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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term illness that makes breathing difficult, and because of this is likely to have an impact on your working life at some point. Your doctor can help you decide whether your working environment is affecting or likely to affect your lung condition or if your current job is too strenuous. In addition, if you are exposed to gas, fumes or dust at work, it may be necessary to request modifications or to change to a different job. If your condition affects your ability to work, it is advisable to talk to your employer who may be able to make reasonable adjustments that make it easier for you to do your job so you can still make a positive contribution and also minimise time off such as:
  • Providing a parking space that’s near the entrance
  • Moving your workstation closer to the entrance
  • Allowing you to work from home  some or all of the time
  • Providing adequate ventilation
  • Providing a dust and fume free environment
  • Allowing you flexibility to attend doctors’ appointments e.g. by starting later on those days
  • Letting you know in advance if any work will be taking place in your working area that will cause dust or fumes e.g. building or cleaning work.
Your employer can get advice and support about making adjustments to the workplace from the government’s Access to Work scheme. They should also consult thoroughly with you to fully understand what your condition involves and what they can do to help.

Making a claim

If your employer does not consult with you, carry out the necessary checks and investigations and make any reasonable adjustments required, your work may suffer. In some circumstances you may find that you are dismissed on the basis that you are unable to carry out the role. If this is the case then you may be entitled to claim against your employer for disability discrimination.
There is no minimum length of employment required to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal, but it is important to lodge your claim within 3 months of the act of discrimination occurring. It is therefore essential that you take legal advice on your situation at an early stage and as soon as possible. If you think you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of COPD, please phone Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 or complete the form on the right. Lawson-West offer free initial consultations so it won't cost you a penny to find out if you have a claim.
Lawson-West will make sure that your disability discrimination claim is funded on the most appropriate basis and that will often be on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that Lawson-West have a vested interest in ensuring your employment claim is successful.