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Man asks if he was wrong to report disabled 'bully' co-worker to HR, risking her job. Updated.

Man asks if he was wrong to report disabled 'bully' co-worker to HR, risking her job. Updated.


Update at the bottom of the post.

'AITA for telling a colleague their disability is not a free pass to be an asshole and getting them suspended?'

I (29m) have started a new position at the beginning of November with a decent sized law firm in my city. Things have been going great up until this week.

The first 3 weeks I have been here I have heard lots of horror stories around a member of the office we will call J. I've heard that the last 2 people that took this position were basically bullied out of the post by J and that anybody who makes any complaints to HR basically get told to put up and shut up for two reasons.

Firstly J, despite not being the most popular person in the office, is very good at what she does to the point the company sees her as invaluable and secondly, J is a wheelchair user and is apparently very quick to throw the discrimination card around as soon as something doesn't go her way.

Another key point to this tale is that I use a stoma bag and have done since I was a baby.

Anyway, this week is the first week I have interacted with J as she was on annual leave for my first 3 weeks with the company. I was using the disabled bathroom to empty my bag when I started hearing a loud banging on the door. I said one moment and opened the door to a lady in a wheelchair, the infamous J.

I was berated for about 5 minutes things such as 'why is a healthy young man using a disabled bathroom I should be ashamed, etc.,' drawing the attention of everyone in the nearby vicinity before she even let me speak

I eventually got a word in, reminded her that not all disabilities are blatantly obvious and lifted my shirt up to show her my bag. She went bright red and I got on with my day.

The next day I go to use the disabled bathroom to find a poster on the door saying 'wheelchair users only'. I didn't make a huge fuss, but happened to mention to the colleague across the table from me 'have you seen J's latest stunt'. This is the woman who told me to watch out for J initially

I go home for the day and return the next to an email saying to report to HR as soon as I clock in. I get in there to be told that I am receiving a verbal warning as my 'tittle-tattle' in the office caused a huge bust up between J and my mentor. J was in the office and smirking all the while.

I lost my cool and told J that the only reason she is still in a job is because of how long she had been with the business and that she isn't going to bully me out of my position like she had my 2 predecessors.

I also told her that I apologise that she has been dealt a bad hand but that it doesn't give her the right to treat people like sh*t and that she is no longer the only disabled person in the office so she isn't going to keep getting away with her stunts. I then told HR about the bathroom incident and what followed. Eventually J was suspended pending investigation

I must admit I felt great on the day but as the week has gone on I can't help but feel guilty. I wanted to teach her a bit of a lesson not put her job at risk in times like we are having (cost of living crisis, etc). So AITA?


J works in wages and admin I work in website development and IT.

Hi, just to clear up I wasn't suspended J was. This post was about the guilt I feel knowing I could cost someone their job. Whilst I know she needed taking down a peg or two I didn't mean for that to happen as I brush this type of thing of fairly easily. After all, compared to some, I know I'm lucky.

I also wanted to apologise if the term discrimination card offended you. I didn't realise this term could be deemed inflammatory and will actively try not to use this term in future. Thanks for the education we are all learning everyday I guess.

The reason I usually use a disabled stall is because it gives me more elbow room as opposed to confined stalls. Also I had been using the disabled bathroom for 3 weeks up to this point with no complaint.

From the comments:

No-Trouble8035 writes:

NTA! I'm also disabled and only need to use a wheelchair on very bad days, and often times I don't need to use my crutches indoors so I'll put them out of the way somewhere. The amount of sh*t I've had off of people is bewildering.

The audacity of putting 'wheelchair users only' on a disabled bathroom, incredibly illegal, the reason they're taking it so seriously is they could be sued for having a sign like that up.

As for her job, she's literally driven two people to leave their jobs, in uncertain times. This karma is her own doing, not yours. Well done for standing up for yourself, not to mention fellow disabled people (some of which may also be in your office and you just don't know!).

2xth writes:

I'm ambulatory, but with a bad knee, and I typically used the disabled bathroom because there are times I can't stand back up without the bars. If there's going to be a 'Wheelchair users only bathroom', there needs to be another disabled bathroom available. It sounds like she just wants a de facto private bathroom.

undertherosetrellis writs:

NTA. She is the one who put her job at risk, not you. HR is figuring out very quickly she’s a liability to the company.

MoonMelodicStation writes:

Work place bullying is forever a liability. And those who think they’re untouchable are always the ones to be their undoing but never realize it

Update from OP the next day:

Had a chat with HR strictly off the record. Jolene was suspended as we had offsite visitors in on the day meaning that her sign could have been deemed as bringing the company into disrepute which is classed as gross misconduct. I said off the record that I'd be happy to drop the complaint as tbh I don't really want to play the office politics and I'm already over what was said.

I also harbor no ill will towards the company as they have been fantastic with me and i cant blame an entire company for the unauthorised actions of one person. However, its being taken out of my hands as the venue director is getting involved which strikes me as a bad sign for Jolene. For those interested they expunged my warning so I have a clean slate again.

Whilst nobody is openly celebrating Js departure as would be a bit classless there certainly seems to be a better atmosphere around the office so I guess that's a positive. Just wanted to say thanks for the love and support on this. Just shows what a wholesome group the people here are. Take care all

Comments from the update:

HaggisLad writes:

There is almost never an excuse to be a wanker, no disability that I am aware of makes it perfectly ok. The only way this woman can be a better person is apparently to face the consequences she has thus far been protected from, so OOP is doing the right thing all around.

Mozart-Luna-Echo writes:

I have a completely invisible disability. I’m 30 and look like I’m 16 most of the time. Some days I’m ok to walk and do things and some days I’m bed ridden.

I hate people who diminish my disability for the way I look and because “I don’t look disabled”

I’m so glad she was given consequences. OOP should have never had to show his Stoma bag to get his disability taken seriously, and even then Jolene still didn’t. She deserves what’s coming to her

Sources: Reddit
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