Has anyone else had problems with an employer? Is APS covered by the Equalities Act?

I have been told that I face 'management action' for exceeding the acceptable level of sickness under my works attendance management policy (6 days per year) following a period of 1 months sickness with clots in my left leg. This was fully certified by my GP. For 2 weeks of this period I was stuck abroad and unable to fly home for safety reasons and because I was too unwell. Although this action is not part of the formal discipline procedure it is a forerunner to formal proceedings. I am likely to be set an 'action plan' which will stipulate that I must endeavour to get my sickness within the acceptable levels. I don't see that I can agree to this. I have been sick twice in the last 3 years with clots and although I am now on warfarin I can't be expected to predict what is going to happen. I do also suffer from the less extreme symptoms of the syndrome. My argument is that my employers should be making reasonable adjustments as per the Equalities Act as this is a long term condition. I don't see how they can simply put me in the same box as people going off sick with minor ailments.

12 Replies

  • If you're a member of a union speak to their legal dept. If you're not in a union then I'd speak to a solicitor.

    I'm so sorry that you have been warned and subjected to that over an illness that you, at times, cannot control.

  • Hi there

    With a chronic, long term condition such as APS employers are supposed to treat related sickness abscence differently to 'normal' time off for illness =- so you're right, they are not treating you fairly and they appear to need to brush up on the disability discrimination act! If you're not a union member and can 't afford a solicitor I would advise you to go to CAB.

  • Hi, your employer should refer you to their Occupational Health, which will conduct a review with you and as you have an underlying ill health condition, they should allow you either a higher absence target, or they should not include any absence relating to your underlying ill health towards your absence target (eg. If you were absent due to a clot which relates to your APS).

    My employer referred me straight away to their Occupational Health, and gave me a higher absence target (double to the normal target). And my previous employer also referred me to Occ. Health, and took the decision not to include any sickness relating to my underlying ill health to any of my absence targets. Underlying ill health relates to an illness which is long term or life long, so APS is definitely one of these.

    Occupational Health are trained medical professionals, normally nurses or Doctors. Your Line Manager wouldn't be a trained medical professional to be able to conduct a thorough absence review with you. I would quote to them on their "duty of care" to you and question them further.

    If you don't mind me asking, what job do you do? And do you work for a large company?

    I am a Manager, and have lots of experience of completing absence hearings for staff that have hit absence triggers/targets. And we would always have to make sure we considered if they had an underlying medical condition, and if so, it was mandatory to refer them to Occupational Health.

  • Thank you for your reply. I work for the Police and have a middle management role. I suppose I wanted to see what other APS sufferers had experienced in other companies / organisations. I know that this instruction is coming direct from the head of my operational unit and I think he's using me as an example. In the past I have politely declined to deal with others with long term health issues in a similar manner. He is trying to instigate a one size fits all policy instead of giving line managers discretion to deal as they see fit.

  • The advice above is good, I hope you can get somewhere with this, as the way you are being treated is wrong. Mary F x

  • I also say the advice above is good. I welcome visits to occupational health as they put in place everything they can to help me. Occupational health have also written in reports that my employers need to understand I will have a higher sickness absence than others and that a reasonable adjustment would be to discount any APS related sickness, I also get paid time off for hospital and warfarin clinic. As well as this through occupational health I have a lovely memory foam leg rest (as I have occluded my popliteal artery in my leg) I also have a chair that can tip right back if I need a 5 minute rest. I hope that you get your work situation sorted.

  • Sounds like the treatment you are getting from your employer at the moment is unhelpful and contributes to the already stressful situation you find yourself in. I agree that OH should be in a good position to explain to your employer how APS might affect you given that we're all different. Good luck!

  • Hi

    I live in the states and I have issues with my employer as well. Over the past 2 years I have had two bad flare ups causing my employer to reprimand me for excessive time off. My doctor has placed me on family medical leave act for doctor visits as well as my company has made some reasonable accomodations for me underADA. However, I still have to perform at a high level and make all my deadlines sick or not.

    My recommendation is to get some protection helps a little.

    Best of luck!

  • Thank you all very much for your replies. I have decided not to take this one 'on the chin' and will let you know what happens!

  • I'm glad you aren't just sitting back and taking it :) it's not as if you would have been able to be in work. And also, while you were off, did they do any absence meetings with you? And did they try and make any reasonable adjustments to accommodate you returning to work any earlier? Or any rehab hours?

    I certainly think the Police force would have access to OH, and they should have referred you a while ago.

    Wishing you luck with it all, but please keep us posted. As I'm intrigued how they are going to be able to sanction you for this, they haven't got a leg to stand on if you ask me.

    Thanks for sharing this with us all x

  • I was referred to OH initially, but only because I suggested it. By the time this was actually instigated I felt a lot better and requested a couple of 9-5 days to catch up with my admin and then I returned to full hours/shifts. I don't like taking time off and went back to work as quickly as I could, I'd had a serious illness and the policy around sickness states that any action taken is ultimately at the immediate line manager's discretion. I did not anticipate this action. I met with my line manager yesterday and he reiterated that he was going to implement some kind of action plan. When pushed he admitted that he didn't want to do this but that the direction was coming from a higher level than I had previously thought. Due to the nature and structure of the organisation I have some sympathy with him, but I have written off similar directions in the past as I work on the basis that if it doesn't feel right it generally isn't right and I don't want to end up on the losing side at an ET!

    I re-contacted our OH and informed them of what is going on. I have asked them to advise reasonable adjustments along the line of those outlined above. I'm waiting for a reply. Let the games commence!


  • Hi Brian - is it worth formally declaring to your HR dept and line manager you are now disabled due to your APS?

    I think that the Equality Act will then apply to you in a more supportive way. Disabled workers are supported - ordinary workers who take lots of time off sick are just seen as difficult. Your employer has a duty of care for your well-being at work - safeguarding is a bit of a buzz word in the public sector!

    Really good luck, and take care, Larraine.

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