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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44867
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have just been diagnosed as emphysemic. I am a Senior Site

Customer Question

I have just been diagnosed as emphysemic. I am a Senior Site Manager, and need to work in a less hostile environment, for example an office based management role. What is the legal standpoint with regard to duty of care with my employer
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are there any alternative positions the employer can offer you?
JACUSTOMER-u5iirg1a- :

Ben,

JACUSTOMER-u5iirg1a- :

Ben,

JACUSTOMER-u5iirg1a- :

Ben, if that is the best answer you can give me for £31....... I'll have a refund !!!! that is terrible

Ben Jones :

Hello, I have not given you an answer yet, this was a preliminary query which I asked of you so that I understand what the situation in the workplace is and what options there are, before I actually provide my full response

JACUSTOMER-u5iirg1a- :

as per the original question - what duty of care does my employer have, if any, when considering my health situation. I am not sure if alternative employment is available.

Ben Jones :

You will have certain rights depending on the seriousness of your condition but there will also be general rights that would apply to any employee.

A good starting point is to look at The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related statutory instruments, which impose a general duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This includes a duty to undertake risk assessments and manage activities to reduce the exposure employees may have to certain factors that may adversely affect their position.

Some wider rights may apply if you can show that your condition amounts to a disability. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 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:



  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)


If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably 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:



  • making adjustments to work premises;

  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;

  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;

  • altering the employee’s hours of work;

  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;

  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;

  • providing supervision or other support.


If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably 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 (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act taking place).

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

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