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Rejected by workforce because of ADHD disability

Community Member

In the last 5 years, I was really fighting for survival, by taking contract after contract with the government agencies in Canberra. With each contract ending because of ADHD or the treatment for ADHD. In my first agency after finding out that I could be on the ADHD medication, took out the incident form and run this among the team members to confirm they do not feel safe with me there. One women started reading aloud the question from the survey to humiliate me. In my next government agency I was working remotely, and one day out of the blue, the manager said that I was aggressive, because I made the comment about my private laptop not having enough of memory to handle the request. Soon after, she asked me to leave. After that I went back with contract to the Agency I was employed in the first contract, and I found that not only I am tagged as the ADHD medication user- they used the derogatory word, but Corporate Security were also saying that I am violent. I am middle aged women, and you could say many things about me, but violent is completely out of my character. I stayed with this agency for 9 months, but one day when working remotely we had a meeting online, and when closing my laptop, there was medication sitting there. The women who was all suspicious about me, because although I had a baseline clearance and WWVP card, there was rumours about alleged violence. She took the video to Security guys. I know that she took this video, because in my next contract, which I managed to organised as the previous had no hope for extension, I found that she provided this video to security. This contract was a nightmare. I do believe that manager, after finding out that I am suspect, has ordered police to spy on me, remotely and on my phone. The team members had a session of watching the video which has been sent by Dear friend from the previous work. They were going through all my personal records, medical records, dispute with my ex husband. They were talking about my income, saying that I done well for the past year, despite of the being an addict. One day, I had to run out of this place, because I was terrorised, humiliated and ostracised. At some point, I told manager that I know what they are doing and that I have the proof of them taking video of me remotely. She also realised that, all action of collecting evidence for police, could not be valid as with my status of person with disability, she would not be able to say I broke the law or code of conduct. 

6 Replies 6

Community Member

How come, there are 7000 people in Canberra and I am the only one who is targeted as villain. My manager has realised that she would not be able to report me or fire me, because of my disability. With things soo bad, and my claims of having proof that they were monitoring me. She came with idea of, saying that I overdosed this medication. This gave her justification for abusing the person with disability. I finished this contract with termination letter stating that the workload was not sufficient. After this contract I got very ill. With the latest contract, the CEO of the non for profit organisation, was told by protective security in first week of my work that although I have ADD, but I am addict who overdosed and I am violent. He even argued with them, saying: I do not think,  she is violent. Why I could not employ her? But she has all the papers, and she worked before? After 1 and half month, he let me go. I took the case to FWC and he paid me, what I asked for. My daughter is facing poverty, because her mum is banned from working in Canberra. She is wonderful and smart and I am devastated, that I could not support her. 

Hi Angie_2023,


Welcome to the forums and thank you for your bravery and openness in sharing here. It’s a really good place to have come to hear from others, many will understand some of what you’re going through.

We can hear how difficult things have been lately and how much you have had to advocate for yourself. This takes serious courage and energy.


If you ever want to talk through what you’re feeling at any time, the Beyond Blue Support Line is here for you 24/7 on 1300 22 4636. You can also reach our counsellors via Online Chat here.  


Thank you again for sharing. We’re here to listen and offer support, even if we might not have all the answers right now.

Kind regards, 

Sophie M 

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Angie_2023~


It must be most frustrating for you to be placed in such unhelpful work environments. Unfortunatly there are may firms (and even some government organizations) that lose sight of the fact that they are dealing with people - not just production generators.


To take prescription medication as directed is something an awful lot of peple have to do, and it is no cause of anyone to pass any comment - certainly not 'addict'.


Stating equipment is not up to the task could not ordinarily be termed anything much, it is simply reporting a fact. Unless you did htis in a very extreme manner again there should be no cause for comment.


Some manager have their own agendas and simply treat people badly. As Sophie_M says at times one has ot be one's own advocate, an unfair and stressful part of life. I'm glad the Fair Work Commission saw your point of view. It is really good to have such an authoritative body agree with you (one can feel pretty isolated otherwise).


I hope that you end up in a position that is more considerate and friendly.






That all sounds terrible op and l'm very sorry about what you've been put through and through by the sounds no fault of your own but more so what seems to be the small mindedness environment and mentality of your industry . Sounds like there's a lot of point scoring and pecking order going ion with them all too.


l have a few suggestions. Back in the days l use to work for a boss- haven't 30yrs now started my own business buttt. Back in the day though the first thing l noticed with were bigger places was always just so much competing and politics between workers, things going on behind your back and point scoring with bosses. l've always been a far better one on one person of with just a few rather  than herds of people but throwing in all the bs that seemed to go with a lot of them too, was too much.

l started doing drive by's and checking the place out to see how it felt, and the people too if l could get a look at them , before l bothered with and interview. lf the place felt good and if l could see any people they seemed ok and there weren't too many and blah blah, l'd try for an interview but if not l passed. That helped a lot. But then l'd also try to get a better feel for the place in the interview later too, look around and see how l felt with the boss. Sometimes l got the job but didn't take it.

Maybe you could do this stuff too, or try a different avenue in your industry that you know you'd be better suited too. Maybe it's a much smaller area of it, or a work from home thing .

Or maybe a different field and environment all together , different type of people and everything too . Different fields have different types people.


Anyway , just a bit from my experience back when. Eventually for me which l always knew anyway, l did start working for myself and have never had any those problems since and have always been very content work wise .


Best of luck anyway but just know that you don't have to deal with that rubbish, you just need the right thing for you.










Community Member

I am very grateful for your support Croix

I would like to thank you for your kind words. You are very lucky to be able to work for yourself. I never had any luck in self employment, regardless all efforts. 😀