Falkirk store says sorry for its treatment of an autistic job seeker

A large local employer has put the blame for the shoddy treatment experienced by a young autistic job seeker with learning difficulties squarely on a manager who no longer works at the store.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 2:32 pm

The young man (20) worked unpaid at The Range in Falkirk Central Retail Park, on various occasions for a total of 10 hours, believing there was a job waiting for him after this period of assessment.

He was then told the manager who organised the opportunity was no longer with the company and there was no job available for him.

The man’s mother, who wished both she and her son to remain anonymous, said: “My son is autistic and has a significant learning disability, but is able to function at a certain level.

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The Range Falkirk

"Back in March I applied for a job vacancy on his behalf at The Range and he was phoned the next day to see the manager. I went with him due to his disability and on speaking with my son and myself the manager assessed he would probably not be able to operate the tills, but there may be other roles he could manage.

“Over the following few weeks my son attended The Range, Falkirk and carried out assessment work to ascertain his abilities. This was on five separate occasions, around two hours each time – all unpaid.

“On his final trial he was told a position would be available and to contact the store for more information. This was in late March.”

In the weeks that followed the young man repeatedly contacted the store, only to be told the manager was not available.

His mother said: “Again receiving no contact, my son phoned again on May 10 to be told the manger no longer worked there and there was no position for him, upsetting my son who was looking forward to the job.

“Now I find myself wondering what kind of company has a person with a disability work in their store unpaid for 10 hours, being told there is a job only to take that away. I am most certain it wouldn't happen if my son did not have a disability.

“My son is not going to have the prospects other young adults may have due to his disability and was looking forward to the job and we were very proud of him.”

This week The Range contacted the mother of the young applicant apologising, stating the conduct of the manager – who it confirmed was no longer with the company – “completely contradicts and disregards many company policies and procedures”.

A representative of The Range reassured the mother and her son “this is not the type of behaviour or conduct we would expect from our store managers”.

The Range stated: “We will be taking the necessary steps to ensure this does not happen again. As a business we are proud of the links we develop with our local communities. It is extremely regretful one rogue manager will negatively impact on this family’s perception of us as a company.”

The firm stated it would write to the young man in person and enclose a £100 Range gift card.

The man’s mother told The Falkirk Herald she would not be accepting the gift card.