Can I work from home with endometriosis? Research done by a loving husband of a chronically ill wife.
So, can I work from home with endometriosis?
The answer to the question “can I work from home with endometriosis” is yes – you can work from home with endometriosis. My wife does it, and this post will explain to you why it is possible.
In the United States, those with endometriosis who may be absent from work are at risk to be the victim of the employer’s will. The most publicized and litigated law designed to protect these workers with disabilities is the Americans with Disabilities Act, known as the ADA, for short.
But just to clarify, I’m talking in this post about the United Kingdom which means that it can differ from country to country, however, if endometriosis qualifies as a disability in your area, you should be alright.
If you are new to my blog, I’ll have you know that my wife suffers from stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis, but also from fibromyalgia, not to mention chronic fatigue that’s accompany both conditions.
The vast amount of symptoms these illnesses cause her, made M struggle to stand up to her employer for a long while.
She always worried about losing her job if she openly spoke up about how she really felt.
Working as a secretary for the national health care, M felt responsible for the patients that were often misdiagnosed by the doctors she works for. She always tries to please others thinking of them before herself.
But I noticed her struggles, and the primary reason for her extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts was the fact that her employer wanted her physically by the desk rather than working from home.
She wasn’t physically able to travel 2 hours every morning on public transport. London being crowded added to the stress of not being able to sit when she was in pain.
So, how did we do it? How did she manage to work on her terms?
In order to fully answer the question of “how can I work from home with endometriosis” I had to do a lot of research. I read the Equality Act from 2010 and went through countless pages of the Citizens Advice Office.
I also wrote an amazing e-Book with my wife’s called “Endo-Tool, Endometriosis for Men”, which is a fantastic source of information on endometriosis. You could also show it to people at work so they can quickly understand what you’re going through.
I give away a FREE 1st chapter that contains 20 pages filled with a lot of value, which includes:
- What is endometriosis?
- What are the symptoms?
- What causes endometriosis?
- What does endometriosis look like?
- What are the stages?
- What are the types?
- What is adenomyosis and how is it related to endometriosis?
- Why do some women develop severe endo and others don’t?
- Does endometriosis cause infertility?
- How is endometriosis diagnosed?
- Do types and stages affect the treatment?
- Recurrence of endometriosis after excision surgery.
Get FREE “Endo-Tool”
Endometriosis for Men e-Book
What are reasonable adjustments?
Firstly, in order to answer “can I work from home with endometriosis”, you need to know what are reasonable adjustments your employer has to take into consideration.
Secondly, the Citizens Advice Office provides a piece of good free advice for people in every aspect of work, including working with a disability.
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.” Endometriosis is a long-term condition, there is no cure for it, it’s hidden, and causes physical and mental impairment.
According to vitality360.co.uk, an invisible or hidden disability is a term used to describe a wide range of health conditions and learning difficulties.
This includes anxiety and depression, visual and hearing impairments, autism, persistent pain, CFS/ME, Crohn’s disease, colitis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, migraines – the list goes on…
Some of the reasonable adjustments your employer should take into account may include:
- allowing the disabled person to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment, or medical treatment
- acquiring or modifying equipment
- altering the disabled person’s working hours
- transferring the disabled person to fill an existing vacancy
- making adjustments to premises, such as improving access
- allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to another person
- assigning the disabled person to a different place of work
- giving the disabled person training
- providing a reader or interpreter
- providing support workers
- modifying instructions and reference manuals
An adjustment can be reasonable even though it costs the employer money. There is support available towards the cost of some adjustments, for example via the government’s Access to Work scheme.
The adjustments have to be “reasonable”. What’s reasonable for your employer to do depends on your situation – like the size of the organization you work for.
Your employer should pay for any adjustments – they shouldn’t ask you to pay.
If your employer doesn’t make the adjustments they have a duty to make, it could be discrimination. You might be able to complain or take them to an employment tribunal to get what you need.
Not having extra equipment or help – the law calls this an “auxiliary aid”!
You’ll need to show that you’re at a substantial disadvantage before your employer has to make any adjustments. This means being affected in a way that is more than “minor or trivial”.
For example, if a daily task takes you an extra few minutes compared to others and causes you pain or discomfort or you are missing targets, you need an adjustment.
You’ll need to show that someone without a disability would not be affected, or would be affected less than you, by the particular rule, feature, or lack of equipment or support.
What is considered reasonable depends on your particular case.
So far, it seems already enough to answer if you can work from home with endometriosis, but there’s more…
Depending on your personal circumstances, your employer may need expert medical advice to make sure the support offered is appropriate – for example from your GP. Treating you unfairly means that your employer risks a tribunal claim.
Two years’ service is needed for a claim for unfair dismissal. No service is needed for a claim based on disability discrimination.
You might have to say what adjustments you need depending on whether you’re still working for your employer. According to the Equality Act of 2010, section 21 states that if an employer fails to make a reasonable adjustment it’s discrimination.
All kinds of policies, procedures, and ways of working are included – written or unwritten, formal or informal.
They can include dress codes, working hours, working practices, recruitment policies, absence policies, promotion criteria, redundancy selection criteria, and work allocation.
Any adjustment should be made to suit you, taking into account your job, disability, and the policy that’s causing you problems.
The Act does not permit an employer to justify a failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments. If the employer doesn’t comply they will be committing an act of unlawful discrimination.
Your employer has a duty to provide you with help or support if not doing so would put you at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who aren’t disabled. This is called the duty to provide auxiliary aids.
You need to be able to say clearly:
- what kind of support and assistance do you need
- how you’re at a disadvantage because your employer isn’t providing that support or assistance
- how that disadvantage is linked to your disability
- what support and assistance do you think your employer should provide
- how that help will stop you from being at a disadvantage
The Equality Act of 2010 answers the question of can I work from home with endometriosis, but as I mentioned at the beginning, I have looked into the Citizens Advice too. Let’s take a look…
Work from home with endometriosis according to the Citizens Advice Office.
They advised me from the start that my wife had to explain to her boss how she felt disadvantaged, and you might have to do it too, for instance:
- You need to be able to explain to your employer why you need the adjustments you’re asking for.
- You should tell them why it’s difficult for you to do your job compared to someone without your disability.
- The disadvantage has to be more than minor or trivial – the law calls this ‘being put at a substantial disadvantage.
Your employer should make reasonable adjustments, such as:
- making changes to your job so that you could return to do some of it
- finding you a different job that you could do
Changes could include giving you lighter duties, making your hours shorter, changing your place of work – like allowing you to work at home or in a different office that’s accessible or closer to home if traveling is difficult.
These could be temporary or permanent changes, depending on whether you think you might be able to do your full job in the future.
If you can’t work at all, even with these adjustments, the only possible adjustment your employer can make is to wait to see whether your health improves so that you can go back to work in the future.
It might be reasonable for them to delay making a decision if you’re having treatment – like if you’re due to have an operation in 6 months’ time, or you’ve just started new painkillers.
Explain your situation to your employer. You might also have to explain the law to them if you think they won’t be aware of their legal obligations – like if they’re a small employer or don’t have an HR department.
You should say if you’re asking for:
- a change to a rule or way of doing things
- a change to a physical feature
- extra equipment or support – the law calls this an auxiliary aid.
You can end your letter by asking your employer to consider the adjustments and let you know in writing if they can’t make them or ask them to have a meeting with you to discuss your request.
Ask them to respond within a certain time – 7 to 14 days is usually reasonable depending on what you’re asking for.
If you speak to your employer, keep a note of what you asked for and their response. If they agree to make a change within a certain time, make sure you follow up with them if they don’t do it within that time.
Writing an informal letter…
You could try writing an informal letter first. This is most likely to keep a good relationship with your employer. You’re trying to get them to agree to your request without threatening them with legal action.
Your letter doesn’t have to follow a set format, but it should:
- give your employer enough information about your condition for them to understand that you are, or could be, disabled
- make it clear that your condition has lasted, or is likely to last at least 12 months and that its effect on your day-to-day life is more than minor or trivial
- say what’s causing you a problem at work and how that could be addressed – list any solutions you can think of
You might need to write a more formal letter if you:
- have already spoken to your employer but without success
- need adjustments to be made urgently
- work for a large employer who’s used to dealing with such requests
If your employer doesn’t make the adjustments you need to do the following…
If you think your employer’s decision is unfair or they don’t make the adjustments they said they would, you can write to them again if they’ve told you why they won’t make the adjustments and you can think of a way to overcome their objection.
Most adjustments are free or relatively cheap to make. If your employer says it’s too expensive to make the adjustment, tell them they might be able to get help from Access to Work.
You can also suggest they look for charities or organizations for people with your condition that might be able to offer a grant to help.
If you’re an employee who’s worked for your employer for more than 26 weeks, you have a right to ask for flexible working.
You could also take time off for medical appointments.
If your employer has an HR or health and safety team, you could ask them to make the changes you need.
If none of these work, you might have to raise a grievance. If you can’t solve the problem by complaining, you don’t need to leave your job. Your employer shouldn’t treat you unfairly for complaining. That would be victimization.
I hope this article answers that you can work from home with endometriosis.
If you need more information about it, I based it on sources like this one.
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…