and save yourself a bit of time; if your date is blind, what the heck will it matter what […]
    Phil Roberts
  • Supporting Older People with Sight Loss in Residential Care 14/08/2019
    Only 5% of people who are registered blind see nothing at all so learn to recognise the signs of sight loss as it is more common than you may think and can be easily missed. The post Supporting Older People with Sight Loss in Residential Care appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Look on the Bright Side of Being Registered Blind! 07/08/2019
    To be registered severely sight impaired (blind) you don’t need to have complete sight loss, you just need to meet certain criteria. The post Look on the Bright Side of Being Registered Blind! appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel
  • Coming Out Blind 26/07/2019
    Come out blind. Begin to live again: with freedom, independence and laughing at real humour, not just at yourself The post Coming Out Blind appeared first on Visualise Training and Consultancy.
    Daniel