What happens if I cannot do some parts of my job?

Sometimes jobs change because of new technology. Good employers will ensure that employees are given adequate training to cope with changes in work. Where a union is recognised at your workplace, your union rep can help negotiate arrangements for effective training for all affected staff.

If you can no longer do some parts of your job because of a disability (mental or physical), you are entitled to extra protection under the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010. In particular, your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to help you remain at work. This can include, for example, providing you with extra training, technological aids, different duties or even a different job.

Depending on your particular circumstances, not being able to do significant parts of your job can lead to a fair dismissal, but there are a number of important steps your employer should take before reaching this stage. For example they should:

  • discuss with you how you can be helped with the tasks you find difficult;
  • consider why it is that you are having problems (Is it a short-term or a long-term difficulty? Is it work-related (for example bullying) or is it something temporary happening at home?);
  • think about your particular circumstances – for example, a previous record of good service;
  • offer you suitable training;
  • consider whether management need training (for example, are you being offered adequate support? Are instructions clear? Is the workload appropriate? If your duties have changed, have you had long enough to try out new arrangements?);
  • give you a proper chance to improve;
  • if you are disabled, consider whether occupational health advice is needed and whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to support you;
  • think about whether there are any other jobs you could do instead, or any other sensible ways to tackle the problem;
  • follow a proper disciplinary procedure, including warning you formally – at least once and in writing – that your job is at risk if you fail to improve; and
  • give you a right of appeal.

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.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.