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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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i have been asked to take long term sick leave. i am able to

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i have been asked to take long term sick leave. i am able to work from home and have done mostly for a while. i am not able to get to the office due to a disability but able to work at home full time. i have now been told that i am only able to work if i am at the office. this will mean that i am hardly ever at work. i am on a contract

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is there any particular reason why you cannot just work from home?


i have not been given one although i have asked. my computer is able to be seen from head office so that they cn see that i have worked the hours required. there are a few things that office staff need to be in for but as thre are another 3 staff or 4 in the office there is plenty of ork for me to do. i have also had a national cobtract taken away from me last week. i had worked on this for 2 years and have been given no reason. I have not been made aware of any complaints. should i register as disabled and if so how do i do that? Will this help? I have asked for equipment to help at the office and not been given this. i have recurrent shoulder dislocations and can work with them but cant drive on those days. this is aprox 80 per cent of the time. i have another operation scheduled for the enf of april which will ned 6 weeks in a sling and could have worked from home then but not now.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks, XXXXX XXXXX get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

Your rights will very much depend on whether your medical condition can be classified as a disability. This is not about being registered as disabled but meeting the legal definition of 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.


In your case allowing you to work from home could certainly amount to a reasonable adjustment, unless the employer can provide specific reasons why this is not considered reasonable. 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).



Thanks for that. Am i right that i should have been given reason for not being able to work from home? Also, is it correct that i should receive an e mail to tell mr to take leave or a week and then get told in a text message that i have to take longer after i hve taken the first week? I also receive treatment for deprssion. ( mild) and related to the disability, doe this change any of the above as maybe they could claim to not have to make any adjustments for that part? Do i need to get a letter from the doctor formally explaining the disability? The company are fully aware and always have been but will getting this in writing help at all?

Ben Jones :

Yes you have the right to know why this is not possible and challenge it if necessary. Depression can be a disability in its own right as long as it meets the definition I mentioned above. If you have a letter from a doctor that states you are likely to be considered disabled or at least explain your condition and matchi it to the definition of disability that would certainly help and prompt the employer to reconsider their position

Customer: Thanks
Ben Jones :

You are most welcome

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