Endometriosis / disability

I have a quick question - I have been called to a formal meeting at which HR has suggested is to decide whether or not to terminate my contract due to my sickness levels. They are aware that I suffer from endometriosis and that I have a large ovarian cyst (10cm and growing), as well as asthma (often affected by the endo as well as the recent heatwave). I've been on progestone but its likely that I will need an op- at the very least to remove the cyst.

I have been in touch with ACAS and he Equality Advisory Support Service as they feel this qualifies under the Equality Act as has been recognised as disability (so would come under the Disability Discrimination Act?) Do you know if endometriosis is recognised as a disability? (They also mentioned somethng about protected characteristics)

I'm trying to see my own GP to find out if this is the case, but just wondering if you were aware of endometriosis being recognised as a disability, and if so,where I might find more information.

24 Replies

  • I am sorry I can't help you on this subject but I would like to follow the post to find out your outcome. I hope you get the answers you are looking for xx

  • hi I can't help with your question but I am going to follow as I am in a very similar situation to yours xx

  • I have been told that endometriosis isn't recognised as a disability but that the list isnt exhaustive. So even though it isn't on there specifically it may still be covered depending on how it affects you.

    I hope that makes sense.


  • Hi

    I had an ohs assessment at work because I had had 4 spells of sickness in a year (total of 5 days! Cos I usually struggle on with the pain) my assessor was lovely. Luckily she was a woman which I think helped her sympathise. She advised my employer as I had bee suffering with endometrial complications for more than a year it should be classed as a disability under the disability discrimination act

  • No it's not classed as a disability but it can prohibite u from getting jobs in many things such as miltary and airlines, I am arguing with the esa at the moment coz I'm really bad atm and I am in pain 24/7 but coz I can breathe I am fit for work, no but because I don't dose my self up on painkillers 24/7 they say I can't be in that much pain but I'm scared of what they are doing to me as I don't need any other health problem I only take them when I can't handle the pain anymore

  • I really can't take it when someone official says: you can't be in that much pain. Wtf do they know? It's our bodies... We don't even know long term side effects of all these drugs and hormones. I also try to bear the pain when i can, because I am a bit concerned about the amount of drugs I am ending up on. We are better off apparently just swallowing the pills for evidence!

  • Ye I and walking round zombied but that's if u can stay awake that long 😂 I have to laugh or I'd cry and not stop, I been told today coz I get a bus I'm fit for work but it's not like I have £££ to get taxis everywhere to get to my mums it's £20 so I'm not sure how else I'm ment todo do it 😂 this government and system we have in place is bonkers

  • What's even more ridic is the scammers who all these 'rules' are meant to catch/stop all too frequently are still getting away with it!

  • Exactly I know loads of people who they've said no too and people who lie and got told yes too, and what's worse the health team they've got working with them are full of shit x

  • sorry to hear you are in so much pain GemX85x - I hope you feel better soon and get a positive result with the esa. Wishing wellness and good luck! x

  • Thanks hun I am used to feeling like this now it's starting to be a normal day of living xx

  • Hi all thanks for getting back to me and sorry that there so many of you in the same awful situation. I think my best chance at the moment is that I can show that my employers haven't followed the procedures set out their own sickness policy , but this doesn't address the underlying issue of endo being a seriously debilitating condition which should be recognised as a disability and also that this is gender specific. I'm now even worrying about going for an op as this will mean more time off! Anyway love and support to all - I hope you can find some help and respite with your conditions xx

  • I have recently under gone an occupational health assessment that work referred me for as I have been off since April and cannot go back until u have my hysterectomy,which I was told was going to be early August but have just found out today it is now go in be Sep !!!! The lady who did the assessment wrote on the reply I would be classed as disabled so yes I think you would it just depends on you how the pain effects you, what qualifies you as disabled is I you have been in pain longer than a year, cannot do normal things like drive, clean up, sit for long period of times stand for long period of times etc.

    I wish you luck and please keep us up dated.

    Sending hugs x

  • dk1136 - I'm really sorry that you have been put in this situation - a hysterectomy is a major operation - I hope everything works out for you. My mum, aunty and nana have all had hysterectomies, and I fear that I may end up having to go down the same route. I hope not because I'm petrified of having an operation.

    Keep me posted x

  • Anytime you want to chat just message me ok xx

  • I always understood a condition/disease as being classed as disabled if it had a significant long term impact on day to day living (ability to do normal self care tasks like dressing, washing, driving, shopping, cooking and also on ability to work etc). If the endo is badly affecting you such that you cannot get into work and can't look after yourself without help then I don't really see how it can be excluded.

    Having said that, this site is very helpful in putting the legislation into context and addressing exclusions etc - gov.uk/definition-of-disabi...

  • Thanks for the link Mabes - I will check these out! :-) x

  • What is upsetting is that I work with someone who is consistently rude, aggressive and unprofessional. Even though there have been complaints from people outside of the team, my line manager refuses to address the issue... yet seems happy to penalise me for a condition over which I have very little control. It seems my employer will tolerate inappropriate behaviour, but not unavoidable illness. The stress caused by my colleage has exacerbated the situation. When I am stressed it really aggravates the endo - today has been pretty bad pain wise. I'm meeting my union rep and have been preparing my documentation (think this has probably elevated my stress levels).

    I also have asthma and recently had 2 chest infections one month apart (both times requiring antibiotics and steroids) - the 2nd infection occuring during the recent heatwave (temps reaching nearly 37 degrees). My GP signed me off. My line manager asked at what temperature did I think I would be able to breathe well enough to come back to work!

  • (this does make me think do I really want to work for an organisation like this, but I am so worried that I won't be able to get aniother job with my current sickness record... )

  • HI, yes can be covered as a disability depending on whether you meet the criteria (the DDA was replaced by the Equality Act 2010). There is no defined list of conditions as it is more about how your condition affects YOU on a regular basis. The reason the conditions are not specified is because everyone responds to illnesses in different ways, even the most serious such as cancer can affect people differently. What you need to do is see if your GP will consider your current status (and future status) as being covered by the act; if it helps, it must be: "a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities."

    So for instance, if your endo means your daily or regular activities such as going to work, walking distances of say around a mile or more, cleaning the house, etc. are too difficult to do on a regular (not necessarily daily) basis, then you would be covered. NOTE: employers cannot discriminate against you but it should be noted that does not mean that you cannot be dismissed. If you're unable to work, and the firm's reasonable adjustments are still not helping then they are within their rights to dismiss you on medical grounds. I hope this helps.

  • Sorry I also should have explained about reasonable adjustments; for instance, my employer allows me to work from home sometimes when it's very bad as it's dangerous for me to drive to work though I recognise I am quite lucky (I work for a public sector body and they tend to be better but not always). So, I am able to work and do so with a log kept of what hours I manage (we also have flexi which helps). So if you can show that you are trying to make reasonable adjustments too - i.e. I never claim overtime on days I do more than normal hours because they're good at letting me work from home - I hope this makes sense. If you want more specific advice, send me a private message.

  • maria7800 - thank you for the info. I think from what you describe my condtion would meet the criteria set out in the Equality Act 2010 (alongside asthma and mental health issues stemming from the physical health issues). My GP has written a strongly worded letter to that effect... however, it is so strongly worded that I now worry my organisation would look at it and wonder how I ever possibly made it into work to begin with! (I wonder myself)

    The outcome of my formal meeting has not yet been decided, but I do not think they have grounds for dismissal at this point since nothing has been put in place to support me. Will PM you if I need more advice following their decision. Thanks! :-) xx

  • Hi sorry its taken me a while to get back - I've spent the last week doing all the prep for the Formal Meeting, which was then closed within 10 minutes when it became clear that neither my line manager or HR had followed the procedures set out in the organisations sickness policy. They have now asked to see my medical records and I have asked to see someone in OH. So far no reasonable adjustments have been put in place. The matter hasn't been fully resolved yet...

    Also I didn't know how to re-find my thread!

  • What you need to do is record - by taking notes or if possible use a digital recorder (but you'll need to inform them that's what you're doing although you don't need their permission). all meetings, notes, discussions (formal or informal). All procedures must be followed (or if they dismiss it would be classed automatically as unfair dismissal).

    Furthermore, they cannot dismiss based only upon your medical records particularly if you have been making good efforts to attend work and been attending for most of the time. Unless your work productivity (and their own) is affected, you can argue that disability is not affecting your work adversely. Your firm will be required to ask for occupational health assessment before they make any determination as to your employability. Hope this helps but yes do PM if you have any specific queries or questions.

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