Employer niggles

Hi I’m lucky enough to only be mildly affected by ms at the moment. I work part time and I keep as fit and active as I can - regularly going to the gym or spin classes depending on my energy levels that day. Fatigue reared its ugly head last week so I took 2 days off work sick and once I’d rested up I felt back to “normal” again. My boss did a “Return to Work” interview which I thought was just about making sure I haven’t gone back too soon. But he suggested, rather forcefully, that whilst he’s happy for me to exercise during the weekend and holidays, when I’m at work I should stick to gentle exercise as I clearly cannot cope with keeping fit at the same time. He repeated back to me all the stuff I’d been doing over the last few weeks so has obviously been keeping track of it. Is it really any of his business? I pointed out that if I hadn’t kept so fit then I might not have recovered so quickly but his comments have left me feeling really angry. I work with a lovely team and we all talk about what we get up to in our spare time but now I feel like I can’t.

‘…happy for you to exercise…’ - I would say that is none of his b****y business. Thats like saying you should give notice if you are going to get a cold. You don’t know when you will be sick. You have every right to be angry and keeping your fitness levels up is very important. If you are worried hun speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau about the way he is keeping track of what you do outside work. I don’t think he should be allowed to do that.

Think about it this way. Would he speak to another member of thh team if they reguularly went climbing and one weekend they fell and had to take some time off because of injuries? Probably not. So thats discrimination!!

Take care hun - look after yourself.

JBK xx

How on earth does he know what exercise you’ve been doing, and when? It can only be because you’ve told him. I suggest you stop providing a running commentary of everything you’ve been doing. As JBK say, it is none of his business!

You’ve obviously thought you were just making polite conversation, whilst he’s been taking notes. Unless it would be illegal, in direct competition with the business, or bring it into disrepute, he’s got no say over how you spend your leisure hours - whether you work out or watch Corrie.

So although it may be hard if it’s a normal part of your workplace conversation, I would suggest you keep quiet it when it comes to discussing what exercise you’ve been doing. Or is he seeing you get into your kit every lunchtime, and come back mopping your brow? That is obviously a bit harder to keep low profile, but he still doesn’t need to know exactly where you’ve been, or how intensive it was. If he doesn’t know, he’s not in a position to criticise.

I’m not saying it’s right you shouldn’t be able to discuss perfectly legitimate leisure-time activities in the office, but if it seems to cause tensions, the simplest solution is probably just to shut up about it. He’s not entitled to know the particulars of your exercise regime. Does he need to know which medications or supplements you take, as well? No! None of it’s anything to do with him.



When I was young I used to have a pretty hectic social life, staying out late and partying pretty hard. My first ever boss (a lovely man) took me on one side and told me off because he said I came to work to recover for the next night out. I would say that he had every right to comment on what I did outside work because I was rubbish at my job and it was clearly affected by my social life.

This is different. Your boss cannot draw a line from your exercise to fatigue. MS fatigue can strike for no reason at all and has no clear correlation to activity. You could do no keep fit at all and still be struck down by fatigue. I hate the patronizing tone of his comments (happy for you to exercise at the weekends) If you are regularly absent for fatigue he could be forgiven for thinking this but if this is only the first or second time it’s a different kettle of fish. Unless he can clearly demonstrate (which he cannot) that your behaviour is affecting your ability to do the job he has no business commenting on what you do outside work.

You might like to raise a grievance about this (a formal way of pointing out to an employer that something is wrong at work) Seek help from CAB or ACAS if so.

Your boss clearly doesn’t understand anything about MS and is a complete Rs. It’s completely unfair that you now have to censor what you say in front of your colleagues in case it’s all being written down and used against you. I agree with Wendels, he needs to know that this isn’t acceptable. I think you need to seek advice regarding employers and the Equality Act.

Tracey x

Thanks all! Whilst I don’t openly advertise my private life in front of the whole office, we’re in an open plan section and I sit with a team of lovely ladies. We do chat sometimes and they are all lovely and supportive. My boss sits nearby at a separate desk but obviously earwigs everything we say! I work 5 hours a day and in the last 12 months have been off sick for a total of 4 days. My private life has no impact on my job whatsoever. I had my annual appraisal today so I took the opportunity of giving him a copy of the MS Trust leaflet about fatigue, what causes it and how to manage it. I said that hopefully it might help him understand the condition better. Incidentally, my appraisal went really well and I passed all requirements with flying colours! Thanks for all your comments. I shall see how things go at work but for now I shall become a “woman of mystery!”. PS it won’t surprise you that I’m currently job hunting!

Well done, Hairbear. Nice comeback. I bet he didn’t even have the decency to blush.

Good luck with the job hunting. Keep a copy of that appraisal. I had one once that said that as a part-time worker I achieved as much in half a day as some full-time workers could in a full day and I used that as leverage into a job with an employer who was being forced to take on part-time employees but didn’t have much faith in them.

Tracey x