Advice please

Hi has anyone here had issues with their employer regarding their lupus?

I have SLE lupus and was dismissed by my employer without warning when i asked if i could work from home when my flares meant i couldnt get into work. I asked because i didnt want to effect my career (the irony) then found myself dismissed 4 days later.

I am now going through an employment tribunal for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. My Doctor and specialist have both provided evidence to prove my disability. My previous employer has asked me to see a 'specialist of their choice' which i did and they concluded that my disability was unfounded because i am 'well medicated and didnt have any swollen joints' the day that i saw him. The employer is now pressuring me to withdraw my case. I am very stressed out and upset because any Lupus specialise worth their salt would know that Lupus varies from day to day and that just because i wasnt showing all symptoms or had swollen joints that day doesn't mean that my lupus is any less and isnt disabling.

I just wondered if anyone here had gone through anything similar with an employer or if anyone has any advice - Many Thanks x

14 Replies

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  • I was very luckily 2 have an employer who bent over backwards 4 me (sadly, I left my job due 2 a continuous flare that is still on going). All I would say is fight hammer & tong as personally, they r pressuring u 2 withdraw u're case as they know they don't have a leg 2 stand on. A rheumy will b called 2 Tribunal and there is also so much stuff on the net 4 u 2 print off and PROVE lupus is not a 'visual' illness. Good luck my lovely :0)

  • If you can find the energy - please fight this. Do you have a union? If so get them to help you. If you have lupus, which is a so-called relapsing and remitting condition - you need to take things a bit easy when you are having a flare, or things can get rapidly worse. I don't see how working at home would make you unemployable. So long as you can do the things you need to do at home - no problem. But in any case - to be fired for having lupus is against the law. Please do fight if you can.

  • Hello, yes i have a union, they helped me at appeal stage but unfortunately cannot support me tribunal stage now i have a solicitor, although their evidence will be heard as they found my employer to be very unprofessional during the appeal.

    I am determined to fight on but i am feeling very deflated after hearing this 'specialists' paid for (at the request of the employer) and written opinion on my condition after seeing me for only 1 hour on 1 day...

  • Also when I requested to work from home, it was only 'as and when' and not requested as a permanent adjustment. When was feeling well i would be back in the office as normal.

  • Oh My God

    This is ssooooooooo wrong on ssooooooo many levels!!!

    I worked for my local hospital in a job that I loved, that I was incredibly good at, and which gave me a purpose to feel like a valid member of the community again. I was working on the childrens ward for 18 months whenI fell sick. I was diagnosed relatively quickly with Lupus SLE, Hughes Syndrome, Vasavagal Synchope, bla bla bla, and in the following 5 months had to have quite a lot of time off.

    I had the toal support of my Ocupational Health team and all my specialists.( you do get treated better and quicker as an employee)

    However after 3 weeks off during a flare when I lost the use of my legs completely, I was called in to the Hospital to discuss my return to work schedule etc.

    Only to find out that when I got there there was a huge tasble with 8 other people there and i was told that I was no longer a ''viable employee'' and i was sacked, instantly

    I nearly lost my house because of this, it led to further depression and really didnt help with my already present flare.

    However i couldnt fight, my union rep told me i was just under my 2 yr contract and therefore I had to leave with my self respect in my boots.

    Sorry I could not have been more cheerful or helpful

    But i do understand

    Please fight the bastards!!!!!!

  • I worked 4 the NHS too and they bent over backwards 4 me, but then again, this was b4 they bought all 'The suits' in & new rules etc :0/

  • Very Similar thing happened to me, i thought i was going to my 'appraisal' but then was met with accusations of 'using my lupus to get out of working full time' and was dismissed 4 days later. It is disgusting! I am very sorry to hear about what happened to you.

    Employers shouldnt be able to get away with these things in this day and age!x

  • good luck and if you can fight on. industrial tribunuals are a way forward but can take years. also the money you will get is a pittance. be prepared for your emplyer to fight hard and tough. and sorry to say even when something is covered by legislation i.e race,sex and disability the law is not always as good as it could be.

    keep fighting if you can though the chances are they will settle out of court ...the day before. good luck!

  • Just another thought TB, it sounds as if your employers 'specialist of choice' has no knowledge of lupus what so ever, & maybe this might actually work in your favour. Get your solicitors opinion on this & you might feel more reassured.

    I agree with sher's point that if your employer is pressuring you to withdraw your case, they can't be very confident about the outcome. What reason did they give for your dismissal if not health grounds?

    I hope you can get through this difficult time without too much stress effecting your health. Let those solicitors earn their keep, that's what they are there for. Very best wishes. X

  • See if they wd be prepared to offer you a compromise agreement, I.e. a sum of money on top of your notice period as an incentive to go. I'm sure you don't want to leave but when an employer is taking steps such as these it usually means that they wd rather you left, so even if you stay, your performance cd be carefully monitored, I'm not sure if you wd like that. With a compromise agreement you get some money to tie you over until you find another job. I'm not saying this is the way to go but your solicitor might want to raise it with your employer if they are so keen for you to withdraw. Gives you some options.

  • Please, please fight this. The median award against employers breaching the disability disc. act was £8,500 in 2010. Employment tribunals are on the face of it scary, but you will find the tribunal members not at all intimidating, and you will be asked to put your side of events plus produce your own medical evidence from your consultants and not theirs. That is up to them. It is not like a court in many ways, being a bit more relaxed, but they do have legal powers, and your employer is right to be worried. He was supposed make adjustments for you including working hours, conditions etc. Of course no one can predict the outcome of a tribunal, you need to take advice on your chances, but he would be trying to pressure you on advice from his solicitors who will have advised him of the likely outcome of the tribunal or whether his actions were "iffy" which they certainly were. There are lots of no win no fee solicitors handling things like this if you feel too unwell/scared to go it alone yourself, just be careful who you choose. and what the fees are or you could end up with nothing. The Union may have someone legal to help or recommend. Your employer can also be asked to take you back, but often neither party wants this and a further financial settlement can often be reached with a satisfactory outcome for both. Hope you have strength and go for it, will keep everything crossed, you deserve it for your efforts to keep working and hopefully the tribunal will acknowledge that too. Please let us know what you decide x

  • Thank you everyone for your advice and responses if anything it helps me to believe that what they have done is wrong even more now. I worked their for a year and was dismissed after 4 days with the excuse that i was 'using my lupus to work from home for other reasons i.e to pick up another job!'

    Why would i do that if i was trying to find a way to cope with the condition its very made any sense to me at all! Which is why it can only be about my lupus!

    They told my PA my work was to a good standard so i know it wasnt to do with that either.

    This is unfounded and their is no proof but i wasnt aware of my rights are the time and completely disarmed me and walked me off the premisses.

    I am going to proceed with tribunal, i feel i have no reason to back out albeit being very stressful x

  • Also their 'specialist of choice' specialised in Rheumatology, which is only one aspect of Lupus can his opinion of my SLE be trusted?

  • I'd say a good rheumatologist should know his or her stuff.

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