Misbah Hanif, a civil worker at the Department of Work and Pensions based in Stockton, Teesside recently won a discrimination case against her manager after she was banned from listening to music through headphones while at work. As first reported by Daily Mail, DWP was held liable for not making proper adjustments for the civil worker.

Worker With Anxiety Advised by GP to Listen to Music At Work, Co-Workers Dissent

Previously, Misbah Hanif, who is diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder was able to bargain with her manager Julie Hepperle that she be allowed to listen to her music after her GP advised her to do so. According to Metro Co, this was a part of their "back to work plan" for Hanif.

Although the upper management insisted against it, the two continued with their plan provided Hanif doesn't get caught.

According to her doctor, music could help her relax and calm down in the midst of stress at work. After having diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes it difficult for her to control her emotions, music was advised as a way to help her cope with the stress. 

However, one of her colleagues complained that communication became difficult with the civil worker since she always had her headphones on. This warranted the company management to prohibit Hanif to continue using headphones while at work. 

This specific case was ruled by an employment tribunal as a deprivation of Hanif's right to cope with the pressures of work. The tribunal concluded that Hanif should file a case for discrimination.

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DWP Failed To Make Proper Adjustments Following Initial Agreement with Hanif

Hanif said that she and her manager agreed to use music as a coping mechanism while she is struggling to control her emotions. Moreover, her GP also advised that music could help her manage her stress and anxiety. 

Ms. Hepperle brought the proposed setup to her own manager. However, their managers insisted against it due to the nature of work demanding extreme concentration. 

The tribunal heard that at the time Ms Hepperle and Ms Hanif were on 'friendly terms' and as a result she told her that she could listen to music, provided she didn't get caught.

Following the complaint of another co-worker that he found it difficult to communicate with Hanif, she was banned from listening to music, thus warranting Hanif to file the case.

The tribunal ruled "Tacitly condoning Ms Hanif listening to music provided she did it discreetly and did not get caught was not the same as giving [Ms Hanif] express permission to do so and the failure to give that express permission was a breach of the respondent's duty to make reasonable adjustments."

Thus the tribunal judge concluded that Hanif is indeed entitled for compensation after being found discriminated against due to the lack of adjustments made by DWP.

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This article is owned by Music Times

Written by Nikki A.

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