Tanya Sinclair

There will be no action until discrimination in recruitment is addressed. For example, if I attend a job interview in my wheelchair, I will not get a job. If I disclose I have MS, I won’t even get a call back. If I turn up on crutches, I have a good chance of getting a job.

The reasons why you are unsuccessful are rarely “we are unable to accommodate you”, you get the pro forma feedback which you know is rubbish. You can also tell immediately that you will be unsuccessful if you see steps. Even if people do blatantly admit disability discrimination, nothing can or will be done, even if they tell this to the AHRC.

I would say social work/social care is one of the absolutely worst sectors I’ve experienced ableism in. Pretty words are a waste of time, there needs to be positive discrimination as happens with ATSI roles, there needs to be enforcement of penalties for ableism, there needs to be strongly worded campaigns targeting ableism in recruitment, and perhaps blind interviews need to be considered (like what happens in music). There also needs to be a serious push and enforcement of offices that do not comply with access requirements – starting in social work.

For example, I went for an interview with Act for Kids

  • I had to attend in my chair as the interview was rushed and I didn’t have my crutches with me
  • I realised when I got there the office area was up stairs and there was no lift
  • the interview went well
  • I could not get an answer for over a week as to if I was successful
  • I was told I wasn’t. I asked for feedback, I was told she couldn’t think of it off he top of her head and she’d call me back at a set time. She didn’t
  • I eventually got a call back. The feedback was “you didn’t talk about your framework” (this wasn’t asked) and you should have answered that you needed regular supervision when asked what areas you need to develop (this does not make any sense). This feedback was for a level 6 schads role so not a junior role.
  • I know I didn’t get the job due to ableism but I can’t prove it and I can’t challenge this anywhere,

This is not the first time this has happened.