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Chronic Health Conditions.

Published by Safety Net Team

November 9, 2022

A chronic or long-term health condition or illness is one for which there is no cure but which can usually be managed with medication and therapy, such as asthma, mental illness, arthritis, diabetes or heart disease. In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 states that some conditions, which adversely affect someone’s ability to carry out his or her normal day-to-day activities, are defined as disabilities, and as such place duties on the employer to make reasonable adjustments that allow that person to stay in work.

While they are not usually work related, chronic conditions often impact on the needs of the employee at work.

This topic describes chronic health conditions and the duties of employers when such conditions are reported to them.

Employers’ Duties
Under the Equality Act 2010, a person is recognised as disabled if he or she has a long-lasting (ie lasting more than 12 months) physical or mental impairment that impacts substantially on his or her ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

It is the duty of the employer to manage the employment needs of all disabled workers in the organisation without discrimination, but with full consultation. The needs of the temporarily disabled should also be accommodated. Employers may be held responsible for acts of discrimination by their employees during the course of their work unless it can be demonstrated that the employer has taken reasonable steps to prevent this.

The Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make “reasonable adjustments” to the workplace and to work tasks to accommodate the needs of a disabled employee and ensure that he or she is not put at a disadvantage due to his or her condition or illness.

Certain impairments including HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis are considered a disability immediately on diagnosis.

Under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, where necessary the workplace must be organised in such a way as to take account of any disabled employees who use or occupy it.

Any fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should take into account the needs of vulnerable persons including those who may have difficulty in evacuating the premises.

Employees’ Duties
An employee is not generally obliged to tell an employer if he or she has a disability or a chronic condition. However, although he or she may not want to reveal the extent of any health condition at work, unless the employer is aware of the issues, it will not be able to consider ways to support the employee.

For more information go to get free advice and request a call back.

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