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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47870
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can a potential employer who has offered me a job subject to

Resolved Question:

Can a potential employer who has offered me a job subject to references and occupational health information refuse to appoint me based upon a 3 month leave of absence due to a mental health problem which is now under control?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is your mental health relevant to your current position?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am a doctor and had 3 months off work Jan-April due to a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I have been back at work since then and have had no further problems. I have just received a job offer from a private company, subject to references and I know they will be sending me an occupational health questionnaire out too. I am concerned that they may rescind my offer if they know about my condition and recent leave of absence.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
What is it that you will be doing for this company? Are you employed as a doctor to deal with the public?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes and yes.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Ben Jones,

I have not received a satisfactory timely response and would like a refund.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Amy

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello sorry I have been getting my response ready, obviously this may take a bit of time as I cannot look at the relevant law and type everything up in a few minutes.
An employer cannot discriminate against you if you are suffering from a disability. They could only refuse to employ you if the disability prevented you from undertaking a function intrinsic to the role. As an example if you were applying to be a bus driver but were blind then obviously you cannot drive which is an intrinsic function of the job. However, having bipolar disorder or absences as a result if it does not mean that you cannot perform an intrinsic function of being a doctor. There is medication available to deal with your condition and that would reduce any negative effects. If necessary, you may also have to take sick leave but that should not be a reason for the employer to refuse to employ you.
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. This includes refusal to employ you.
A useful guide on the laws in this situation can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/85013/employment-health-questions.pdf
If you wish to make a complaint then that would be done by making a complaint in the employment tribunal for disability discrimination.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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