British Lung Foundation
34,333 members41,703 posts

employer trying to get rid of me help!

after six months of illness and investigation I was finally diagnosed with an unusual type of emphysema I have no obstruction or cough but my gas exchange is down to 40% and 60% of my lung surface area is lost ,the consultant says I am moderate/severe.I finally returned to work in January since then I have had three days when I was not well and in July I was ill again for 4 weeks it turns out I have sleep apnea as well as emphysema apparently not uncommon with copd. I work for an aerospace company and despite letters from the company's own doctor saying that I would have problems like this my employer has now given me a written warning for sickness what can I do ? apparently it is against company policy to be dying whilst under there employ

9 Replies

Hello gaffers :)

I'm sorry to hear you're having this trouble. Whilst I appreciate that employers have to look at the profit & loss situation of having staff off sick, I do think that they aren't as caring as they were many years ago.

Do you have a Union representative you can discuss this with ? Failing that I would have a free 30min consultation with a Solicitor specialising in Employment Law.

Good luck with your efforts :)


This is worth looking at:


Under the equality act ( formerly Disability discrimination act ) they cannot get rid of you for your illness - can i suggest you give BLF a ring - if they don't know the answer they will be able to give you the number of someone who can.

i don't know if these will help

Q.. We have an employee who has been off sick for almost six months, and shows no sign of recovering. Can we dismiss them?

A.Possibly. Incapability is one of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal. But first you need to consider whether the employee's ill health amounts to a disability under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. If so, you might need to show that your treatment of them was for reasons unconnected to their disability - unless such treatment could be justified because the reasons for it were material to the case, and substantial.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ruled that prolonged absence because of disability may be treated in the same way as prolonged absence because of sickness, but you would still need to show that the reason for the dismissal could not be removed by a 'reasonable adjustment' to the employee's working conditions - otherwise it is discrimination. If the employee suffers from long-term ill health, an Employment Tribunal would certainly expect you to do everything you can to keep him or her on, if necessary including an offer of alternative employment.

However, if - after consultation with the employee and a medical investigation - there is no prospect of the employee returning to work, and you cannot keep the position open indefinitely, you may be able to dismiss on the grounds of 'incapability' - even where, as recent cases before the Court of Appeal and Queen's Bench Division have indicated, the employee is entitled to substantial damages because that incapability has been caused by the employer's own failure to recognise the risk of breakdown caused by stress.

To avoid a successful claim for unfair dismissal, you must be able to show that you acted reasonably in treating the absence as a reason to dismiss, and that you acted fairly before dismissing.

this regards disciplinary action - the starred one should apply to you

TM12: ATTENDANCE AND DISABILITY (for relevant law see notes at Disability Discrimination )

If you treat somebody less favourably for a reason connected to a disability, you commit discrimination which can be very expensive!

*****As far as attendance is concerned, you would commit discrimination if you disciplined someone for poor attendance and the reason for that poor attendance is connected to their disability. As you will see below, you may have a defence to such discrimination if it is objectively justified.

The legal issues surrounding disability are very complex. It is highly recommended that if you are in doubt about whether or not one of your employees has a disability, you should behave cautiously and treat them as if they do.

The objective of this TM is to help you to spot disability issues when they arise. When they do, you need to be extra cautious, and it is recommended that you get advice from your h2r adviser.

sorry its so long but i hope it helps


Yep - just like Krazy said...

And take legal advice if you don't have a union.


It just goes to show how different employer's react to sickness I have been off 3 months + they are sorting me an office downstairs, can go back just a couple hours a day trying their best for me. Just wish all employers were the same! Val


Some great advice above.


thanks for the good advice and help everybody i have decided to appeal wish me luck


Gaffers, whereabouts are you? If you're in tbe Midlands area i have details of a fantastic employment law solicitor...


I live in Devon but i am in the union and we will fight it as my chances of going 12 months without sickness with severe emphysema are non existent. I feel like a character I read about once who was condemned to death but given a reprieve if he could teach the sultans favorite horse to sing in twelve months, when asked how he felt he said "a lot can happen in a year, perhaps i will die or the sultan might change his mind or maybe the sultan will die and who knows? maybe the horse will learn to sing!"


You may also like...