Disabled Sheffield man ‘went home and cried’ over treatment at Pretty Little Thing

A man who claims he was ‘singled out’ and bullied by management at Pretty Little Thing in Sheffield has said he felt compelled to call out the issues there after reading in The Star about a similar case affecting another young man.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:15 am

Last week The Star reported that an 18-year-old boy with aspergers had allegedly been bullied by management staff at Pretty Little Thing on Shepcote Lane.

The boy’s mother said he was singled out because of his exemption from wearing a mask due to his condition.

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The Pretty Little Thing premises on Shepcote Lane

Now another former employee has highlighted the ‘bullying culture’ among managers at the warehouse, alleging that he too was picked on because of a health condition he had.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, developed severe anxiety and depression after the death of a close friend, and this led to him developing focal epilepsy – a form of epilepsy where seizures are brought on by anxiety and stress.

He also has dyspraxia, which affects his motor skills.

The man, 27, was working as a picker at the warehouse. He explained: “I finally got myself back into a place where I could start working again [in October 2020]. I explained to the team leader at Pretty Little Thing that I had these conditions and the mental health difficulties and they said it was fine.

"When you start you are slowly presented with targets, and these increase until you are fully trained. Because of my condition they gave me a ten per cent reduction in targets.

"But I still couldn’t meet the targets because of the dyspraxia as it means I have difficulty carrying things. The managers kept telling me to speed up and I told them it was not because of lack of trying.”

The former employee said that between October 2020 and March 2021 he was regularly pulled to one side and told he needed to work faster. He tried to speak to HR about the problems and said they were unwilling to help.

He asked if he could be moved to a different role and this was also rejected.

He started to suffer from panic attacks due to the stress he was placed under, and this made him concerned that he would have another seizure caused by his focal epilepsy. To try and stop this from happening he would go outside when a panic attack started.

The man alleges that when the management noticed him going outside they told him off, and despite his explanations as to why he had to do that, eventually let him go from the job.

"As long as targets are being hit the management at Pretty Little Thing couldn’t really give one about staff,” he said. “And if you are any different from what they expect they come down on you like a tonne of bricks.

"They acted like the 10 per cent reduction was a gift but its a legal requirement for them to make adjustments in accordance with employees needs.

"It had a serious effect on my mental health. I would come home and cry.

“I saw what the same management had done to that other lad and I thought: ‘They are rotten, and if I don’t tell people then they are not going to change.’”

A Pretty Little Thing spokesperson said: “We are launching a full investigation into this with our warehouse team. This is something we absolutely will not tolerate and will be taking the appropriate steps.”