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Sheffield: Mother furious after Pretty Little Thing staff intimidate employee with autism over mask exemption UK News

Alison Russell, of Netherthorpe, said her son Lewis, 18, suffers from anxiety attacks while wearing a mask because he has autism.

One holiday, Monday May 3, Lewis walked into work as a picker at Pretty Little Thing on Shepcote Lane, wearing a thong, saying he was exempt from wearing a mask and worked there for four hours without a problem.

However, a member of staff saw that he was not wearing a mask and disputed this, Alison explained.

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Pretty Little Thing’s premises on Shepcote Lane

“He was pulled to the side by an official who said he did not recognize the lanyard and was due to receive a letter from the doctor.

“I have since checked with the doctor and they said they weren’t writing letters and you just needed a thong.

Alison said a team leader then told Lewis to put on a mask, and Lewis agreed. However, as he walked to get a mask, he was again pulled to the side and told to put one on.

Alison said that because the ordeal triggered Lewis’s anxiety, he was stressed and he said “to be honest I can’t breathe”. The manager then told him that he had to go home because he was disrespectful in speaking that way.

Lewis agreed to go home, but as he tried to leave the same manager allegedly took his security pass so he couldn’t get out of the door and made him ask him three times.

She also told Lewis that he would not be paid for his work that day.

Alison said: “Lewis felt she was trying to get him to retaliate. It was intimidation. I feel like he was chosen and I don’t have him.

“As a parent you fight all the time for children with hidden disabilities and you hope they will be better treated as they get older.

“It wasn’t fair. People with hidden disabilities shouldn’t be treated like that.

“Having this job was a big thing for Lewis. He had been in his room for two years and now he had a routine and was making his own money.

“He was happy there and he was never late for his shifts and he worked hard.

“This experience affected his sanity. He was really upset about it.”

Alison added that she and her daughter – Lewis’ older sister – had attempted to contact Pretty Little Thing management more than thirty times about the incident before they could move on.

When she spoke to the manager about what happened, Lewis’s sister said the manager simply denied it and then hung up the phone.

Pretty Little Thing has been contacted for comment.

Government mask exemption guidelines state: “If you have age, health or disability reasons for not wearing a face mask:

– you do not need to systematically present written evidence on this subject

– you do not need to present an exemption card

“This means you don’t need to seek advice or request a letter from a healthcare professional about why you are not wearing a face mask.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-05 18:33:10