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Disability Discrimination Act??

(20 Posts)
ElectronicDischarge Mon 17-Mar-14 19:27:38

Call me crazy, or clutching at straws, but I'm at the end of my tether.
I've just got out of A&E due to yet another anaphylactic reaction, thanks to lazy inconsiderate co-workers, eating food that they know will kill me off (even airborne).
I work in the NHS and no risk assessments have been done. I've put posters up about my allergies but certain people ignore them.
Is anyone suffering severe allergies covered under the Disability Discrimination Act, and if so, how? I need to raise this formally and want to hit them with anything I can.
TIA

Mandysname Mon 17-Mar-14 20:36:21

I dont know whether allergies are considered, however the impact of your condition sounds serious and more than substantial - so possibly? Your employer has a duty of care to you. Seek advice from CAB? or other free legal service in your area? or disability association?

ElectronicDischarge Mon 17-Mar-14 21:03:23

I sadly didn't find CAB useful when I had to use it recently for a different problem. And I have a feeling this would be beyond my Union rep. Just feel a little stuck and lost.

Polkadotpatty Mon 17-Mar-14 21:18:45

Can you self-refer to Occupational Health? They would, I think, be able to assess your needs and what is required to keep you safe at work. I am not certain, but I believe managers then have to comply with the OH recommendations, and take responsibility for implementing any changes to the working environment. It would be worth checking your employee handbook, and any health and safety policy.

ElectronicDischarge Mon 17-Mar-14 21:19:53

Great idea, thank you!

Nerfmother Mon 17-Mar-14 21:22:09

Hello op, just for clarity it's 'the equalities act 2010' now and guidance is on ehrc website. The definition is something like long term physical and mental impairment rather than a diagnosis - don't things are specifically excluded like poor eyesight rectified by glasses but have a look. Sorry I can't be more helpful, on phone and hard to google.

WestmorlandSausage Mon 17-Mar-14 21:26:14

I think you will have more joy going down a health and safety route rather than equalities act (disability discrimination act is out dated now).

Or attempted murder grin <I realise that probably isn't funny>?

Nerfmother Mon 17-Mar-14 21:28:26

http://www.allergyuk.org/home/home

Just thought; try their helpline.

ElectronicDischarge Mon 17-Mar-14 21:29:42

I knew you lot would have the answers! grin

greenbananas Mon 17-Mar-14 21:42:42

So sorry this has happened to you sad

I'm no expert, and hopefully somebody more legally trained can advise, but I don't think allergies are currently covered by the DDA (despite fitting definitions about impact on daily life) and I think there has never been a test case. But this is really not my area. ..

occupational health is a great idea. Also, who is your health and safety representative?

Really hope you get this sorted soon!

babybarrister Tue 18-Mar-14 14:26:01

There have been some employment cases where on the facts it was a disability - ring up the Anaphylaxis Campaugn helpline as they will have the details

These cases are difficult though ....

ElectronicDischarge Tue 18-Mar-14 20:15:50

Work have been dismissive and reluctant to refer me on to Occy Health, and were super unhappy for me to self refer. All until I used the 'discrimination' word, then funnily enough my referral was completed within 10 minutes.

BackforGood Tue 18-Mar-14 20:32:02

I think the majority of people don't grasp the concept of allergies as serious as yours, and certainly don't grasp the concept of airborne triggers.
Would it be possible to get someone with some scary statistics to come and talk to people at a staff meeting or training session? I'm sure if people really understood it, they would be more careful, but sadly, so many people say "I'm allergic to x/y/z" when they really just don't like something, or have a mild intolerance, that people can become a little confused about the realities of living with allergies like yours.

ElectronicDischarge Tue 18-Mar-14 20:37:37

We work frontline NHS, they know and understand allergies. Which makes it even worse really, because they just don't give a damn.

They've also seen me blue-lighted to the acute hospital across town because a patient had been eating a Snickers and breathed on me. They know how bad this can be sad

ElectronicDischarge Tue 18-Mar-14 20:39:33

And I fully accept the risks of patients eating my danger foods, something I wanted to make absolutely clear to my manager today. But expect more of my co-workers.

KittyWells Wed 19-Mar-14 12:37:30

Severe nut allergy has been recognised as a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010. There was a test case tribunal last year. See here for more info https://russellhrconsulting.co.uk/the-hr-headmistress-blog/nut-allergy-capable-of-being-a-disability/

Hope your employer starts taking their duty of care a bit more seriously soon flowers

babybarrister Wed 19-Mar-14 16:12:25

Yes that is the case I was thinking of so it is possible but actually may be an uphill struggle ....

Andro Wed 19-Mar-14 23:18:30

The major issue is getting your boss to take it seriously. I'm fortunate in that I have the authority to ban my own allergen from my immediate risk area (and would act to protect any of my staff with similar issues), but until you have experienced it you don't understand how scary it (being so much at risk) can be.

freefrommum Thu 20-Mar-14 15:07:23

As employers go, the NHS really should know better and should be leading by example! Haven't they considered how much money it costs the NHS every time you have to be treated for a reaction caused by one of their own staff? Ridiculous! I'm pretty sure allergies are covered under the Equalities Act as they fall under the category of long term illness. My DS receives DLA for his combination of allergies, eczema and asthma. I would definitely say that you are being discriminated against because of your health condition and that they must carry out a risk assessment and risk management plan for you while in your in work. Give the Anaphylaxis Campaign a ring and see what they say.

starfishmummy Thu 20-Mar-14 15:38:49

You say that you accept the risks of patients eating your danger foods but don't want your colleagues to eat them? Perhaps colleagues would take it more seriously if you weren't sending the mixed messages.

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