legal matter

hi I have copd and asthma quite bad, and sometimes I cannot work because of it due to either being hospitalised or just not able to get out of bed..

anyway I received a verbal warning from work yesterday as they said my absence is unacceptable and they also said that copd isn't covered under the disability discrimination act and that if I continue to have time off due to my asthma/copd then I will likely to be dismissed from my job, can anyone please tell me where I legally stand???

11 Replies

  • Very hard question that one.I would recomend in the first instance have a word with the citizen advice,, they are mainly proffesional people who give there time for free to help people in your situation.. hope it goes well for you.

  • I found this. I hope it may help.

  • Google " COPD Disability Discrimination Act 2005 ". Some councils recognise it as a disability.

  • Pease get some advice from a legal person. There are so many variables in this that the company may well be within their rights to dismiss you - type of job you do, size of company, no of days absent, etc., etc. It can be a minefield. I do not know where you live, but wonder if you have access to a Law Centre, where you can get some free advice .. most large towns/cities have one somewhere tucked away. Google may help in the search. Good luck.

  • I have had another spell off work due to my COPD and recently had to go into work and see there own occupational therapist, and was told that the firm has a duty to try all reasonable steps to help me back to work, and that my condition was covered by the equality act.

    So i think it may be worth getting in touch with the cab and asking them for help.

  • COPD may not be specifically covered, but not much is by name. The DDA defines disability as:

    'A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out day-to-day activities.'

    I take it you have had medical certificates from your GP to cover the periods of absence from work. Under the terms of the DDA you need to define any impairment, and the list includes mobility and manual dexterity, amongst others.

    There is a very good explanation at :-

    I'm no doctor or solicitor and do not know you personally to define how bad your condition is. You would need to have evidence, by way of medical reports on your diagnosis and current state of health if your employer carries out their threat. In the meantime, you need to approach them formally, perhaps using a letter drafted with help from an organisation like the CAB or DIAL, stating just how the DDA does cover you.

    ALL employers have an obligation to make provision for an employee with a chronic illness under the act. You do need some professional help on your side though. You can get up to 15 minutes free advice using the Which? Legal Service - which is working with the CAB on this, you need to call a special number, 01992 822 866 to take this up, or you can join the scheme for £34 a year under their current half-price offer :) That gives you unlimited access - probably worth it in your case ?

  • If you are a member of a union at work speak to them. Of course you are covered under the Equality Act - you have a long term medical condition. Even if they were in the right to give you a verbal warning the fact that they said you not covered under the DDA - which is now the Equality act, is bullying and harrrasment. Anyone who has a long term illness or disability etc should be allowed more leniancy with amount of time off work. Sadly this leniancy can not be indefinate and people with disabiliites can still be sacked under health grounds / capability to do their job. But employer has to ensure that they have taken all reasonable steps and made "reasonable adjustments" in the work place.

    Hope this helps - putting people under stress is never a good way to sort out sickness issues!

  • Hi fuzzy99, as your title suggests this a very grey area of the disability law and needs the advice of someone conversant in the current disability employment laws. If you have a local law center they may be able to advise free, otherwise my experience says your local job centre disability officer may be able to advise online or telephone. COPD is a disability in respect of DDA but as an illness not sure what the employer is obliged to do. They are allowed to question your return to work after a certain amount of time as with any other illness.You need help as quickly as possible before your employer takes the next steps towards the sack, as this can happen quite quickly and you end up unemployed as well as ill. Good luck with finding some help with this.

  • Not a grey area at all. The Act covers you. Get legal advice. Good luck.

  • Hi tizzy like ur self I was given a verbal warning when I returned to work I was absent due to lung condition and chronic asthma they company also sent me to there occupational health team they cannot hold ur asthma against u on a scenes because I was told it was a disability and is covered by the equality act.

  • Hi all together,

    I have actually the same problem at the moment with my Employer it goes on and on. I had already 2 Disciplinary because of it and they got last year a Doctors report and want another one for this year, well they got it already and want to send me to OCC.Health with Bupa in Sept. I just spoken with Unite from my partner, and he told me I shall talk to my GP if COPD is under the EQ act. Also told that my Doctor shall cancel this appointment when it under the act. So I also been on Website for a while to find it. But I believe I have to wait till next week that I can speak to my GP. Also my employer has done nothing to help me to improve my health, because of security reason they have no windows to open, only a aircon that is not working properly. So I will wait what will happened.

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