In this section we look to address all aspects of a balance health condition in the workplace. Our goal is to help any employee, and any employer, understand how best to develop “win win” employment relationships, where a balance disorder sufferer continues to contribute in full to their employers’ organisation, and the employee continues to enjoy the benefits of a positive and successful working career.
As a support group we have encountered many examples (recounted by members) of employment discrimination, unfair dismissal and simply employer ignorance of how they can work together with their loyal employees, at a time when help, understanding and support is most needed.
Some employers would perhaps also counter argue that if they are not aware of serious medical conditions, or their employee does not engage with them on this matter, then wrong assumptions, perceptions and actions will result in managing staff employment. So careful and sensitive communication is required by all parties to ensure the best of outcomes for all.
Our overriding objective is to help our members, the wider balance community and employers understand employment law, best practice, and options to ensure a common sense and collaborative approach. Such an approach will result in “win win” solutions for loyal hardworking employees with balance conditions to still be able to contribute to the success of their employer’s business.
A secondary objective is to ensure both employee and employer understand the law and and due process, so that silly (and costly) mistakes are not made when an employee is affected by the on set of a balance condition – It is important to understand that most balance disorders will qualify as a “hidden disability” as as such fall under the protection of various disability discrimination acts and laws. Any employer found to have committed discrimination against a disability faces “unlimited damages” – so we hope to help all avoid this huge penalty.
Whilst we hope this section will answer many questions concerning employment law and employment process in the United Kingdom (for both Employee and Employer) our content here should never replace seeking professional and appropriate advice to help you understand your specific situation, options and solutions.
See below for further links to helpful resources and if a group member, how to access free professional guidance if you are in need of help. We hope this section will help calm any anxieties and guide you in what can be the most stress full of times and situations for any of us.
- Likely Issues related to balance conditions and work
- What You need to know and need to Do
- Useful Links
- Balance Conditions in the Workplace – Fact Card pdf
- Link to Tracey Hudson’s Presentation “Employment and Balance Conditions”
- Members service – HR General Advice and guidance Apply here
- Members share their Experiences
Likely Issues related to balance conditions and work
How you are typically impacted at work ?
- Increased absence days
- Perceived new unreliability
- Lack of focus at work
- Inability to work at normal speed or intensity
- A need to change the environment in which you work
- Perhaps a need to change your role
- Perceived ‘distance’ or unsociable attitude with colleagues
Employer potential adverse perceptions or actions
- Sees employee as no longer of value
- Perceives employee is “pretending”
- Irritated by new unreliability in attendance
- Receive Colleagues or customer complaints about productivity
- Concerned that employee is no longer suitable for the job
- Looks to terminate employee
Many of the above issues will require good communications and understanding from all parties to ensure false perceptions do not prevail and bad outcomes do not result for employee and employer alike.
What You need to know and need to do
Is My Balance Condition a “Disability”
The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as :- “ 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.”.
A General rule of thumb – Does this impact you day-to-day and has lasted, or is likely to last, longer than a year? If the answer is yes, then you are protected by the 2010 Act and have a hidden disability.
What is Discrimination?
Disability discrimination is prohibited in various aspects of employment, including recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, training, and dismissal.
Types of discrimination include direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization.
Employers have a legal obligation to prevent discrimination and foster an inclusive work environment.
What happens at work?
Following on from some sort of issue occurring, you may be called to a meeting ….
A Welfare meeting – of “how are you?” “What’s happening?”
You won’t always know the meeting agenda, but prepare for eventualities.
If you are in a union, contact them for support to accompany you to meetings and also be your advocate. We’re not great at being our own advocate!
You may, for example, say that you have a balance problem, and would like to arrange
a second meeting to discuss (so you can prepare), so, you don’t have to explain all in the first meeting.
You or your employer may request to have a Doctors GP report or Occupational Health referral
Always Choose the OH Referral – it will be more appropriate to your circumstances
Important – Always “Tick the box” on any OH Authorisation Form – to see the report first (so you can be sure they have understood your condition)
The Welfare Meeting Outcome
There are three normal outcome options :-
- “Nothing”, its agreed to wait and watch and see how it goes
- “GP or Occupational Health report” (with recommended workplace adjustments) [OH is preferable for you, as GP report is restricted to less useful information for the work place and how to move forward]
- “Ill health dismissal” – Don’t Panic! This would be a process, not an immediate act,
so you will have time to argue or defend your position and seek advice. Employers have an obligation to look at alternative roles, work and environments, so there is much to discuss if an employer is looking to dismiss, before dismissal occurs.
Workplace (reasonable) adjustments
Request an Occupational Health Referral in order to gain help in achieving adjustments
Put your request in writing – Occupational Health Referral may do this!
Provide relevant information about your disability
Explain how it affects your ability to do your job
Explain how it affects your ability to attend work
Employers are legally obligated to consider and provide reasonable adjustments.
The Key word here is = reasonable!
Some Workplace adjustments Examples with Balance Conditioons
Flexible hours so you can start late if you wake up with BPPV
Ground floor desk so you don’t have to deal with stairs
Different screens/monitors that help with your visual sensitivity
Parking space close to the entrance if you have issues walking in open spaces
Desk close to toilets if you struggle with nausea/vomiting
Awareness session for your colleagues so they know how to support you if you have an attack at work
Changes in your tasks to avoid triggers, and loads more…. This is not an exhaustive list!
If cost is likely to be an issue to any adjustments, remember that there is “Access to Work” that may be able to fund changes – see below for link.
Should I disclose my balance condition?
Disclosing your disability is a personal choice; you are not obligated to disclose unless it directly affects your ability to perform the job. However, disclosure may be beneficial as it enables your employer to provide reasonable adjustments and support.
Any information shared should be treated confidentially, and employers should not make assumptions based on disability.
Risk – That your employer does the wrong thing! (But there could be “unlimited damages” if they are found to have discriminated against you and you are seen as having a hidden disability at work)
Understanding your rights
Understanding your rights as an employee with a disability is critical to give you confidence when you’re talking to your employer, so remember:
You are entitled to reasonable adjustments and;
You have protection against discrimination.
Try to Be confident. Be assertive. You know best!
At a time when you are not at your strongest – do seek help & support with this process
Check your insurance. If you have a mortgage, quite often you have insurance that provides your legal fees to defend you if you lose your job and/or insurance that covers your loss of earnings if you lose your job. Most people don’t notice this because they are focussing on interest rates when signing paperwork about mortgages so it’s worth double-checking. Don’t assume – check the small print!
If you are in a Trade Union, then contact them for advice. They can send someone with you to meetings with your employer – when you are not feeling at your best, then it can be really helpful to have someone else attend meetings with you who understands what you’re going through and be your advocate when you aren’t feeling up to being your own advocate.
Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation, & Arbitration Service) www.acas.org.uk
Disability Rights UK www.disabilityrightsuk.org
Access to work www.gov.uk/access-to-work
The Association of Disabled Professionals www.adp.org.uk
Balance Conditions in the Workplace – Fact Card Downloadable PDF document
This is an ideal way to share information with your employer, colleagues, even family and friends about the issues you may be facing with your balance condition and your job. Remember that it is a Life On The Level “fact card” so you are not saying anything as yet in your own voice to your employer – that may be an ideal way for you to “start a conversation”, where you let us make the introduction to balance conditions in the work place and the issues that often arise.
Link to Tracey Hudson’s Presentation “Employment and Balance Conditions”
Tracey Hudson – HR Consultant and Employment Expert (and Group Member)
Tracey gave a wonderful, insightful, and concise presentation on the subject of Employment with Balance conditions. As a balance condition sufferer herself and a professional HR advisor Tracey has a unique position to both understand the needs of the employer with such a condition, the current UK legislation and the position of the employer organisation. Please click here to view the video and our members questions during the meeting
Members service – FREE HR General Advice and guidance – Apply here
Tracey Hudson has most generously agreed to provide general help and guidance to any of the groups members who find themselves facing issues at work due to their balance illness. Whilst Tracey is not allowed to represent or give specific advice to any member, she will be happy to provide general advice and suggest where help and assistance may be found in each specific case. This is provided free of charge and by someone who understands balance illness – we believe a first for the balance community. To apply for Tracey’s help, please email a summary of your employment concerns in confidence to ourselves via email to firstname.lastname@example.org . All information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence and passed on only to Tracey. She will then contact you to discuss your situation in more detail.
Members share their Experiences
The following are real experiences of our members, when suffering from a balance condition in the workplace. We thank them for sharing their personal stories, so that we collectively may learn from them and improve how employers and balance sufferers can find better ways to still maintain employment and contribute to their employer’s success.
Please email in your own experiences – the Good, The Bad and The Ugly – for this section. We prefer not to reveal names of employees or employers, so only you will know who you are and where this happened (unless its a very positive story and you would like to share the name of your employer)
So to share your story please email us at email@example.com
Your Employment Stories
To Follow ………………….
We hope this section of our group website has been of use to you. Please do share your feedback with us and do not hesitate to contribute your thoughts, more links or any useful information that will help us improve our support for anyone in our balance community, potentially facing difficulties or concerns about their future employment.