You've been treated unfairly and you want to take it further?
When you reach a certain point of acceptance at being ill, you tend to find hope in the fact that others will be accepting as well. There are times that your condition and it's challenges are rejected by those you require support from. Therefore, it is always in your best interests to be aware of your own rights and ensure you follow what you are required to do and take record of these efforts.
If the time comes that you are in lack of support or have faced an incident that has caused you to feel discriminated, then there should be a company procedure to take forward which allows you and the company the chance to understand the requirements and try to resolve the issue. This usually begins with a recorded complaint that follows company procedure. You will be required to write and send your complaint and reasons, following the steps to the end.
If you are unable to reach any level ground through these procedures, there are routes to take that depend on the type of incident, whether a company, employer, authority. You can find further information on this in the UK here or USA here.
After a complaint procedure has been followed, you will usually be in touch with a mediation body (such as an ombudsman or conciliators). For this you will need to send over the complaints and responses submitted to and from the company, as well as your evidence to support the complaint. Unfortunately, there are some systems in which claimants can feel deterred; it becomes a moment of either seeking legal advice or seeking inner strength to proceed with the knowledge of the truth.
Proceeding to a court or tribunal can cost. Sometimes there are initial fees for bringing a case, there may also be the option to request help with fees depending on your income. The ombudsman or mediator will provide information on this and proceeding.
If you then proceed to go to a court or tribunal, you will be required to legally frame your case. You can ask for a solicitor to assist you, speak to a disability law firm, seek free advice or represent yourself.
There is no doubt that representing yourself is difficult. Because there are deadlines to continuously meet and documents to write and prepare, all amongst words that we don't all understand. Yet it is not impossible; even if stressful. It is also empowering, encouraging and can often give you back the part of you that you thought you had lost. Sometimes you cannot be at peace until the incredible wrong is put right, and accountability can bring peace.
Representing yourself means looking through your complaints and listing what laws had been broken, as well as which types of discrimination you endured. You will be required to put this information in your application form as best you can.
In an employment case, you will also be asked to provide a schedule of loss, of course this is new to you. For information on how to do this, see the Citizen's Advice Beurea guidance.
Throughout any tribunal or court proceedings, you will be asked to provide certain information within a certain time frame. In preparation for these deadlines, I suggest finding and gathering your medical evidence, evidence to support your claim, the complaints and responses. If you scan these as early on as possible, you can be ready to attach them to send at the requested date and time.
When your day in a tribunal comes, express yourself. Speak as clearly as you can and without offensive language or behaviour. Remember why you are there, that you are arguing your experience, you testify your life, to justify yourself and bring the experience to and end. It means you don't have to spend the next year thinking it should never have happened because you get the chance to hold accountability.
You don't have to question yourself and the value you have, just because someone else is unable to see it. Too often vulnerable people are left entirely hopeless, you don't have to accept the treatment you're subject to over your health. Your power doesn't come from what people say you are, it comes from within.
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