Forum

do I tell work I have MS?

I have been working at my present job for 8 years. I had symptoms for 5 years before dyagnosis was confirmed. I have not told work and have managed my MS well. Only working 4 days a week has allowed me to rest up and also have as many appointments as possible on my day off. However, that has changed and I am now having to change my medication to Gilenya due to new relapses and lesions. As the new medication will need closer monitoring and the clinics do not coincide with my day off ismitbtime to tell my employers. As part of my working roll is sales targeted I am worried that excuses or flaws (which I do possess either MS symptoms or just me) will be used to let me go. There are only 2 of us most of the time and my colleague knows I have MS and is very surportive but my 2 directors do not. Is now the right time to tell them as I am sure my MS will get worse. My job is a manager of print and copy shop which involves spending much time on my feet and going up and down stairs about 100 times a day . which i think has helped in the past. I am female and 53. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. Best wishes Jo

Hi Jo,

It’s completely your choice, but I would have thought telling them would protect you, rather than be used as an excuse to “let you go”.

They don’t have to make concessions for something they couldn’t possibly know about, BUT, once they know you have MS, you are protected by law against discrimination based on your illness, so I would think they would be very, very wary of initiating any sort of disciplinary process over failings which might be attributed to your illness.

How long have you been diagnosed? Have they been generally happy with your work? If so, perhaps you could use the fact you’ve had MS for quite some time to reassure them it hasn’t caused a major problem so far? I think a lot of their concerns will be based on fear of the unknown - but if you can tell them you’ve already had it ages?

It’s a pity, in a way, that you haven’t felt able to tell them before, as you might have been able to have some appointments on work’s time, and not have had to forfeit so many days off.

Perhaps you could explain what you have to us - that you’ve been taking medical appointments in your own time as a gesture of goodwill, but through no fault of your own, this will no longer be possible, as hospital arrangements will be changing?

If you don’t tell them, they’ll surely figure out something is wrong if you keep needing time off for hospital appointments? You might want to scotch any rumours before they start (e.g. that you are pregnant, have cancer, or whatever), by telling them exactly what the score is.

Tina

x

Hi Jo.

When things could/may be bad. Look up Question by Garryh92 Dated 10/6/14 and get some idea.

Disclosure to your employer is a big thing. So really take your time over it. If it does not breach HSA, has potenial forcausing you or other staff harm, take your time deciding.

Or contact MSSociety support line for more advice. Andy

Thank you for your help and time. Have read through the thread regarding Garry. Very useful. I agree with you though - I am going to take my time. I think that is why i asked for advice. I needed the total outsiders view as family and friends are to close to the situation. I shall also speak with the MS help line tom. My day off!! Wishing you all the best. Jo

Hi Anitra, thank you for your reply. Again great food for thought. I shall think long and hard about it before making my decision and ask for further advice. Take care Jo

I personally would tell them what is to be gained by not telling them?

Don

I would also point out that if you have an accident - slip on a wet floor etc and you have not told them thern then their insurance could be invalid. I think it is better to tell them. You are covered by various legislation and you may even find they will be sympathetic to your need for new appointments.

Good luck

JBK xx

Hi JBK, Sorry to disagree, but I do not believe that is true. If not disclosing MS would invalidate the employer’s insurance, that would be a back door way of making it compulsory to disclose, and we know that, for most jobs, there is no such obligation. It may mean the policy would not pay out, to that particular person - but that would have to be decided on the evidence - i.e. whether it was a genuine work-related accident, or due to something unrelated, like the employee’s MS. I don’t believe the employer would at any time have “invalid insurance” because an employee hadn’t disclosed MS. Whether a claim on it would be successful is a different matter. If they had left a floor wet, it shouldn’t make any difference whether the victim had MS, as anybody could have fallen. But if the employee fell out of nowhere, and THEN tried to complain it was somehow work’s fault, the claim might - and IMO should - fail, if it was shown to be the result of a health condition, and not anything work did wrong. Basically, even if you don’t disclose, you should still be protected if work did something wrong (leaving the floor wet), but not if you fell over all by yourself, without any help from them. So I don’t think their insurance is a strong argument either way. As the law doesn’t force employees to disclose health conditions, the insurance industry would have priced into the premiums that a certain proportion of the workforce probably has a condition their employer doesn’t know about. I’m sure it has no legal repercussions for the employer if an employee exercises their right to keep quiet. The only legal implications are if the employee does tell them, as then it creates rights the employer can’t ignore. Tina

Hi Tina,

I think you are right on this one. There is no argument to be held on an insurance poit of view for them or me. if there was i would have disclosed this a long time ago to safeguard myself and them. My colleague thinks now is the right time as he believes they will be more sympathetic towards me about the appointments i will need in the future. They will also realise that for the last 8 years I have managed to only have 23 weeks off and when i have had to have time off for appointments i have told them the true reasons why but not that they are caused by MS. |Still a big decision for me though and one i wont rush into. Thanks for all the feedback though - much appreciated.

Jo -

P.S. Am dyslexic - why is there no spell amd grammer check on this? !!! Bare with me on this.

This is such a difficult one and you are right to take your time on this. On days where it is impossible to hide that I am not right, I am glad they know, not that I am after sympathy because I am not…However, on the fair to middling days I wish they didn’t know as sometimes they can be a bit condiscending ‘you are doing really well or your doing a great job’ meaning what exactly! or I get grom colleagues ‘how are you coping, do you think you should think about your health and finish working’ or from previous management ‘do you think she is up to the job’, which is where I am at at the minute. I recently said, in frustration, ‘I hope that I will decide when I can no longer do my job, not those that have no or little understanding of what I can or can’t do’. On a positive note, I have many adjustments made to allow me to at least be more comfortable at my desk, I have specialist chairs and a trolley, a light weigth laptop all through ‘access to work’. So I shouldn’t complain really. I work with 2 other ms sufferers 1 has told HR the other hasn’t the later since her diagnosis 10 years ago refuses to even go back to the neurologist, she would rather not know. We are all different. Hope you reach a decision that is right for you. All the best Lou x

Hi Jo,

I disclosed to my manager on diagnosis after leaving hospital in 2001. We were a close working team with 3 good Ofsted reports and they were great,

I was sent to occupational health.They reported that I did not need any adaptions or alterations. I was able to carry on working, managing my MS.

A couple of years later, my manager, employed an assistant (p/time) to help my manual workload, without me asking and I was given a promotion and my assistant was made f/time. GREAT !!

2006, New manager, terminated my assistant and increased my manual tasks, because of “Cost cutting” and the school was in a financial state with overspending and goverment cuts. The management wanted to employ outside contractor and tender my role every 3/5 years.

I managed to find paper documentation of the New manager’s intentions to force me out, by hook or crook. Well you’ve read the rest of the story (garryh).

It is a big thing to tell your employer. I thought I would be cared for with the local authority, but where there is budgets/money involved your a number.

Take your time to disclose, Andy

Thank you again for your words of advice. One day I think it would be good to tell them, the next I am concerned they will look at me more closely to spot MS symptoms etc. And how or if it is effecting my work. I have a very good opportunity this wednesday to speak to them as they are travelling down and it would mean I don’t have to arrange a special meeting. They are 45 minutes away and have other business committments . I think it maybe better to do it this way as both directors will be there together which is very rare and It means they both hear it from me so it lessons the Chinese whisper effect. Oh well back to pondering. Thanks again. Jo

Thank you again for your words of advice. One day I think it would be good to tell them, the next I am concerned they will look at me more closely to spot MS symptoms etc. And how or if it is effecting my work. I have a very good opportunity this wednesday to speak to them as they are travelling down and it would mean I don’t have to arrange a special meeting. They are 45 minutes away and have other business committments . I think it maybe better to do it this way as both directors will be there together which is very rare and It means they both hear it from me so it lessons the Chinese whisper effect. Oh well back to pondering. Thanks again. Jo

Thank you again for your words of advice. One day I think it would be good to tell them, the next I am concerned they will look at me more closely to spot MS symptoms etc. And how or if it is effecting my work. I have a very good opportunity this wednesday to speak to them as they are travelling down and it would mean I don’t have to arrange a special meeting. They are 45 minutes away and have other business committments . I think it maybe better to do it this way as both directors will be there together which is very rare and It means they both hear it from me so it lessons the Chinese whisper effect. Oh well back to pondering. Thanks again. Jo

I think your working record will speak volumes. The fact that you have managed your MS without it affecting their business and that you will continue to do so as far as possible are the only things that should matter. MS Society helpline staff are indeed very helpful. It is a very personal decision though. I have to admit I only disclosed officially when doing so meant I could lose a responsibility (and the pay) that was affecting me severely. So glad I did, work is now less stressful because of this reduction in responsibility.

Good luck whatever / whenever you decide.