Medical Condition

Medical Condition

Medical Condition

Should you tell your employer about your medical condition?

If you have a disability, then your employer is entitled to ask you about it. So, if you are asked whether you are disabled, you should answer the question fairly and honestly.

However, companies can’t use any information they receive about your disability to discriminate against you. What they should use this information for is to consider whether they can reasonably make any changes to your working arrangements to accommodate your disability.

Under the Equality Act 2010, you are considered to be disabled “if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.”

Examples of changes that a company might have to make to accommodate a worker’s disability include:

  • Providing ramps and lifts
  • Installing automatic doors
  • Improving lighting and signage
  • Allowing you to work in the most accessible part of the office
  • Providing adapted desks, chairs or keyboards
  • Making manuals and information available in Braille or in audio form

The situation is more complex if you have a condition that recurs periodically, but which does not significantly affect you at work every day. This is not classed as a disability, but you may still decide it’s best to let your boss know about this. Even though your condition may not be a ‘disability’, the company may still be able to make changes to your working arrangements. For example, if you suffer from periods of back pain, you may be able to get a special office chair that provides extra support. If you suffer from headaches or migraines, the company may be able to provide a screen filter to reduce the problem of glare from your computer monitor.

If you are likely to be off work from time to time when the condition recurs, you may decide to tell your employer about it. After all, if you are regularly absent as a result, they will find out about it sooner or later anyway.

Companies cannot ask your doctor for any form of medical report unless you give consent for this.

Unfortunately, it is the case that your employer may be legally permitted to take disciplinary action against you if it believes that your absence levels are excessively high. However, it must first take time to understand your medical condition and make any reasonable adjustments to your working arrangements.

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