Log in
British Lung Foundation
37,673 members โ€ข 44,745 posts


Hi, I was diagnosed with COPD this time last year. Even though I informed my employer I was never advised to bring a letter from my doctor. My work load increased due to restructuring which involves heavy lifting and running up and down stairs, stress has exasperated it and on my last review my condition had worsened! My doctor has now informed my employer of my condition but not because they requested it! Is there anything I can do because I'm very sure I've been treated unfairly or I wasn't believed even though I told a manager, an assistant manager, a senior training manager and my area manager.

Thank you Karen

7 Replies
oldest โ€ข newest

Hi Karen, now that your GP has written to them, just to ensure it gets on your records, inform your employer's again, referencing the letter but it's important that you do it in writing. In your letter, request an urgent meeting with HR or a senior manager to discuss your work load and working arrangements. You have done everything you should do....you have a legal responsibility to inform in case anything happens at work. They, on the other hand, must make adjustments to your tasks to reflect your condition. You didn't mention of you have a union at work....if you have, they are the best way to get your voice heard.


Hi, no I'm not part of a trade union but I have a friend that is a union leader. Since my doctor sent them the letter they have made adjustments but it's a year down the line I'm afraid. Over the last year my workload increased and they could physically see I was struggling yet still I wasn't given any advise not only that I wasn't given any leeway to keep appointments for reviews which has resulted in my condition worsening. I often work in a stockroom that is either unbelievably hot in summer with no ventilation or freezing cold in winter with no heating. I can still do my job but obviously there are days that I struggle and it's very obvious when I am! I have worked for this company for 10yrs and so I know them very well and inturn they know me very well so out of sheer kindness and friendship I would've thought they would've advised me to get a letter from my gp but never once was I given that advise. I took the route of getting a letter from my doctors because of my workload and unfair shift patterns i.e. Working late and going home in freezing conditions when there are younger much fitter people than me that are fully capable of doing those shifts. I felt I couldn't refuse without a medical proffetionals backing. Yet adjustments were being made for colleagues who needed their hair and nails doing or wanted to pick their grandchildren up from school ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„. I haven't taken any sick days off yet there were days that I really needed to. Thank you for your reply it's been most helpful



Hi you need to ensure it is on their records and organise a meeting with your manager. As an employer they have a duty of care towards you under the Health and Safety Act at Work Act. Ask them to refer you to occupational health for their opinions if they are not sure how to proceed.

They have to make what are called Reasonable Adjustments in order for you to stay employed. These could be lessening of your workload, different duties, extra breaks, extra sick leave etc. If they don't make some adjustments then you would have a good case for tribunal if they decide to dismiss you or you feel you have no choice but to resign (constructive dismissal).

Bear in mind though that all RA are subject to Business Needs and that comes first. It's also a myth that an employer can't dismiss you due to illness because they can and do, but they do it under not fulfilling your contract by being at work. Semantics it may but this is how it's usually justified by them.

If you have a union or HR department at work get them involved. Or/as well as contact ACAS for further advice.

This advice only applies in the UK and I presume you are there. x


Hi Karen

Just be careful because I have had copd for over 2 years then in September I took bad and was diagnosed with asthma as well I had a doctors letter say the nightshift were making me worse they give me 6 weeks to sort myself out then put me back on nightshift so really I didnโ€™t get any help off them take care


That's not giving reasonable adjustment to your work situation!

Sometimes employers don't understand their obligations to sick employees....

They must make reasonable adjustments, not just short term ones!

Saddening to hear but better for you to know your rights, even if company doesn't!

Your condition is permanent, yes?

Then so must be adjustments....

Only if they can't manage without you on nightshift could they dismiss you and even then correct procedures must be followed or they will be guilty of constructive dismissal.....

Good luck...



Similar thing happened with my diagnosis. I am in the States and worked in a very dusty environment and had to eventually resign and then retire. It is not up to the employer to request anything. Make sure you notify your employer of any changes in writing, your doctor should give you a letter of restrictions that they either have to abide by, if they cannot, you will have to resign and then go through the courts for any type of compensation. Keep everything in writing and keep copies, and in the States...get a lawyer that does worker rights. This was back in 10/2015 for me and is just now going to a hearing for workers comp.

1 like


Hi, you may find it a bit late to complain. Are you a member of a trade union, if so get hold of the shop steward and they should take action to help.



You may also like...