I would like to give you a scenario of reverse discrimination as a Newstart Job Seeker. I have two permanent medical conditions that prevent me from working efficiently at my old professions, mainly in Accounting and administration work.
I became so ill that I was eventually qualified for a very expensive govt subsidised drug called Humira, an anti-rheumatic disease modifying agent. I applied for sickness benefit and disability pension as my illness is no longer something I can hide in the workplace, like I used to have to do, after getting so many sessions of counselling about my sick leave being greater than four incidents in one year! I have a limp that Is too painful to hide due to arthritis in the sacro-iliac joint. I eventually had to leave that job in my own account as it became too stressful for me due to my health condition, as I was not being taken seriously, in a job in NSW.
I then moved to Qld to assist in the pain management of my condition, sold my house, which I have had to live on the proceeds for the last couple of years working out how I find a job with the health condition and keep it. Some job providers I have had have not recognised my medical condition, and have done things like change my resume and distribute it to employers without my knowledge, or consent. I had a course I wanted to finish which cost me $3000 but Centrelink said it is not recognised, so I had to leave the course I had almost completed to meet my job plan applying for jobs. I no longer have access to that course as it has now expired, while I was too ill to apply for jobs and finish my study.
When I had a job in 2015, I got without the help of the job provider, one disability employment provider sent me daily messages and threatening letters saying I was breaking the law by not coming in to their office after I had obtained a full time temporary job. The job was 2.5 hrs from the job provider’s office, in Brisbane, where I commute to with a medical condition. I told Centrelink immediately I had the job, who confirmed to me on on one of my days off, face to face e, that this agency should not be expecting me to turn up for meetings now I was in a full time temporary role. I even had this agency ringing me with my supervisor sitting next to me training me insisting I had to report into their offices, although I had told them and Centrelink multiple times I am in a full time role 100km from the job provider, and no longer looking for work. They lied about the multiple phone calls I had with them issuing letter that I was uncontactable. When I made a formal complaint to the appropriate govt body, they took the side of the job provider, saying they were not acting inappropriately.
I have since had to re-register with Centrelink Newstart, and immediately on doing so this same agency started with the the threatening letters again, and issuing appointments without providing sufficient notice, the evening before and appointment, by text message. When I arranged to transfer to my current provider, they instructed the current provider to cut my signature off the wrong transfer form and paste it onto the right transfer form. I was sitting at the desk of the job provider who refused to do this, and said they would leave me the right form to come back in and sign once they have received it from the agency I had the issue with.
Anyhow, I am now back unemployed and refused to go back to that last job provider, as I am afraid of them. Anxiety drives my medical condition. The punitive system has driven my auto immune condition to get worse at times.
While looking for other avenues that would suit my medical condition, in each and every case, the training I would otherwise be eligible for being unemployed and living on Centrelink which does not even cover food and rent, now that I have spent all my savings surviving, I am ineligible for simply because I have a degree. I cannot have something higher than a Cert III to get assistance, yet I cannot physically do what I used to do because of my physical condition. So where do I fit in? Nowhere.
Just this morning, I applied for an apprenticeship as a medical receptionist, part time which would have been perfect for me, and my health condition. It all was looking fantastic when suddenly they learnt I had a degree, and therefore, did not qualify. So now I am back to the drawing board to apply for jobs that won’t suit my medical condition that I will have to try and hide, if I get one of them, rather than focus in what I can physically handle.
I am genuinely afraid of my future prospects. I will eventually completely run out of money to survive.
Every job I go for is already taken by the time I apply for it, isn’t a real job advertisement, or I don’t have current software and experience in my accounting field, medical receptionist and admin field, according to job recruiters, yet I have no assistance to do anything about it as I have higher than a Cert III. Yet, had I been recognised for suitable re-training, I most probably would be in a job by now as I genuinely want to work had I not had a degree.
I spent another $2000 doing a comprehensive medical terminology course to get employed, but again, said I did not have the experience other candidates have. I have no more money left for my own personal training, and I am not recognised for government sponsored training into a role, because I have a degree.
That is reverse discrimination. Things need to change, as I could be employed, only for a policy that is one size fits all.
I have gone to my local and federal MP Offices, they suggested I discuss my issue with Centrelink.