Q: I contracted COVID-19 in the summer of 2020. I was in hospital for several weeks and was left with various health problems, some intermittent. Eventually I was diagnosed with Long COVID. Some days I can barely get out of bed with fatigue, other times it manifests itself in other ways.
When I went back to work, I was also nervous about continuing in a customer facing role, and still am, particularly since the virulent Omicron strain took hold. My boss says there is no other job he could offer me. As a result, I have probably had more time off than perhaps I would have done with a desk job. Now the boss says he is going to have to let me go. I am sure he thinks I am making it up, but I am not. What should I do?
A: Most businesses are managing Long Covid under their existing sickness policies, so you should firstly check what the sickness policies are at your place of work. Your employer should be taking into account medical evidence from your GP and also seeking advice from an occupational health specialist, but because Long COVID is such a relatively new condition it could be that such evidence and advice may not be as clear as it should be.
If this is a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial long term negative effect on your ability to do your work, then it should be treated as a disability.
Adjustments should be made to enable you to do your job. For example, home-working or going part-time or changing roles. It does however sound as if you have explored this with your employer, and that the very nature of your job and the business itself make it impossible to accommodate such changes. It would probably be helpful to talk through the situation in more detail with an employment solicitor.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194