Asthma UK community forum

Disability at work

Apologies if this has already been discussed - couldn't find any previous posts on the subject. At what point can you class your asthma as causing you to be covered under the disability act? I am a severe uncontrolled asthmatic and missing lots of time off work - have had 2 disciplinary meetings already! Was just wondering if I could be covered under the act and could ask for allowances to be made?



5 Replies

The company I worked for, before I was advised to take early retirement by my Consultant, could have not been more helpful. I was always better first thing in morning so I would start between 0645 and 0700 and leave at1400. Even though I was off 1 week in every 3, there was no employment termination threat.

I believe employers have the right to ensure their employees are not discriminated against on disability grounds and, severe asthma is classed as a disability. However employers also have to ensure their business is not being disrupted by frequent absences and may have the right to terminate employment on these grounds.

It would be worth checking out with Citizen Advice on this point.


Hi Sarah

Asthma is covered under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) - but you will probably need some sort of occ health appt and a report to your managers (or if you don't have occ health - ask your manager / HR to write to your GP / consultant for a report) to confirm that this is the case, and also that as a result you are likely to have an increased level of absence from work.

Under the DDA a company has a responsibility to put in place reasonable adjustments to ensure that you are on a ""level playing field"" with everyone else - reasonable adjustments are many and varied, and usually at least some of them will be suggested by occ health / gp etc - and can include: allowances for higher than average absence if asthma related (i.e. less disciplinary hearings and warnings etc), reduced hours, working from home, additional breaks, allowances for doc appts, fan at desk etc etc - is specific to the individual and their needs. e.g. I have now been set up to be able to work form home one day a week to stop me getting over tired, and also I can work from home whenever I'm not feeling great - in an attempt to catch it early and have less time off - and without having to be off sick as I'm still working even if it is from bed!

Did you bring your asthma up in your disciplinary hearings and if so what was the response? I would advise that you speak to your manager and HR and ask for either an occ health appt or whatever your company does regarding health at work (may be its writing a letter to your gp or consultant wiht a list of questions to be answered) and then have some reasonable adjusments agreed and documented.

If you want any more advice or questions answered e.g. what questions to ask - feel free to pm me

Hope the post makes sense!

Good luck

Cal xxx


While I still have some issues with my employer, this is no longer one of them.

They use the bradford index(No of days absent x No. of times absent x No. of times absent) as a trigger point for action over sickness giving everyone an allowance of 100. I have both epilepsy and asthma ( agreed to be disabilities by my employer) either of which could mean odd days off. 5 individual days off would take the index over 100. At one stage I had an index of 780. We have now agreed that time off due to my disabilities is excluded from the calculation which makes a huge difference. They do, of course, have the right to use their capability (ill health) procedure if time off due to disabilities becomes a serious problem. Current Bradford index is 0.

Hope that's of some help




Me too!

I'm sad to say I can really sympathise with you. I'm in the same situation facing disciplinary action for having another week off due to asthma. Each time I've been off I've been hospitalised and covered by sick notes by my doctor. Thought this would cover me but apparantly the company can then use failing to meet contract against you.

I understand companies need their employees in work but how can some of them be accomodating and others not. At least we are still trying to stay in work which some days I wonder why I bother. As regards the DDA i think asthma is covered but you have to prove certain criteria. The wording is very grey and can be interpreted in different ways.

I've been in touch with my local CAB and have a contact e-mail in case the company tries anything again to get advice quickly. Maybe you could do something similar? I hope you can get somewhere work takes up a large amount of our day and its not nice when you are being disciplined for something you can't help. In fact the stress can often make the situation worse.

Good luck & let us know how you get on

Take care



Hi Sarah and Rabbit,

I know exactly where you're coming from as I was in that position about 15 months ago, every time I had any time off work (which I only did when in hospital, coming straight back to work as soon as I was back home, probably quite foolishly) I was pulled into disciplinaries. I did eventually lose my job (if you search through the boards you'll find threads to do with all of this). I could have fought it and given how badly it was handled would probably have been able to win if I'd taken it to court but I wasn't well and didn't want to face the stress and hassle involved in that so instead I put my efforts into finding a different job where my employers would be more understanding. Just to encourage you, I am now in a job where I know I will not have any problems. I was upfront with my employers from the start so they knew about my asthma, and how I'd been treated in my previous employment. Now I've actually been told a couple of times that I've come back to work too soon after being ill and they keep telling me not to worry about it. If either of you, or anyone else in this sort of situation, would like to chat more, I've only brushed the surface here, then please PM me and I'll be happy to share more, give you any advise I can from my experience. Most importantly, your health has to come first... take care and I really hope things improve for you both health and work-wise.

love Fi x


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