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Occupational Health have classed me as having a disability what does this mean?

(14 Posts)
braingriffin Thu 11-Apr-13 15:42:15

I have been medicated for anxiety related problems for the last 20 years. I have had time off due to this and when assessed by Occupational Health they ticked the box that says I have a disability and said that as I need medication and it is a long term problem I meet the criteria. I just wondered is this important legally or employment wise, is being classed as having a disability by your OH dept the same as by a DR. I have always ticked the no disability box when asked should I change now. Thank you.

PolterGooseLaidAChocolateEgg Thu 11-Apr-13 15:46:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PandaNot Thu 11-Apr-13 15:50:00

Let them classify you that way at work as it offers some protection. However I seem to remember that it's really up to you as to whether you want to tick the box when you're asked.

braingriffin Fri 12-Apr-13 11:01:31

Thank you very much xxx

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 12:06:38

I thin it is a difficult issue for some people. They can be sacked later if they lied on an application form so surely if you pretend you don't have a disability to get a job and then it comes out that is a problem but you can understand why some people would rather not tell a new employer particularly if it is unlikely to affect their work as whatever the law might say it will put some employers off.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:30:21

Actually, Xenia, there is now NO obligation to tell any current OR prospective employer that you have a disability.

Not at interview stage, not at job offer stage, and not even when IN the job.

However - if you choose not to declare your disability, then your employer is not going to be able to make any reasonable adjustments that you may need to work in your job.

I would never declare my disabilities until I had actually started a job now I don't have to, personally.

That way I KNOW I am not being discriminated against on the basis of my disability.

Which is exactly WHY the law was changed so that there is no obligation on a person with a disability to disclose that disability unless and until they require reasonable adjustments in order to complete their job.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:32:20

And you unequivocally cannot be sacked for not disclosing a disability on an application form, on your CV, in an interview, OR on accepting a job.

If you are sacked for not declaring a disability at any point, then you have a discrimination case for tribunal.

Thank you, Equality Act 2010!

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 12:33:05

Ah, I see. So are you allowed to lie>? if it says do you have any disability yes or no if you tick no can they sack you later. Or would you have to leave it blank and then of course they would guess you have one?

Can you not declare and then the day after you start say by the way you are going to have to adapt these premises for my disability or is it the case that if you chose not to tell them you have to put up with the fact the premises do not work for you?

FasterStronger Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:53

But you can make a job offer subject to a satisfactory health check because it is pointless someone starting a job that is not the right job for them.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:49:17

You can choose to tell them at any point. They aren't even meant to ask on the application form any more whether you have a disability or not - so ticking a box isn't applicable unless the employer is wanting to discriminate against people with disabilities...

Which is illegal.

And yes, you CAN ask at any point of your employment, whether you have been there for 2 weeks, 2 years or 20 years for 'reasonable adjustments' to be made in respect of your disability, EVEN if that disability wasn't declared at any point previously.

In practice, I would advise trying to get by as much as possible until you are out of your probationary period, and requesting the reasonable adjustments once you have protected employment - but even if you DO ask whilst you are still in your probationary period, if that company then 'lets you go' at the end of that employment period, without good reason (which means NOT connected to your disability), then that company needs to be VERY careful - if they then hire someone else to do your job, you have a claim against that company for disability discrimination.

Because it WOULD be discrimination to not keep someone on after their probationary period just because they needed reasonable adjustments due to their disability if there were no other good reasons for letting them go and you subsequently have that job to someone else.

It would be astonishingly easy to prove that you were discriminated against on the basis of your disability if there were no reasons for not being kept on, the job was still there, and you had hired someone else to do the same job...

It's WHY the Equality Act 2010 tries to prevent this.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:53:30

Yes, you can make that job subject to a health check / OH dept check - but even THEY can't discriminate against you on the basis of your disability.

Nowadays, even people with quite severe disabilities that are life-long HAVE to work, or face being put on workfare indefinitely.

So employers ARE going to have to accept far more readily that they ARE going to end up employing people with disabilities that require reasonable adjustments.

If their qualifications and experience make them the best candidate for the job, then being disabled and needing reasonable adjustments should not be a barrier to getting and keeping that job.

Even OH have to be wary - that can't take away a job offer on the basis of a person's disability.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:56:08

So what if an employer has to make reasonable adjustments if one of their employees is disabled.

It should be standard in life that people with disabilities are afforded the same opportunities as currently able people.

Yes, that may cost slightly extra - but there ARE grants available.

I have had 3 employers that were willing to make minor adjustments for my disabilities and that was BEFORE the Equality Act 2010.

They are GOOD employers.

Xenia Fri 12-Apr-13 15:45:34

Most people are happy to make adjustments they can make as most people want the best workers and will do what it takes to accommodate them.

However I think most people in the UK are employed in businesses which employ 3 - 5 people. They will be very busy tiny businesses perhaps operating from a very cheap rental unit or house and it may well be that for such a small business it is harder to accommodate.

FasterStronger Fri 12-Apr-13 17:33:41

Xenia, you are right. Reasonable adjustment is a balance between the employer and employee. The employee still needs to be able to perform the job. But most disabled people, like anyone else, would apply for jobs they could do. So as a small employer, i dont see it as a significant issue. Its about levelling the playing field, stopping less favourable treatment on the grounds of disability, not changing the basic transaction of work in return for payment.

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