Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
Hello. A little less than a year.
Your rights will very much depend on whether you are considered disabled. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled for legal purposes, they need to establish whether they meet the legal definition of ‘disability’.
The Equality Act 2010 (“EA”) defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.
I will break this definition down:
If a person satisfies the above elements, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated less favourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.
What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples of what could amount to a reasonable adjustment:
Depending on the illness in question, employers should consider requesting that the employee attends an examination with an independent specialist doctor or occupational health expert. However, it is not a legal requirement that such a referral is made and that would generally only be done if there is a policy specifying this, or if it is not possible to ascertain certain details about the employee's condition and effects it has on them.
For employees who have been seriously ill and absent from work for longer periods, a return to work interview before their proposed return date will assist with establishing their fitness to return and reintroducing them to work. Managers and employees can work together to identify any adjustments which might make their return easier
If someone who is disabled is being treated less favourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (bearing in mind that the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory behaviour taking place).
I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
Hi, thanks for your reply. My GP has since signed me off work following issues related to the above. I've since been literally bombarded with angry emails from my manager (bordering on harassment in my opinion), and he has requested a meeting with both him and HR to discuss a back to work strategy this week, which I have declined as Im not meant to be working. I have documented evidence that my manager hasn't respected confidentiality in the past (one of my first tasks in my role was managing out my predecessor) so am unwilling to share any more personal information with him, and have asked for any discussions to be with a medical professional instead. I have shared with the Occupational Health department a confirmed diagnosis of a related neurological condition that would cover me under the Equality Act 2010, but HR have repeatedly stalled on such a referral. So, my question is this - is it in my interests to explicitly and directly ask the Company to consider adjustments in light of a confirmed disability, even granting them access to the info OH already hold, and might this afford me some protection? As it is, it feels as if Ive become a massive HR issue.