Is this discrimination: Loyal worker... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Is this discrimination

Python101 profile image

Loyal worker forover 13 years with company. Had Heart surgery in 2013. Have been monitored by GP and NHS Ever since. As Driver need to take DVLA's treadmill test every year.

Question: DVLA wanted me to do follow up tests with GP and NHS. Had to taken time off work (for times this year) to attend clinics have surgery (Cardiogram and Endescopy).

Boss gave me an informal warning for taking time off work (Four times in a year). Each time was not more than a day or two. Except the initial one a year ago which was for a month. As DVLA and GP NHS were worried because of adverse effects of tablets I am on and the stress from work, made me unable to drive.

Informed workplace and showed them GP NHS letters and they gave me a warning about having time off to attend the clinics that DVLA and NHS sent me to.

Is this discrimination?

13 Replies

Hi Python101

In my opinion it is discrimination, they cannot warn you against issues that are health related but it is up to you to keep yourself reasonably fit and well and this is where most companies will use to put you on warnings. You do have rights under the employment equality act, if you are part of a union refer the matter to them, or if you feel you are being discrimated against firstly discuss it with your manager then a HR department or Personnel Department and raise a grievance. You can take the company to court if you are not happy with what they have to say. For any tests I’ve needed my companies policy is that as long as it’s a hospital appointment I don’t have to repay the time or take personal holiday time for it but it’s down to each company. Hope this helps, any questions just give us s shout.

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star

It is discrimination but it can be hard to fight against. Being a union member can help but IMHO most HR departments treat people as disposable as old PCs. I was once threatened with a written warming for being off sick for eleven days. The company had a badly worded rule of a maximum ten days in any one year period. My eleven days were continuous with a nasty infection that that knocked me back for nearly six months. Did management care - NO!

jimmyq profile image
jimmyq in reply to MichaelJH

I want a written warming!

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star in reply to jimmyq

I will keep an eye on your posts and issue one, in electronic format, as appropriate! :) Consider this a verbal one! :)

Joking apart I was told a written warning could affect my future career. My response was considering the circumstances most people would consider it irrelevant. I doubt anyone.would have ever seen it as the company was issued a winding up order not long after. I think my this was due to micro-management causing loss of focus on the real issues the company was facing.

You're now a big liability. They want to cut the loss and replace with a new "model". Unethical? Likely. "But", businesses want liability-free models (younger "maybe?" models with no "major health issues", with no baggage, that are freely available 24/7. Capitalism? It happens on the NHS, too. Bosses issue warnings. "you will soon be sacked, no excuse". I agree with Michael.

I am lgv driver, I have given my lisence up for now, not sure weather to reapply for lisence.

It all seems complex getting lisence back medical tests.Maybe its easier than I think, but I

dont want to get stressed out over it, plus the cost of it all.Not worked for a year, no benfits that seems the norm.You are left not knowing weather your well enough or not.

Male 62 leves in like a limbo land.Wishing your life away till you retire.

Thanks for your comments. CB says its because I had four times off this year for sickness. However as said first sickness was for a month and it was DVLA who stipulated that I must not go in to work. (Not my choice). 2nd and third were 1 day offs due to hospital attendances. 4th was because I felt my heart pains again and had to use my spray. So I went home (half day and had another day to see the GP).

For this I got a warning. all in all only 5 weeks in the year. Apparently Boss reckons he's not got me down as disabled?

People who are disabled are protected under the Equality Act. it's a very complex area of the law and you need somebody to advise you. It's not good being in a position where your boss has all the answers and you are vulnerable. Are you in a union or maybe somebody like Citizens Advice could help.


OK. Can I just say HR departments don't treat people like disposable anythings. They are bound by the rules and laws that are established by parliament, under which their organisation is meant to operate. Qualified (and quality) HR people would and should have talked to you about any problems arising from your absence as should your line manager before it gets as far as a warning of any sort.

You are not automatically entitled to paid or unpaid time off for hospital appointments. It is up to you to try and make sure that any tests etc are arranged so as to reduce the impact on work. Employers are usually pretty reasonable to a point, but some will expect you to take the time off your holiday or sick leave allowance, specifically where a day or more is involved.

Are you formally registered disabled as a result of the heart issue? If not then you are not protected by disability legislation. Therefore there is no discrimination.

Do check your contract of employment on the point of taking time off as that should give you clarity. If it is fuzzy, then ask for clarification - a lot of other people may well thank you for getting it sorted out. Do you need these tests because you are employed as a driver? If that is the case then I am surprised at any resistance to the tests. If the tests are to ensure that you are fit to drive your own personal vehicle then that is a totally different issue.

Warnings are usually given for an offence - if you are given one then ensure that you know precisely what the offence is and how it contravenes the organisational rules and your contract. Request that you have a witness to any interview. There are rules governing warnings, too - so look them up on the web. There is a lot of information available. If I wrote it all down here it would be lengthy indeed.

I was an HR professional and believe me - the law is a very tangled issue so I can't, based on your email, give a precise assessment. The best of luck. The CAB will assist you if there is one near you, by the way. The best of luck

in reply to CA1949

Well I can absolutely and categorically disagree with CA1949 for it is NEVER as simple as suggested, for HR departments are firstly paid employees of the organisation they represent and secondly, it is the interpretation of the guidelines that causes the problems which then can only be clarified in law or through the court system or tribunal. Common sense rarely comes into it. If your company does not have an HR policy with written guidelines on every subject which should be made available to any employee, you can get the information you require through the many employment advisory books available to buy or on line. CAB can be helpful but they are overworked and under great pressure and their time is rationed. If you are not in a union then you should see an employment solicitor - check your home contents insurance as they sometimes have a section for legal expenses. From a fresh perspective your month off work may have been the problem and just because you have had heart surgery does not make you "Disabled"

Good morning I’ve only just seen this and you may already have a solution.

Hope all has been resolved - employers don't have to care and we expect them to when we have been loyal. I totally get your situation. Mx

Under Equality legislation he should be making ‘reasonable adjustments’. As you need medication to stay well, you may well count as disabled, although not for benefits/badge etc. You have a non-visible disability in relation to your heart.

Reasonable adjustments would perhaps be you share the burden of the time off - the DVLA appointments perhaps by the employer, hospital appointments by you using AL/flexi/unpaid leave. To make it work it does need to be give and take. Sit down and have a conversation and agree what can be paid under reasonable adjustments and what you will cover yourself.

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