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Dismissed from work for capability issues

Hi to you all,

I have had lower back problems & nerve problems in my legs. I have had operations an also have a spinal cord stimulator fitted. Unfortunately nothing has worked so i am in pain 24/7. I am on a cocktail of pills every day.

I have had periods of absence from work due to my condition & keep exceeding the same target days they set for me at work.

I have just recieved a final capability warning and was wondering if anyone has lost their job & how you managed to pay mortgage bills etc

Thanks everyone for your replies I have an appointment booked with CAB later in month so hopefully see what i can do

11 Replies

Do you have lymphoedema secondary to cancer?

Does your HR department have any recommendayions about how you deal with this? Have you got a Union rep who could advise you?

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Hi Lynora,

I began suffering with lymphoedema when the weather was warmer but it seems to have gone down a lot. I have never had cancer though.

My back has been put down as deterioration and there is no further surgery or treatment that the hospital can offer. I now have to pain manage my situation with medication.

I am really suffering at the moment with a lot of pain in my ankles, wrists & elbows which stops me from sleeping.

My HR department are the ones apparently setting my absence target which they state is more generous for me. I have only just joined my Union after this final warning has been issued so it was too late to be represented.

I am currently looking at all my options as I can't afford to lose my job.


Where is the Lymphoedema and have you been given any advice about compression or treatment? If it has ‘gone down’ do you have problems with your circulation? What is your underlying condition? Rheumatoid arthritis? Polymyalgia?

It may be worth finding your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau - their advice is invaluable - and free - in situations such as yours.

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I totally endorse Lynora's advice to get advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Please get in touch with them ASAP as you can't always get an appointment straightaway. They can help you with everything you need in your situation.

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What reasonable adjustments have your Work made to allow you to work more pain free?

Speak to your GP to see if they believe you could be covered by the Equalities Act? You do not have to be registered disabled to have cover under this.

One thing your employer does not have to do is pay you if you are not working. Sick pay is a benefit not an entitlement, but if they are not helping you to allow you to work and just dismiss you, then that can be discrimination and you can/should look into taking them to an employment tribunal.

As far as answering your questions, I can’t. As I am no expert but did you take out PPI with your mortgage? If so there could be cover there.

Does your pension allow ill health retirement?

But these and more are what Citizens advice will suggest.

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I am so sorry to hear of your issues. I had to give up my nursing career because of Lymphodema in both my legs and I couldn't do the job anymore, it was heartbreaking and I suffered severe depression and anxiety, dispite union help , HR were never showing empathy I had worked in NHS for nearly 30yrs. I went for benefits etc but failed the medical assessments, they didn't understand or accept that my medical issues were adequate and didn't accept I should have lost my job dispite the employer saying I couldn't do it anymore, Its a time I never want to go through again, Have you checked to see what help you could be entitled to. I hope you do get the help and support you deserve


Hi, I hope you have got some good advice about whether they can dismiss you for that reason, are you in a union? I would have thought it should be seen on health grounds & not capability reasons. Have you been assessed for early retirement on medical grounds? Sounds like you could really do with some advice.

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Dear Morganite and Gailo, both your cases have made me really angry with employers who thought they could treat you like this. I am in agreement with all the people who have suggested contacting CAB to get advice about your rights as I think your employers are infringing the terms of the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.


Hi i have just had to take early retirement due to ill health, I have osteoarthritis in both knees due to a motorbike accident 35 years ago I also have lipoedema with secondary lymphoedema and osteoporosis which I found out after turned over in bed and broke my pelvis and back.

Because I have had osteoarthritis since before I was employed by them and used a stick for the interview although I didn't need it.

After going over the threshold for days absence atos who did all there health care issues recommended certain things were put in place. I was lucky as I had only joined the union less than a couple of months before. I got a rep. This is what she said had to be done

1. risk assessment of my work place

2. A form to fill in about my condition and how to see when things were getting difficult for me

3. extend days absence due to my illness

If these were not in place then they could be breaking the law and could be taken to court. I think that mainly applies to the first one.

Eg I worked in a special needs school so not moving to lots of different classrooms. To have a chair that met my needs eg with wheels and had armrests.

This extended my time with them for a few years. But eventually they couldn't keep me safe from the kids with osteoporosis and had to let me go.

If you have a pension scheme you are in get assessed for that as if you are granted it not only will they pay you but they make up the years that you would have paid for had you been fit and healthy so in my case I got an extra 15 years. You may also claim esa benefits (I think that is the correct one but check it out on the government website.

Sorry it's such a long reply but I hope that it helps.

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My employers were being reasonable in the beginning. However my condition seems to have deteriorated further. I have had a disc bulge shaved but that was unsuccessful as scar tissue grew. I have also had the spinal cord stimulator fitted but that is only working for the pain in the top of my leg instead of all of it. I have been told that I have wear & tear and general deterioration of my discs/back. I suffer with a lot of nerve pain mainly in my left leg and also lymphoedema in my feet & legs.

I have had my workspace assessed & they supplied a new chair, moveable desk and also a new keyboard/mouse (due to carpal syndrome too).

I was given an absence target of 6 days off in a 3 month period for my back/leg pain & 0 days for anything else

They have involved Occupational Health - who advised that I need to take regular breaks (t least 5 minutes every hour) to help mobility.

When I have my back/leg pain at a severe level, it can normally lay me up for about 3 days - 1 week so they are aware that I am probably not going to make the target that they have given me for the 3rd time!

I do feel that they are trying to push me out of the door by saying I am not capable of doing my job. I reduced my working hours from 37.5 down to 30 and work 6 hours per day Monday - Friday but I am struggling to do that now.

I am feeling very stressed/anxious because of this and have now started to have panic attacks which I am now attending counselling to deal with the issues surrounding them.

I have recently had some very close bereavements and the initial formal meeting that work put me through which started the panic attacks in the first place. I have an appointment booked with CAB at the end of the month and it does look as though my pension does have a retirement due to ill health clause in it.

Sorry for such a long message, I was just trying to cover all the points that people have asked me.


Same thing happened to me I was put on incapacity allowance and also dla which now called pip my doctor told me what to do to get incapacity allowance he gave a sick note with what I had wrong with me and I went to dole office to register also ring up the pip claimant office and they will send u a form ie they go by doctor report it takes a while but I found it was worth the effort and they backdate it depending on your illness and age counts as well


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