Asthma and work

Hi everyone!

I'm after a little bit of advice! I have quite severe asthma which deteriorates very quickly when I'm exposed to a trigger and I currently work in a bakery. The dust/flour on the bread makes me wheeze and the steam from the ovens makes my chest tight which isn't nice but I can handle it. We've just got new cleaning chemicals which make my chest really bad and I've had several hospital admissions as a result of them.

The real problem though is my boss. She HATES me going on sick leave and gets in a real strop because it messes up the rotas. I've been off sick 2 times already this year because of asthma and she gets worse every time. She complains that I don't follow procedure properly when I do and still picks fault at what I've done and makes me feel really guilty. She says its unfair of me to leave them in the lurch and that I need to work as part of a team. I have tried to explain that I get very little warning of an impending asthma attack but she doesn't understand. She makes me feel so unwelcome when I return to work and makes me feel like I'm more trouble that I'm worth and I just don't know what to do.

I am leaving for uni in September so it is possible for me to leave work now and just make do until then but I don't want to leave solely because of my boss because then she has effectively won. But the last thing I need when recovering from an ITU admission is the worry about what my boss is going to say and blame me for when I return.

I just don't know what to do or how to cope with her. I don't really want to leave work but she makes me feel like I have no other option

4 Replies

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  • Hi Libbie

    Many people think that an illness that isn't visible doesn't exist. Your boss is clearly one of these and needs educating. There is plenty of information available on the website so I would suggest printing off anything relevant and giving it to her (be tactful and suggest that you may not have been clear about the way asthma works). Alternatively, your GP or consultant might be prepared to write to the company.

    You will see elsewhere in the forum some discussion about the legality of making your life difficult because you have an illness and you might want to take some advice from those threads.

    Finally, I wonder if a bakery is the best place to work when you have asthma. You have referred to the flour and steam making you wheeze and it is possible that you would be less troubled by the chemical cleaning materials if your lungs weren't already throwing a hissy fit. Have a chat with your GP about it and see what he/she thinks.

    Good luck

    Annie

  • Hi Annie,

    Thank you for your reply!

    You're right, a bakery really isn't the best place to work, I was trying to make it do until I start uni in September. But it doesn't matter now, I've had my employment terminated because I'm not suitable for the job and its too difficult to keep finding cover apparently. I've read some of the stuff on here talking about the legal side of it all and I'm not really sure how it works with my situation, it feels like it's more my fault than my boss's. But still, theres no point crying over spilt milk, it's happened and I'll just have to get on with it. But right now, I absolutely HATE asthma

    Libbie

  • Hi Annie,

    Thank you for your reply!

    You're right, a bakery really isn't the best place to work, I was trying to make it do until I start uni in September. But it doesn't matter now, I've had my employment terminated because I'm not suitable for the job and its too difficult to keep finding cover apparently. I've read some of the stuff on here talking about the legal side of it all and I'm not really sure how it works with my situation, it feels like it's more my fault than my boss's. But still, theres no point crying over spilt milk, it's happened and I'll just have to get on with it. But right now, I absolutely HATE asthma

    Libbie

    Hi , just signed up and your the first post I read

    I myself had the exact same situation with my current employer 5 months back, so I know exactly how you feel, but there are things you can do even though they've dismissed you (eg appeal on grounds of unfair dismissal because they didn't make reasonable adjustments to the workplace especially reading your situation).

    I'm not a Solicitor, I have just the same thing twice happen to me with 2 different Employers in the past and it just really really annoys me as most of them just don't understand the difference between a mild Asthmatic and a chronic one so I'm just going on experience.

    Feel free to contact me if I can be any help

  • Libbie, I'm so sorry about your job - it's so unfair!

    LivingwithAsthma may be able to help you to appeal, or possibly your local CAB might have some ideas.

    I hope you find something to keep you going until you go to uni in September

    Good luck

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