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Am I covered? Equality act 2010

(9 Posts)
Superfly Tue 27-Jan-15 13:31:49

Hi all - just wondering if any of you great people can help me? Sorry if this is long!
I have had a number of operations on my eyes over recent years ( three surgeries for retinal detachments in both eyes) an hours worth of laser surgery on both eyes, cataract surgery on both eyes and subsequent YAG laser to treat calcification on my lens in both eyes.
These surgeries while improving my visual acuity ( went from -19 to -1.5 in my prescription :-) ) it has left me with reduced peripheral vision in both eyes and very bad problems with glare in certain light.
My work involved training with the use of smartboards. Since my problems reoccurred with glare last year - my occupation health dept restricted me from using smartboards and reduced the amount if time spent on a PC. My dept sent me to an alternative duties team until such time all my hospital treatment and visits had finished.
Various meetings were held throughout this time - where I was eventually left with the options of coming back to my substantive role and training with the use of smartboards full time - or being referred to medical redeployment where I would have 13 weeks to find an alternative position within the company. If not successful In finding a role my employment will be terminated.
I have been given a temporary role - carrying out a job that I have been doing for my department since 2007 - many years before I was restricted by OH - which was delivering training to small groups without the use of smartboards. During many meetings we asked myanager to continue doing these as a way do a reasonable adjustment. This was declined - I was told it was either full substantive role or redeployment.

So- my question that I need help with - with my current eye condition am I covered under the Equality Act 2010 and if my dept considered another way of me delivering training without technology, could
This be a reasonable adjustment?
Thank you in advance for any help

flowery Tue 27-Jan-15 15:55:18

It's impossible for someone on the Internet to give an accurate assessment as to whether your condition is a disability or not. I would have expected OH to give your employer an opinion on that, have they not? What about your own doctor/s?

If it is a disability, what you could describe could be a reasonable adjustment but without more knowledge of the role and circumstances, again it's impossible to advise whether it's an adjustment that is reasonable to expect the employer to make on a permanent basis.

Sorry that's not particularly helpful, but these situations are very specific so general yes/no advice just isn't possible.

Superfly Wed 28-Jan-15 08:56:45

Thank you Flowery. That's the problem for me, knowing what is covered, especially in my case.
In the case of whether my OH dept class it as a 'disability' I'm not too sure. I have asked for all correspondence relating to my case to see what they say. My Consultant is of the opinion that my sight is as good as will ever be, the glare is something I will have to manage as surgery at this stage is not an option. This is due to the amount of times the particular laser treatment can be carried out and my high risk of retinal detachment. The advice from the company doctor after receiving a report from my consultant, was that I was not able to 'fully' carry out my substansive role. That role was delivering training to groups of staff, sometimes in a classroom based environment or else I would deliver training to smaller groups 'on site' which did not necessitate the use of equipment.
It was the latter I asked for as a reasonable adjustment when I was restricted from the use of smartboards and this was turned down. It was either my full substantive role or medical redeployment. My issue is that if I had been delivering training for the past 7 years without using this technology - before my eyes were an issue, could this work
Be carried on to enable me to stay within my department and work?
My other issue is, is that another member of my team that was restricted from delivering training had a role created for her to enable her to stay within the department. Could be that the precedent has been set for an adjustment to duties?
I am only asking this as I need some guidance, I have put a grievance in towards the manager involved in this case - reasons being threatened regarding my job and insulted by him when all my eye problems started. I just want to be certain that I have some sort of knowledge about this sort of thing before my hearing in a couple of weeks. I understand it is difficult to give a yes/ no answer so I auppoae I am clutching at straws a bit as this is all new to me, not having put any sort of complaint I before in 20 years with my company.
Thanks again .

Superfly Wed 28-Jan-15 08:58:28

Sorry do typos - typing on phone with no glasses!

flowery Wed 28-Jan-15 10:56:01

I would be astonished if OH were not specifically asked whether the condition could be considered a disability - whenever I instruct OH that's automatically a question I include. You also should have been given the option to see their report, did this not happen?

In terms of reasonable adjustments, again I don't know. If your substantive role involves two types of training and you only want to do one of those, presumably this has an impact on everyone else in terms of how the other training will be delivered, etc. I don't know what that impact would be and whether the changes necessary to facilitate that on a permanent basis are reasonable ones to expect your employer to make. Whether a change is reasonable depends on so many things many of which are very particular to the employer, resources available, working environment, client needs etc etc If you are able to put together a case as to how it would work/why it would be reasonable for them to do that would help.

Creating a role for someone else in the past doesn't automatically mean every time someone has a medical condition which means they can't do part of their job a role has to be created for them. Each situation has to be considered on an individual basis. The fact that they were able to do it previously could say something about the resources/flexibility available to them which obviously is relevant for you, but simply the fact they've been able to do it before doesn't oblige them to do it again.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Wed 28-Jan-15 11:27:54

I suffer from chronic migraines, triggered mostly by screens and TV (smart phone Ok for some reason). My job was in IT so obviously not great.

My OH classed my inability to use screens as a disability - it's one of the points in the Act see page 54 about inability to use computers.

As a result of being classes disabled I have some protection, my company are supposed to be looking for alternative roles (unlikely in a bank) but until they find one I am on long-term sick pay.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Wed 28-Jan-15 11:28:25

OH = occupational health, not other half! grin

BigPawsBrown Wed 28-Jan-15 11:32:47

I'm a lawyer, though not an employment lawyer, and I have a disability myself. I'd be amazed if yours was not classed as a disability within the meaning of the Act. It's an extremely wide definition. Basically your disability has to have a substantial and long-term effect on your day-to-day life. Most conditions to be honest fulfil these guidelines. I think the timeframe for long term is six months.

The next question a tribunal would consider is what is a reasonable adjustment. How big is the company that you work for? If very large, the onus is on them to make more adjustments. If a small company they can make less adjustments. I would see a problem with wanting to do only half of the role. Could you do the training without using the boards and then some admin to make up for full-time? Could you go part-time?

Superfly Wed 28-Jan-15 20:52:42

Hi thank you WildRumpyPumpus and BigPawsBrown
I am seconded into a role at the moment which allows me to carry on the smaller group training (which doesn't require me to use smart boards). I am not sure how long this secondment will last for. At the moment the 'clock' has stopped in terms of redeployment and my contract being terminated - so gives me breathing space.
With this role in my seconded department, I work exactly the same as in my previous which was running the smaller classes (which could last for 2-3 hours) and the rest of my working day is taken up with admin related tasks. I am currently contracted to work 35 hours a week, but I often work more than this.
My confusion comes from if I am able to do this effectively for another department within the company, why my management could have considered it.
I do understand now though from all your responses there is no requirement on my department to do this. I just feel quite let down that this option was not considered by my managers and I find myself in a bit if precarious position!

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