FAQs - Your Employment Rights
If you have CGD here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about your rights to time off for treatment, telling your employer about your condition, taking sick leave and requesting flexible working to accommodate your health needs.
If you have CGD then you will be covered by the definition of disability in the Equality Act 2010. This doesn't mean you need to consider yourself to be "disabled", it just means that you have protection from unfair treatment relating to your medical condition.
Even if your CGD is well managed and does not often impact on your daily life, the fact that without medication you would otherwise be unwell means that you have protection under the law.
For more information have a look at: https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010
It is against the law for employers to discriminate against you (directly or indirectly) because of a disability. This includes areas such as recruitment, pay, redundancy and dismissal.
Your employer also has to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to avoid you being put at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in the workplace.
For more information have a look at: https://www.gov.uk/rights-disabled-person/employment
Under the Equality Act, your employer must make reasonable adjustments to your work practice or workplace if you need them to help manage your condition.
The key word is "reasonable" and this is open to debate, but generally speaking, the following may be reasonable depending on your role in the company:
- changing your working hours to fit around your treatment
- helping with transport to and from work
- allowing you to have extra breaks during the working day (these may be paid or unpaid at your employer's discretion)
- allowing you to work from home if this fits with your role for all or some of the week.
For more information visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/sicknessabsence/reasonableadjustments.htm
Depending on your role, this would almost certainly count as a reasonable adjustment. You may need ad hoc time off, or more regular appointments, but either way you should usually be allowed to take time off work to attend. It is totally up to your employer and the policies within your company whether this is paid or unpaid time (or a mixture of both) - there is no right to paid time off to attend medical appointments.
It depends on the type of work you do. If you can do all or some of your work from home (e.g. project work and you can have access to work systems from home) then this may be a reasonable adjustment. However for other jobs (e.g. customer facing) this may not be possible. In this case you should discuss other possible reasonable adjustments with your employer, e.g. reducing your hours, or changing your commuting time.
If you are not asked directly (e.g. on an application form) and you would prefer not to tell your employer then that is totally up to you. However, if you think you may need reasonable adjustments or some support with attending medical appointments etc, then it is often best to be open and honest with your employer.
If your employer asks you directly, either at application stage or afterwards, then you need to be open and honest about your condition and its potential impact on your work/attendance. Your employer cannot discriminate against you for having a health condition/disability, but may need to know so that they can consider any adjustments you may need.
If your employer is considering disciplinary action or even dismissal relating to the amount of absence you have taken, then you should remind them that any absence relating to your CGD must be treated separately from other absence.
For example, if your company's policy is that after 3 episodes of absence you are given a written warning, then this should not normally apply in your case. This is because due to the nature of immune deficiency disorders, you are likely to have more sickness absence than average, and as this is caused by your disability it should not be counted in the same way. An employer may be directly discriminating against you if they decide to dismiss you because of the amount of sickness absence you have taken because of your CGD.
It is always best to try to resolve issues internally with your employer, and you are able to appeal and/or raise a grievance if you think you have been treated unfairly. Where dismissal is being considered, get advice from your Union, a employment lawyer, or the CGD Society. If you are dismissed as a result of your disability then you may wish to consider taking your case to an Employment Tribunal.
For more information have a look at: https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/reasons-you-can-be-dismissed
Some employers may use sickness records as a factor in deciding whom to make redundant from a group of employees (although this should not be the only factor considered). If they choose to use sickness absence as a selection criterion for redundancy, then they should not count any absence linked to your CGD.
As it will naturally be difficult to confirm which of your sickness absences are linked to having CGD, and which may have happened anyway, the most reasonable course of action is to adjust your sickness record for the redundancy process, to the average sickness absence level within your company. This will mean you will not suffer any detriment because of higher absence, and will create a more level playing field.
For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights/overview
Posted October 2017