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Thread: Law regarding disability or illness in employment

  1. #1
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    Law regarding disability or illness in employment

    Hi everyone,

    I have been working for an organisation for approx xxxxx and my job role involves admin, telephones calls incoming/outbound. I still haven't used phones though as I'm still being trained.

    To start off with, I already had numerous health problems, including mainly xxxx xxxx xxxx which were declared to the employer. But within the last 2 months, I have gradually developed another health issue - Basically one side of my face is severally xxxx. It comes and goes every 10mins to hour and can on occasions make it difficult for me to talk. Doctors and Consultants are still investigating and I'm worried that my employer might say that I'm not fit to work in this role...can they sack me?

    What should I do and what is the law when you develop a condition whilst at work?

    Thank you
    Last edited by helpmepls; 28-05-15 at 21:13.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Unfortunately these days companies can, and do, dispense with people who develop health conditions.

    You are not 'sacked', you employment is 'terminated due to ill health' or 'terminated due to health concerns' or other similar wording.
    (If your job involves talking to customers on the phone and you are unable to talk reliably you can see their point).
    If you are lucky they may be able to move you into a position where this is not so much of a problem.

    It happened to myself (I was unable to attend regularly) and to others who have posted here.

    This termination usually happens after you have been on sick leave for a while, used your company sick pay entitlement, and you entitlement to statuatory sick pay (SSP).
    They may also try to give you reduced hours, different duties, etc. to show that they have been trying to help.
    Usually if terminated you will get some payment in lieu of notice and maybe some accrued holiday pay; it all depends on what your contract of employment says.

    If your employent gets terminated for health reasons you should put in a claim for ESA if this has not already been triggered by you using up your SSP entitlemant.

    In your own case I would be looking at my contract of employment closely.
    It may be that you are on a six months probationary period and they can terminate employment without paying any wages in lieu, etc.

    Sorry I can't give you any better news.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    Unfortunately these days companies can, and do, dispense with people who develop health conditions.

    You are not 'sacked', you employment is 'terminated due to ill health' or 'terminated due to health concerns' or other similar wording.
    (If your job involves talking to customers on the phone and you are unable to talk reliably you can see their point).
    If you are lucky they may be able to move you into a position where this is not so much of a problem.

    It happened to myself (I was unable to attend regularly) and to others who have posted here.

    This termination usually happens after you have been on sick leave for a while, used your company sick pay entitlement, and you entitlement to statuatory sick pay (SSP).
    They may also try to give you reduced hours, different duties, etc. to show that they have been trying to help.
    Usually if terminated you will get some payment in lieu of notice and maybe some accrued holiday pay; it all depends on what your contract of employment says.

    If your employent gets terminated for health reasons you should put in a claim for ESA if this has not already been triggered by you using up your SSP entitlemant.

    In your own case I would be looking at my contract of employment closely.
    It may be that you are on a six months probationary period and they can terminate employment without paying any wages in lieu, etc.

    Sorry I can't give you any better news.

    Thank you nukecad.

    Firstly I've taken no days off work...in fact I've worked overtime. I don't think my condition is enough to make me go off sick, however, it would make very difficult talking to customers, so yes it makes sense that they may say I can't do the telephones. Being a large government organisation, they have many different roles, so maybe I might be able to fit in elsewhere. I am on probationary for 12 months.

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    You gave only worked there for four months? I think you are still within your probation period and can be terminated, sorry

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    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    If you are working for a Government department they will have responsibility to try and make 'reasonable adjustments' to accomdate your impairments.

    The HR department will also be keen to retain you as they have 'equality targets' to meet each month. It wouldn't look good in the statistics if they started sacking minority groups.

    The Government should look at your duties and if you are unable to carry some out then they may redesign the job and you may be required do do other duties instead.

    My advice would be to stick with it and give it your best shot it could just be 'nerves' as its something new. Remember your employer is on your side - they want you to succeed.

    From a practical point of view would earphones and a mouthpiece be better to use when answering the phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by warkman View Post
    You gave only worked there for four months? I think you are still within your probation period and can be terminated, sorry
    Your right, my employment can be terminated, but like nukecad said, they'd have to reasonable grounds to do this. I'm hoping that if it ever came to this situation, they would at least try to redeploy me elsewhere.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lighttouch View Post
    If you are working for a Government department they will have responsibility to try and make 'reasonable adjustments' to accomdate your impairments.

    The HR department will also be keen to retain you as they have 'equality targets' to meet each month. It wouldn't look good in the statistics if they started sacking minority groups.

    The Government should look at your duties and if you are unable to carry some out then they may redesign the job and you may be required do do other duties instead.

    My advice would be to stick with it and give it your best shot it could just be 'nerves' as its something new. Remember your employer is on your side - they want you to succeed.

    From a practical point of view would earphones and a mouthpiece be better to use when answering the phone.
    Thank you Lighttouch for the helpful post. I actually work for h.m revenue and disability aside, my job is very complex...in fact every new starter is struggling to cope with this job. There are many roles within this job and many don't include using the phone, so if things got worse, I really do hope they will give me the opportunity to re-locate.

    BTW, I already have a headset, but the issue is that one side of my face muscles are twitch and pulling so much, that sometimes it's becoming hard to talk. I believe it's called hemi-facial spasm?? Have a look on youtube...

    I honestly want to give it my best and just get on with my job, but the this condition is not only embarrassing, it is mentally draining as it's hard to concentrate on anything if all I get is constant twitching, pulsing and muscles pulling.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    As Lightouch says, the fact that is HM revenue that you are working for makes a huge difference.

    Goverment departments are more aware of their responsibilities to employees with health problems than private companies are, and will go further out of their way to accomodate any problems.

    They are very likley to find you a role where your particular issues are less of a consequence.

    If they haven't already noticed that you are having problems with the phones then I would show willing and raise the issue yourself.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    As Lightouch says, the fact that is HM revenue that you are working for makes a huge difference.

    Goverment departments are more aware of their responsibilities to employees with health problems than private companies are, and will go further out of their way to accomodate any problems.

    They are very likley to find you a role where your particular issues are less of a consequence.

    If they haven't already noticed that you are having problems with the phones then I would show willing and raise the issue yourself.
    I agree with raising the issue. The problem I have is that they have just spent a whole load of money on reasonable adjustment equipment in order for me to use the telephones and now I have this new issue...I just don't know how to proceed. Do I tell them or wait until my problem gets to a point where I can't do it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helpmepls View Post
    I agree with raising the issue. The problem I have is that they have just spent a whole load of money on reasonable adjustment equipment in order for me to use the telephones and now I have this new issue...I just don't know how to proceed. Do I tell them or wait until my problem gets to a point where I can't do it.
    Tell them now.

    As you note they have already made special equipment available; OK so its not suitable now, they are not just going to give up.

    And by the way who is to say that it is not this equipment that is causing your new problem?
    Did it start after you started using this equipment?
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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    My problem started very slowly and gradually roughly over a 2-3 month period, first with a twitch and then half the face, getting worse over the time. The equipment was received only a few weeks ago. Have a look at this video:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-6AiynrwTw

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