Many people with more severe COPD find that the symptoms affect their ability to attend work or their ability to undertake their work duties.
All employees are entitled to some measure of sick or unpaid leave in the event of a serious illness.
The sources of this entitlement are many and varied and can range from legislation through to written contracts of employment.
There are general protections available to you in the workplace in the event that you suffer an illness like COPD and need to access leave or have some reasonable adjustment undertaken to enable you to continue to work.
An employer cannot treat you unfairly or take adverse action against you merely because you have a chronic illness or are attempting to exercise a workplace right like taking sick leave. If an employer does take adverse action in these circumstances you are entitled to seek orders from a Court to restore the status quo as well as requesting that the employer be subject to a fine for breaching legislation.
Anti-discrimination laws across Australia recognise that people with illnesses are at a disadvantage and should be treated fairly. An employer must make reasonable adjustment in the workplace to assist you to conduct your work duties to the best of your ability having regard to the impacts of your illness.