UK Employment laws and Disabilities

Discussion in 'Lighter Life Forum' started by Blonde Logic, 2 March 2009 Social URL.

  1. Blonde Logic

    Blonde Logic Yes. You can.

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    Hi peeps

    As you know, I got a new job which I start next Monday.

    I received my offer letter, detailing the terms of my contract, etc.

    Today I received a health questionnaire from their Occupational Health department.

    I missed an AWFUL lot of work last2 years because of my neck condition. I was in the midst of dealing with it, awaiting referrals and a dianosis, etc., and over the last two years I probably missed more the 50 days on top of 40 that I missed when I had double knee surgery in November.

    By now, through diet, exercise and meds, I am managing the condition the majority of the time. It always hurts but no longer prevents me from working or getting about unless I have a real bad bout, which <touch wood> has been a few months.

    Once I disclose this information, can they then reneg on their offer? While they are registerable disabilitys, I am not "registered" as such, though my previous employers were very good and treated me as such.

    I am now a bit nervous about them deciding they don't want me.

    DOes anyone know how I stand? I don't understand UK EMployment laws so am at a bit of a loss. Its also a new condition for me, relatively, and not sure if I am protected in anyway??

    I will nervously await any tips and pearls of wisdom.

    Thanks guys and gals. [​IMG]
     
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  3. Sean(JSF)

    Sean(JSF) Making it all add up

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    Not an expert BL - I'm sure there will be someone on here that is though.

    My understanding is that unless the job descriptions calls for a specific level of mobility/fitness (and that has to be justifyable vis a vis the actual work to be carried out, otherwise prospective employer is liable to charges of descrimination), then the disclosure form is just that and there is no way they can legally withdraw the job offer.

    However, if you don't disclose and teh employer finds out at a later date (eg due to time off etc) then you have problems.

    As I said, I'm not an expert (just an employer) and would not be concerned. If in doubt call ACAS free on:
    Monday - Friday 08:00 - 18:00 - 08457 47 47 47
    They are really helful.
     
  4. Mini_Me

    Mini_Me LighterLife Returner

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    Hi BL,

    The knee operation sounds over with, no? its no different to a sports injury, which happens alot... I wouldn't bother mentioning that personally... if its an ongoing 'condition' then that might be somthing else...

    As for your neck condition, if you think it won't be a massive hinderence in your role because you are managing it, then don't bother mentioning it. Its not a disablity. If it will be a hinderence, then maybe you do need to mention it...

    Frankly speaking, even if they can't renege on their offer based on the health questionnaire, there are plenty of other ways for them to legally decide they don't want you... the real motive might be health, but they will state another reason, if they want to cover themselves...

    It depends what kind of employer it is as well... some are more 'worker friendly' than others...

    personally, I would get my foot in the door. If you think you can spend 6 - 12 months there without a long period of absence due to ill health, then just play it all down on the questionnaire...

    That's just my opinion, I'm sure plenty of other people will have differing views :)

    Good luck!
     
  5. louale

    louale Silver Member

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    Hi BL,

    They may want you to see their company GP, occupational health consultant, as I recently recruited someone who mentioned on their form that they had been off in previous employment due to health reasons and as long as the GP was happy with the outcome of the interview that the staff member had, it didn't cause a problem.

    Sorry can't be of any more help.

    Louale x
     
  6. Huseyin

    Huseyin Silver Member

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    BL you are not obliged to tell them anything in the past, if there is a legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page then you must tell them otherwise i would not worry and only list the things that you may need in your work place, like frequent breaks for a condition you may have etc.

    Basically what MM is saying above

    Dont be too concerned ;)
     
  7. Tange

    Tange Silver Member

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    If you have signed and sent back your offer letter and have a copy yourself, they cannot suddenly change their minds. Also when they ask for references, these days all that is allowed to say is how long you were employed and how many days off sick you had. This I would have thought they would do before offering you the role.
    I think honesty is the best policy in this case.
     
  8. Blonde Logic

    Blonde Logic Yes. You can.

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    Thanks guys. I have to disclose it. Just because it has been somewhat manageable recently is not enough reason to leave it out, as it will flare up again, requiring me to be signed off. It won;t ever get better, only worse. When is the unknown. Might be months - might be years. I just don;t know. So, I do have to advise them, and I would feel naughty not disclosing that.

    I am just confused as the job has been offered. And then this came and has thrown me.

    The form does say it is for occ health purposes only and remains confidential unless I want it shared.

    I think, maybe <?> its just so if anything does happen down the road, I will have told them, so it is not a secret. SOmething like that?

    Its just a little scary. But I agree Tange, I feel I need to be upfront, as I will need a special chair, and stuff....that is essential. So I guess I just come clean and hope for the best.

    I believe BUPA is a family friendly employer, so they may look at it sympathetically. B

    Tange, I did not think employers could say how many days you had missed? Is that maybe something that vary's company to company?
     
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  9. Tange

    Tange Silver Member

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    As far as I am aware its the only information they are allowed to use. But I am going back two years here so I may be wrong.
     
  10. bigboy77

    bigboy77 Full Member

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    Hi BL, first of all I'm no expert but I believe it depends greatly on the employer and what "requirements" they have, and what process you're at regarding the recruitment process. I don't know your full circumstances - did you have to fill out an application form and did it ask you how many days you've been absent in the last 1 or 2 years? Was it a provisional offer of employment pending references or was it the full monty being a contract of employment? If it was provisional then, again and don't quote me, they're entitled to turn you down due to excessive sick leave or bad references, and people can give bad references contrary to popular belief.... If it's a proper contract that all parties have signed then I can't see it being a problem and it also doesnt make sense that they're sending you an OH questionnaire now.

    Regardless, do state how many days its been, I wouldn't tell porkies as it could lead to serious ramifications for the future and as i said at the beginning every employer is very different and has different attitudes to this sort of thing.

    Good luck, hope it all works out.
     
  11. 30FlirtyGirl

    30FlirtyGirl Call me Nicky xx

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    I like everyone else am no expert but the questionanire is sent to see if there are any "trigger" points that would prevent you doing your job. It depends what the job is for and how your condition could impact your job, If the employer is concerned then there may request that the OCC health department complete a full medical or obtain your medical history from your GP with your consent of course.

    The Disabaility Discrimination Act may explain more.
    The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) : Directgov - Disabled people

    I am sure you will be fine.

    Congratulations on your new job xxxxxx
     
  12. westiegirl

    westiegirl Gold Member

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    I can't add anything constructive but just wanted to say that my Bro recently had a job offer followed by a medical with Occupational Health and he was worried due to some long term sickness he had in his previous job (over a year off).

    He went for the medical and there is an obligation that the OC Dept has to give you the option to review the information before it is passed to the employer (might be different if the OC is in house though).

    The doctor he saw conducted the medical on the basis of how he is currently able to perform his duties and as such he went off this morning for his first day!
     
  13. jcjazzy

    jcjazzy Silver Member

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    Hi, I'm no expert BL but I would think it is best to be honest bout these things.It is probably just a general health questionnaire,however some of these ask for your consent to contact your GP if necessary.If this was witheld they may wonder about your health,and if you developed probs connected to this later this would I imagine be a disciplinary matter at least.Honesty is best policy I believe!
    jan x
     
  14. Blonde Logic

    Blonde Logic Yes. You can.

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    Oh yes Jazzy, as said, I never had the intention to withhold it....I just sort of wondered what to expect.

    Thanks everyone for the good info and links. Feeling more at home with the idea....I think as said, it is to see that I won;t hurt myself in the job, etc. And if I speak to them, which I will request, I can explain in more detail.

    The form does not have a page for additional comments which is frustrating. Its an electronic form, so thats just the way it goes. If I could explain, I would feel a lot better.

    Well - I just trust the stars to fall where they may, and may they be in all the right places!! :D
     
  15. roundrachel

    roundrachel Silver Member

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    Hey BL
    It's pretty common for employers to ask for this after offering you the post but ultimately I don't think they can then retract their offer as a result of the info you provide although I could be wrong.
    I think they need to see if you have any chronic conditions more than anything that a)they can be aware of and support you if you have to have time off and b) have on record so, for example, if I were to take them to sue them because I have a bad back and said it was as a result of my job, they can say it is a pre existing condition.

    So long as you have told them I'm sure it'll be fine. It's more about them covering their backs and I'm sure it won't affect your appointment.
     
  16. SerenityValley

    SerenityValley Surgically happy.

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    No real advice, just want to wish you good luck!
     
  17. Foxtrot

    Foxtrot Is back in the saddle!

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    Employment law is nearly always on the side of the employee. The employer has to be seen and to actually be covering every angle, for the benefit of the employee of course, but because said employee has more legs to stand on than employer! Sorry to say BL but the American way of sue sue sue is now over here to stay and common sense, logic and normal everyday decency has gone out of the window.

    The main thing is, they haven't employed you because of your past health but because of you current abilities. They can't use your health against you, but they possibly could if you haven't disclosed and there was a later incident. Every employer has to have HR top notch now.

    Mind you, I'm sure BUPA could be a pretty cool place to be employed at if you need a bit of help in the medical line of things! :D
     
  18. Blonde Logic

    Blonde Logic Yes. You can.

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    Thanks Foxtrot, and yeah, sorry about the sue culture that has been embedded here.

    But don;t give up hope - the states now have laws that prevent "frivelous lawsuits" so it may go from here eventually too. :)

    Thanks for you words of sense.

    And everybody elses too.
     
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