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Overactive bladder and disciplinary at work.

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I've been having bladder problems for the past 4 months and have been prescribed medication to try to control this.

Tried Tamsulosin to reduce prostate size and was then prescribed Oxybutinin but these made me very drowsy. I'm a hgv driver so because of these side affects had to take time off work, 11 days in total.

This medication was really causing me problems so I'm now on Solifenicin which seems to be working ok.

My company sickness policy states that if I'm off work for more than 6 days it triggers a disciplinary which is scheduled on Thursday.

The question I'm hoping you can answer is does my condition i.e. Continence, come under the equal opportunities discrimination act and if so can I challenge the disciplinary hearing?

Thanks in advance of any replies.

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Such disciplinary hearings are standard and although they are stated as disciplinary are there as an opportunity to discuss 1) sickness cause, 2) what you have done to address the sickness e.g. see Doctors, 3) is the cause of the sickness a continuing issue that might cause further periods of sick leave, 4) what adjustments might need to be made in regard to your work.


In regard to 4) you are taking medication.  So the employers will need to understand whether this has any impact on your driving. Does this medication make you drowsy ?   Also if you are a driver, do they need to plan routes/driving times to include more breaks, if you needed to go to the toilet more often.


Below are the equalities act possible discrimination reasons.  What discrimination do you believe you are being subject to ?  Every employee is subject to the disciplinary process if they have 6 or more days sickness absence.


Protected characteristics
These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

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I'm tagging @Emmzziwho is very knowledgeable about employment matters and may be able to help.


It is impossible for us on here to diagnose whether your condition amounts to a disability under the Equality Act, but even if it does it wouldn't automatically mean that the employer could take no action against you. It would need a medical opinion from someone who is your doctor to say if you are (legally) disabled.


In general a disability under the Equality Act has be something that is likely to be 'long term'. That's usually understood to mean it has already lasted for 12 months or is likely to last for 12 months+.  The NHS page on Solifenacin suggestsyou might need to take it long term so it is possible that it could be classed as a disability. You understand I'm just speculating, only medical specialists could give you a professional opinion.


Have a look at the EHRC page on this for general background. If it does count as as Disability for you note the requirement for your employer to make "reasonable adjustments". This could include applying their sickness discipline policy flexibly. 


Disability discrimination | Equality and Human Rights Commission (equalityhumanrights.com)


Has your GP said whether it is safe for you drive HGVs while taking Solifenacin?


Are you in a union?  If not is someone accompanying you  to the hearing on Thursday? 


An obvious question, but have you provided your employer with a letter from your GP explaining your medical condition?



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Thanks for the replies so far.

I've no side affects on my new medication so doctor is not concerned. 

I'm in a union so will be taking advice and also taking my rep in with me.

My employer has received a fit note outlining my condition. 

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As stated by others it may be classed as Disciplinary Policy but is standard in most businesses when you hit a certain amount of days off that procedure comes into play and is only stage one of the process to basically ascertain the reason why you were off over the stated company policy time limit and if the Employer needs to put any actions in place for performance improvement / adjustments for your Medical Condition etc.


As you were off for 11 days due to the medication affecting you and when you returned to work did your Employer do a Back to Work Interview?


Have you asked your GP if they could do a letter for your Employer of this Medical Condition and how it has affected you, medication and the side affects etc.  (you will have to give the GP permission to give this information in a letter to your Employer and ask your GP surgery if their may be a cost for such a letter as some GP surgeries do charge so ask beforehand)


Does your Employer have any Occupational Health that you could ask to be referred to due to the Medical Condition you are presently being treated for? (if they do ask the Employer to refer you to them)



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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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I agree with everything Ethel says above. Ultimately only a court can decide if this condition amounts to a disability - at four months, i would say too short term to be covered under the Equality act.


It sounds like your new medication is working, and has no side effects? In which case the problem/ need for time off should not recur?


If that is not the case - is this still the right job for you?



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Awaiting a meeting with management and will go from there.

No idea how long I'll have this problem. Only time will tell.

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