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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 70853
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I'm looking for any information about employers

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Good afternoon. I'm looking for any information about employers discriminating their employees by not letting them to work because of their mental health state.
JA: Have you discussed this discrimination issue with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I spoke with HR, they refused to pay me in full, only SSP, but I'm fully fit to work. I want to write them an email or raise a grievance, but I'm looking for some laws or regulations that would protect my state.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I'm full-time employed with a company
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not at the moment

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

How long have you worked there for? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I've been sent home due to my incapability to wear a visor at my work place. The employer stated that I'm not fit to work and didn't allow me to wear any other protection except the visor. I have a doctors notice for that I'm claustrophobic. They should be paying me in full, because I'm fully fit to work, but are refusing to do so. I've been working with the company for about one and a half year, but sign a contract on March this year.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
The protection is required due to Covid and I've been informed that I will not be able to go back to work up until the pandemic is going to end.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I spoke with ACAS, they informed me about my chance to get a full payment for my days off work, because SSP is only paid to a person if he/she asked for it, which I didn't. I know my employer is fully aware of that and don't want to help me out. I just need to find legal regulations protecting my state, so I could use them to tell my employer what they should do in my case.

Thank you very much for clarifying. Are you able to wear other PPE which is still considered suitable in the circumstances, such as face mask?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I'm, but they do not allow me to do that. They are saying that if I'm gonna wear it that the other employees are going to want to do that too, which is not a very good answer considering me staying at home and not getting paid because of that

Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation. I agree that the employer’s reasoning is poor because the reason you cannot wear the face shield is not because you simply do not want to do so, but because you have a legitimate medical reason for it. So even if the employer may feel that others will suddenly start making requests for alternative PPE, without any medical or health reasons for such requests, the employer can easily and legally reject these.

Your overall employment rights will very much depend on whether you are considered disabled because of your condition. The legal definition of a ‘disability’ can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that can qualify. Potentially, any condition or ailment can amount to a disability if it meets the required criteria.

That criteria are contained in The Equality Act 2010, which 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 and examine it in more detail below:

- Physical or mental impairment – this can include practically any medical condition, be it a physical or mental impairment

- Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial

- Long-term - 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. shopping, reading and writing, having a conversation or using the telephone, watching television, getting washed and dressed, preparing and eating food, carrying out household tasks, walking and travelling by various forms of transport, and taking part in social activities)

Please also take a look at this detailed guide on determining if you are disabled:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/discrimination-at-work/checking-if-its-discrimination/check-if-youre-disabled-under-the-equality-act/

If a person satisfies the necessary criteria, they will be classified as being disabled in a legal sense and will have automatic protection against discrimination. This 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. The most obvious one here is allowing you to wear alternative PPE which does not impact your condition.

If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments, that would potentially amount to disability discrimination, which is unlawful. The first step to try and deal with this would be to raise a formal grievance.

If the grievance does not have the desired effect and the discrimination continues, a claim may have to be made for disability discrimination in the Employment Tribunal. The most important requirement with that is it must be submitted within 3 months of the alleged discriminatory act taking place. The next steps to start the process would be to initiate what is known as an ‘early conciliation’ procedure through ACAS, either online by filling in the following form (https://tell.acas.org.uk/find-a-solution-to-your-employment-dispute), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you so much, this is very helpful.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Will do. Take care

Many thanks