Date of release: 3 December 2020
To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we have spoken to members of staff who want to share their stories about disability in the workplace.
Here, Michelle Cotterill talks about how she lives with her condition, how it has impacted her working life, the response from her employers and fellow staff members and how those responses might have altered down the years.
Job title: Admin and Audit Clerk, Cancer Services
Disability: Kidney failure
What are your experiences of living with your disability in the workplace?
From my personal perspective I have been very fortunate to have managers and colleagues who have been fully supportive and accommodating to any health-related need or concerns I have had.
Any concerns I have had have always been addressed appropriately and affectedly in a timely manner.
How have management and the Occupational Health team affected your ability to carry out your job?
I haven’t had any dealing with Occupational Health as my managers have put appropriate measures into place for me to work safely.
I feel like they can’t do enough to accommodate me; my health and wellbeing has always seemed to be at the top of their list of priorities.
How have fellow staff treated you in relation to your disability?
The staff have been great and have picked up the slack when I have been unwell.
Also my manager put different work in place for me so it would be easier for someone to pick up if I had to be off, to take the pressure off me.
Have attitudes changed towards you over the years and if so, how?
No – I get on great with my team and have an amazing relationship with my managers.
They are very approachable and I want them to know how much I appreciate them for having an open door policy!
I love my job and I’m so glad I’m still able to do it in the position I’m in. I know I can be hard work sometimes and some of the struggles I have are completely out of my hands, but my colleagues and management just lift me up and make me feel my worth.
They always make me feel like I’m an integral and important part of the team. I’m friends with most of my colleagues, so it is kind of expected with them, but to feel that from managers is a massive help.
Even though I’m working from home now, the managers and my team always check in with me to make sure I’m OK and ask if there is anything they can do additionally to support me.