It is believed to be the first case to prove that long Covid is a disability under the Equality Act.
Long-Covid, also known as post-Covid syndrome, is a disability; an employment tribunal has ruled this week.
In a landmark ruling, a caretaker working for a charity has successfully proven that Coronavirus left him with “substantial and long-term” side effects affecting his ability to work.
Terence Burke first contracted Covid-19 in November 2020 and, despite initially having mild symptoms, lost the ability to undertake even simple household tasks.
Mr Burke successfully fought a disability discrimination case against his former employer after he was later sacked after being too exhausted to return to work for nine months.
Substantial and long-term adverse effects.
Judge James Young ruled that Mr Burke’s condition led to a “substantial and long-term adverse effect” on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
“Fatigue affected him badly until around January 2022, and that could ‘floor him’, sleep remained disturbed, and there could be flare-ups of joint pain.
“He gave a similar account in August 2021 of symptoms and described requiring to sit and rest ‘and/or go to sleep’ and his legs and body aching on a short walk.
“That affected his ability to continue with household chores, shop, and his concentration to an extent more than minor or trivial.
“I consider that the relevant tests are met to meet the definition of disability.”
An occupational disease.
The latest data from the ONS estimates that 2.0 million people live with long-Covid.
Last month delegates at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual Congress called for long-Covid to be “recognised as a disability” amid concerns a postcode lottery over care quality will exacerbate health inequalities.
Chair of Long Covid Nurses and Midwives UK, Dr Alison Twycross, backed the call asking for long-Covid to be “recognised as an occupational disease”.
Dr Twycross is also calling for more help and support for healthcare workers suffering from long-Covid, especially when they are looking to return to work.