As a consequence of being beaten mercilessly as a child by both her parents, Maria lost 80% of her eyesight. Maria also missed a lot of school in order to hide the bruises, so she could barely read or write. Never-the-less she triumphed over adversity and got her dream job, working as a kitchen hand in a busy river side restaurant.

Maria was well liked and very popular and worked happily at the restaurant for 6 years without incident, until the 2011 floods sent the restaurant bankrupt. For Maria, losing her job was the worst thing that could happen to her. Her former boss helped her find another job at a large industrial kitchen.

Maria was bullied and harassed by the kitchen manager, who considered her an easy target because she was partially blind. When Maria threatened to complain, the kitchen manager told her not to cross him as he would have her fired. She stood up for her rights and was fired.

Maria lost her job, her home and her self-esteem and began self-harming to try to cope with the stress. BRQ’s Disability Discrimination Advocate represented Maria at a conciliation conference at the Anti-Discrimination Commission Qld, and assisted her to reach an acceptable agreement.

While Maria was unable to be reinstated the respondent company paid her a significant settlement sum by way of compensation. With self-confidence returning after being supported to stand up for her rights, Maria is now able to start seeking alternative employment.