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By way of background, my name is Allan Tyrer. I used to practise as a solicitor, but had already given that up (out of choice) before starting this website 10 years ago. Discrimination is not an area of law I have experience in, but my partner and I both stammer.
Personally I haven't suffered greatly from discrimination. I don't recall any discrimination in my education, and I doubt the standard of my education suffered because of it. I was sometimes bullied but I'm not sure that was because of my stammer at all - more that I didn't know how to cope with it.
The only incident I recall that could be discrimination was in 1980 when I was applying for a place as an articled clerk (now called a trainee solicitor) amongst the major city firms in London. One of the firms that interviewed me fed back to my law tutor that they would have been happy to have me but for the stammer. Nowadays given the Disability Discrimination Act they would very likely not have said that openly, and if they had they might have had to justify their decision as being for a reason which was both material to the circumstances of the case and substantial. In any event a similar firm did accept me as an articled clerk, so the decision was not a particular problem for me.
The reaction of the interviewer at the firm which did offer me a place and with which I stayed for 12 years was that "everyone stammers sometimes". I was wearing an 'Edinburgh master' for the interviews, which much improved my stammer. This is no longer manufactured, but it creates a buzzing in your ears whenever you speak so you can't hear yourself. I told the interviewers I was wearing this and that my stammer would be worse without it. I did wonder though whether this chap realised what my stammer was actually like.
When the time came to consider whether the same firm would continue to have me when I qualified as a solicitor, and also quite a few years later when it was considering whether I would be made a partner, they doutbless thought about the stammer but in both cases I got the promotion anyway.
Having left the legal profession, I am currently a part-time magazine editor and (volunteer) webmaster.
My partner Christine, has a more severe stammer than me. She can certainly communicate OK but people have sometimes put the phone down on her or been rude to her when she is trying to get something out.
She spent many years as a senior customer services officer/manager in libraries (very much a customer-facing role), and is now the customer service co-ordinator for the Borough's library service. She does not feel she has suffered discrimination in terms of getting work or being promoted.
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Last updated 1st January, 2009