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Fibromyalgia is a form of chronic pain syndrome, many of which leave people with overwhelming pain, headaches, sleeplessness and depression. Managing such conditions at work can be challenging but you should not be placed at a disadvantage because you are a sufferer. It is possible for you to request your employer carries out an assessment via an expert such as Occupational Health in order to establish if there are any ‘reasonable adjustments’ that can be made to your work or work station. Thereafter, following your request, your employer must take reasonable steps to implement the adjustments suggested (so long as they are able to do so). 
Your employer could make a number of adjustments to help you work more comfortably and effectively such as:
  • Additional support, particularly if you have just been diagnosed with a condition
  • Flexible or reduced hours
  • Working from home
  • Longer rest breaks
  • Dispensation for related absences
  • Allowing you to pace your own workload
  • Adaptations to your work space or position
  • Aids to help memory/concentration if this is a symptom of your condition.
If your condition is classed as a disability under the Equality Act, your employer is obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ as above, and may be able to get funding through the Access to Work scheme, via Jobcentre Plus. The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has an effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” This could include ‘hidden’ impairments or disabilities and the effect must be “substantial, adverse and long-term.”

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 a chronic pain condition, 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.