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Work and brittle asthma

the past year my asthma has declined prettily steadily, a lot of emergency admissions etc. I've been told it's brittle asthma been on steroids have good days and bad days but life has changed pretty dramatically.

As you can imagine this effects work greatly, (I teach English in senior schools) mainly because I'm unreliable. And it's taking me longer to get over attacks etc because I've had quite a few. Plus my some days i get out of breath really quickly. My work have been understanding but my occupational health advisor for work have spoken with my consultant and have said they think I should be dismissed on medical grounds.

I am devastated however I completely understand they can not let this go on from their point of view. They need a teacher who can be there all the time.

My question is, what now? what kind of work can you do when your so unreliable? I have been told I can apply for benefits etc but I really want to work. I know there is hope and they may find some way to stabilise this but till then what am I meant to do??

6 Replies

Unlike some work-related issues we see on here it appears that your employers are following a lawful process, but if you haven't already I would still talk to your union. Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments & assess alternatives so you at least need to make sure they are doing that in a robust & legal way.

Other than that, pop into your nearest Job Centre Plus & ask to see one of their specialist advisors that deal with people with health problems. This is important because if you do find yourself unemployed then you need to avoid the normal process which would see you expected to go for any & every job you can. The special advisers though will divert you from that.

If you're struggling let us know as I can probably dig out more detailed information on DWP processes.

1 like

I really do understand how you are feeling as I went through a similar situation last year. I am a nurse and love my job but was worrying about how I could do it. I spoke to my consultant and my boss we explored the possibility of me reducing my hours which puts less pressure on me (paid pro rata of course). We tested it out over 3 then 6 months and now this is permanent. I work three days a week, and have had only 1 day off sick in a year and that was not asthma related! It's worth having a think about putting together a plan of how you think it could work and discussing with your boss, as Minushabens says, your employers have a legal responsibility under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments. Good luck!


I would also ask your union rep to read the Equality Act 2010! Asthma is known to be a medical condition with comes under the auspices of the policy.

It isn't just the disease that is covered but also the impact the disease has. Before your employer dismisses you on health grounds I'd flag this policy up!!! It's the old disability act.

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Hey guys,

Thank you for your advice. My work are doing things properly for sure it's completely within their rights and they have actually been very good to me.

It's just devastating it's happening


What is brittle Asthma?


Hi there They can't do that legally but can bully you yes. I was teaching to and got sickness notices with the new council policy on absenteism.

I felt better because I wasn't the only one getting pressure the other colleague had diabetes so we both had recognised chronic illness and they picked on us. Just time off to get to hospital appointments was looked upon.

I was paying for my own medical certificates because I was getting paranoid they thought I was skiving.

Anyway got referred to the occupational health and they wrote to the Head and said he would have to accept the situation.

But he never did really and kept on hinting. In the end I retired early at 57 and went into adult education. I missed the kids terribly but couldn't put up with the doubt and pressure any more. Then I got to like it. A change for the best.


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