Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Help me please!is fibromyalgia covered under disability discrimination act 1995 in terms of employment??

My manager (no doubt covered by my employers sickness policies) has arranged a stage one sickness meeting as ive had a month off work due to fibro and family stress,im trying to figure out if the disability disctimination act 1995 recognises fibro???i urgently need a reply people as the meeting is in five days an i want to put a strong case across

8 Replies

The equality Act 2010 explains

Section 6: DisabilityEffect38.This section establishes who is to be considered as having the protected characteristic of disability and is a disabled person for the purposes of the Act. With Schedule 1 and regulations to be made under that Schedule, it will also establish what constitutes a disability. Where people have the same disability, they share the protected characteristic of disability.

39.It provides for Ministers to issue statutory guidance to help those who need to decide whether a person has a disability for the purposes of the Act.

Background40.This section, Schedule 1, and regulations to be made under Schedule 1 replace similar provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and provisions in secondary legislation made under that Act.

ExamplesA man works in a warehouse, loading and unloading heavy stock. He develops a long-term heart condition and no longer has the ability to lift or move heavy items of stock at work. Lifting and moving such heavy items is not a normal day-to-day activity. However, he is also unable to lift, carry or move moderately heavy everyday objects such as chairs, at work or around the home. This is an adverse effect on a normal day-to-day activity. He is likely to be considered a disabled person for the purposes of the Act.

A young woman has developed colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. The condition is a chronic one which is subject to periods of remissions and flare-ups. During a flare-up she experiences severe abdominal pain and bouts of diarrhoea. This makes it very difficult for her to travel or go to work. This has a substantial adverse effect on her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. She is likely to be considered a disabled person for the purposes of the Act.

Section 15: Discrimination arising from disabilityEffect69.This section provides that it is discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably not because of the person’s disability itself but because of something arising from, or in consequence of, his or her disability, such as the need to take a period of disability-related absence. It is, however, possible to justify such treatment if it can be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. For this type of discrimination to occur, the employer or other person must know, or reasonably be expected to know, that the disabled person has a disability.

Background70.This section is a new provision. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 provided protection from disability-related discrimination but, following the judgment of the House of Lords in the case of London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm [2008] UKHL 43, those provisions no longer provided the degree of protection from disability-related discrimination that is intended for disabled people. This section is aimed at re-establishing an appropriate balance between enabling a disabled person to make out a case of experiencing a detriment which arises because of his or her disability, and providing an opportunity for an employer or other person to defend the treatment.

ExamplesAn employee with a visual impairment is dismissed because he cannot do as much work as a non-disabled colleague. If the employer sought to justify the dismissal, he would need to show that it was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

The licensee of a pub refuses to serve a person who has cerebral palsy because she believes that he is drunk as he has slurred speech. However, the slurred speech is a consequence of his impairment. If the licensee is able to show that she did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the customer was disabled, she has not subjected him to discrimination arising from his disability.

However, in the example above, if a reasonable person would have known that the behaviour was due to a disability, the licensee would have subjected the customer to discrimination arising from his disability, unless she could show that ejecting him was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim

Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010

Not what you're looking for? ?

You’re disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

A6. A disability can arise from a wide range of impairments which can be:

• sensory impairments, such as those affecting sight or hearing;

• impairments with fluctuating or recurring effects such as rheumatoid

arthritis, myalgic encephalitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),

fibromyalgia, depression and epilepsy;

• progressive, such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy,

I hope this helps


Hello Cherrypie,

If you require any further information about your rights, reasonable adjustments and organisations you may like to telephone for advice.

Please see the link below to the FibroAction website

All the best



Hi cherrypie, are you a member of a trade union ? if so they should be helping you with any advice that you need and also by being present at any meetings with your employers to help fight your case, I hope this is of use to you



Can you beleive union wont help me......apparently its not a meeting worth attending unless im heading for termination of contract


Hi Cherry Pie, please, don't get stressed over this meeting. Your Union may not be interested in helping you but they should advise you anyway. At least explain things. I would try but I get things muddled up. However, I was told you are entitled to have someone in with you to support you - a colleague for instance. This can help with remembering things that have happened and things they say. Also I was told by my Union that if you are not satisfied with how the meeting is being conducted you can walk out. However, I have had this type of meeting and basically it is to see how they can help you. Think carefully. For instance, I needed help getting to work, around work, and contacted Access to Work through the unemployment agency Job Centre Plus. I also needed an office chair to sit on throughout the day. I don't know what you do or need, but have a think.

Try typing in STAGE 1 SICKNESS ABSENCE into your search engine and find an answer that fits your situation. Otherwise contact your Personnel Officer and request a copy of your works Absence Policy Proceedures. I have found that they have to be very careful otherwise you can sue for unlawful dismissal. One month is not long. I think this meeting should be a formality but you should take notes of what is said, ask for a copy of the minutes and print out any emails that have information linked to your health.

I sympathise with you. It is scary. But if you get too upset you may trigger another flare and become ill again. This is only the first step and there should be many more before they can dismiss you. At the moment they cannot fire you on the information you have given here, so don't panic. Deep breaths and control your breathing - if you are anything like me I cannot think when I get stressed and this stressed me when it happened. I am a lot further down the line, but I have yet to receive a written warning, there have to be two of those before they can fire you - being disabled you have power here.

Sorry to have gone on, I am alarmed at how callous they have been in not telling you your rights. Check your works Policy carefully and go to Citizens Advice Centre for support and guidance.

Take care, soft hugs

1 like

Thanku sarah have managed to calm me down abit,its scary and i already have a flareup on route!....i am frustrated with work and mymanager lacks emotional competence sometimes!


Check out the link Emma posted. The DDA has been superceded by the Equality Act.


hi hope you dont mind me butting in here im newly diagnosed and back and forward to my gp for diff med n god knows , im on the sick from work and so scared im goin to get finished due to my fibro mialgia i dont fully understand my illness all i know is how ill it makes me feel i would love to go back to work but know i cant my job is phisical and i cant cope no more but how does this end i wonder i live in hope of a miracle drug to make me normal again , but hope things go well for you it sounds like what ill have to face in the future good luck


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