Asthma UK community forum
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Asthma Attacks and Disaplinary action


I am new to this site and was looking for a bit of advice. I have had asthma all my life and i am now 25 years old. My Asthma has been getting worse over the years and especially since giving birth to my daughter 4 years ago. At present I am prone to an asthma attack if i catch a cold and i am in hospital about 6-7 times a year from it. I always end up on steroids and antibiotics which work (until the next time)

I work full time in an office and i have never called in sick because i have a cold or headache which most people do, however i do have to call in sick if i have had a asthma attack. sometimes it takes me about a week to recover sometimes i am back at work the next day. I have had to have a about 5 different occasions off work in the past year due to asthma attacks. I have got to the point tho (like today) where i have a asthma attack in the morning and will have to go to work in the afternoon.

The reason for this is because of my delightul manager, I am getting constant disaplinarys and have been told if i take anymore time off i will get my final written notice. I am not really sure what i can do or if there is anyway around this because i didnt choose to have asthma and i would love to not have asthma attacks all the time. So it seems i am about to lose my job which i must add i am bloody good at because of an illness that i will have to live with forever and there is not much i can do about it.

I am not with a union but i am looking into this now, i have previously asked my employer whether they have disability related sickness allowence to which they advised me they dont even though they are a very large well known company.

if anyone can offer me some advice i would be very grateful.



7 Replies

Hi, sorry you are having such a rotten time.

Have a look for Acas (think thats how you spell it) on the internet, they will advise on work situation, you don't have to be a member.



joining a union sounds like it might be a wise idea.

My understanding is that Asthma is treated as a disability under the disability discrimination act and as such you cant be disciplined for disability related absence from work. Your employer is discriminating against you because you have a long term health condition that you have no control over.

I would try and get an appointment with the CAB and ask them to help you look at your rights, im so sorry that your work are being so difficult- it cant be helping your health and they should know better if they are a large company xx



I'm in a similar position but dealing with competency rather than disciplinary. I have had a number of short absences after asthma attacks or to try and prevent them which has led to reaching trigger points. I was told not to come in if not completely fit and then when I am off it is questioned. I have also been guilty of going back too early and then starting a new period of absence. I work for the council so management structure is a bit different. I asked the respiratory nurse at the hospital about this (she is very knowledgeable about impact on life etc) and she said it was a case of disability discrimination and there are certain things my work could do to help. I then contacted my union with this information. Apparently it still counts as trigger points, they can't use this against me when looking at performance or need a lot of evidence that I am not capable of doing my job. I have also seen occupational health to help support my absence but also to look into making changes to prevent problems like exposure to allergens. If you work for a large company, there should be occupational health available. I'm still in a bit of a battle with work but slowly getting the right support. I hope your company can help you with this.



A company just cannot sack you for illness only gross misconduct such as theft etc etc, there are ways they have to carry out procedures usually 2 verbal warnings and then a final written warning, what they can do however is state that you are unfit for work and dismiss you, its not sacking you and is usually the last resort. If you can prove from your GP/consultant that you are fit for work and produce some sort of evidence it MAY go in your favour, but i agree with the rest of the postings speak to ACAS as they are brilliant at this sort of thing. I must just add ususally there are steps before the final written warning you and your employer must take like reasonable measures to sort absences out. Also speak to Asthma UK nurses as they might have some bright ideas as well and who to approach. Also if they are a large well known company they must have an HR or legal advisers you can speak to also you can have 30 free with any solicitor but try and get one with occupational qualififcations as they should know this stuff inside out

hope this helps and good luck


You are protected by the Equality Act and the old DDA. You have a illness that is a disability and puts you at risk. I was retired on ill health grounds a long time ago in my mid 20's. I didn't work for several years. I now work again but obviously have a different job and less hours than before. I had great help from the Disability Employment advisors at the Job centre and did a trial of working which also protected my incapacity benefit for 12 months if I couldn't cope and had an additional payment on top of my wage.

You should be referred to Occupational Health by your employer. How may employees does your company have? As there are laws to protect your rights. By the way I am also a union rep at my place of work, so please join a union asap, they helped me with a phase return to work which was unsuccessful and tried redeployment also.


Excuse spellings asked how many in company.

Also you are entitled reasonable adjustment in the work place and possible flexible working patterns for health related issues.


Hi there I totally understand how u feel.iam 25 also and have recived a final warning over my asthma.i have also been bullied and made fun of as wel.i finely had enuf one day and wrote a Grivance letter to my employer saying I was no longer going to tolerate their behaviour to someone with a disability.i had a meeting with head office a few days later and they are investigating.i don't place much trust in them thou as the wer quite dismissive at the hearing.

Please hang in there and don't let them where you down that's what they want.

Take care


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