I have asthma and my boss told me I would have to walk ten minutes to work from the parking lot.

A WORKER with asthma has been awarded £42,000 after bosses asked her to park her car ten minutes’ walk from her office.

Elaine Taylor-Valles usually park her car on the street but asked for a bay in the winter because she feared her condition would worsen in cold weather, a court said.

An asthmatic Passport Office employee was fired after asking for a parking space for the office


An asthmatic Passport Office employee was fired after asking for a parking space for the office

But managers at the Passport Office in Liverpool told her she would need a disability badge as other staff members could also initiate requests.

Ms Taylor-Valles, 49, was later fired for taking too much sick leave after missing nearly 100 days in the 14 months she worked there, partly due to her asthma.

A panel has ruled that she was a victim of disability discrimination, awarding her £41,984.42.

The Manchester hearing said Ms Taylor-Valles had started working as a customer service officer at the Passport Office call center in Liverpool in March 2018.

The court said she was absent for 23 days in June of that year, of which “a substantial amount” was related to asthma.

She was then contracted out of work in July due to an acute respiratory infection.

After a formal attendance meeting triggered by her “degree of absence” in September, Ms Taylor-Valles wrote to request a parking pass at the office.

But the office has four times as many employees as the space, the panel said.

The court heard: “She wrote that, with winter just around the corner, she was worried and worried about having another asthma attack.

“She writes that reducing the walk from the car to the office will help prevent further attacks from cold winds.

“The [Passport Office] where to build [she] worked with private car parking.

“Some of these are reserved for people with blue badges. Other spaces are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

“There is not enough space for the number of people who want to park. There are 225 seats and 1,100 people working on site.

“[She] parked on nearby residential streets that may require a 10-minute walk between her car and the building. “

The HM Passport Office – a division of the Home Office – was then advised to pass an occupational health report to provide a space for Ms Taylor-Valles “if operationally feasible to avoid travel”. Long walks in inclement weather likely aggravated her symptoms.”

In October, the court said she had been given a written warning for “poor attendance” and announced that the agency would investigate giving her a parking space.

Mrs Taylor-Valles – who is still on probation – then had to take time off work because she was having a “very difficult time” with her husband being sick and hospitalized.


Her manager, Danielle Payne, asked about parking but because she lives within a mile of the office, she can only access the disabled parking spaces, where she needs to be. blue badge.

Meanwhile, Mrs Taylor-Valles unsuccessfully dismissed her warning, alleging her absence was linked to her asthma.

During the appeal, she was told the Passport Office could not provide parking and asked her to apply for a blue badge.

The panel heard Ms Payne felt Ms Taylor-Valles, who is nearing the end of her probationary period, should not have been selected as a permanent staff member because of her attendance record and “aggressive and confrontational” behavior during court sessions. work meeting.

The court heard in November 2018 that she recommended her dismissal.

Ms Taylor-Valles made many complaints – this was not supported – and then fell ill due to stress until the new year.

While preparing to go to work in February 2019, she had a severe asthma attack that had to burn her car and did not return to work for 10 days, in March she was absent again due to her husband’s ill health.

She was finally fired in May after 98 days of absence from work, 30 of which could be attributed to her asthma.

Bosses are more concerned with being open to other parking requirements than making sure they are complying with their obligation to make reasonable accommodations.

The court concluded the Passport Office had failed to make reasonable accommodations for her disability and had discriminated against and victimized her.

The panel – led by employment judge Hilary Slater – concluded: “She was looking for a temporary, seasonal adjustment, to have a space near the door available to her during the off-season months. frozen cold.

“The Queen’s Passport Office affirms its normal policy not to consider any adjustment to this.

“For us, we’ve found that they’re more worried about opening up to other parking requirements, if they make an exception to the usual policies, than making sure they comply. its obligation to make reasonable adjustments.

“Given that respondents have control over their own parking, we conclude that it is reasonable to provide temporary parking for Ms Taylor-Valles during the winter months.

“It doesn’t suggest that, while [blue badge] application is pending, they will provide her with a parking space near the entrance. “

The court added that in its view, Ms Taylor-Valles’ conduct did not merit the denial of a permanent role at the agency and ruled the disciplinary action as adverse because the warning was issued. absenteeism, partly due to a disability. .

The woman cheers as she makes the man stand in the parking lot to make room for it to move I have asthma and my boss told me I would have to walk ten minutes to work from the parking lot.

Caroline Bleakley

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