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Fired due to MS / Career advice

Hi. For many years I worked as hospitality events manager but due to Covid I was off work for over a year. During this time I also received diagnosis of RRMS. While waiting for the industry to reopen I started some temp work, took me 2 weeks to relapse and this was the first time I realised that my MS is real.

Beginning of last month I finally managed to get a job as event manager. I was excited as it was 36h position only (previous was over 45h). At this point I found myself doing 12h shifts on Fridays and Saturdays and my daily routine also involved setting up the venue with heavy chairs, tables and sofas sometimes few times a day.

My MD find out about my MS from a fellow employee (his girlfriend also has MS so we talked about it few times). He tried to be supportive at first but after 3 weeks I was let go. Apparently I am not a good fit for a company and he will have to hire someone else to cover all venue operations as I am unable to cope. I was also told I need to consider other options as event environment will always be demanding. I am absolutely devastated, I worked very hard to get to where I am now, finished my Events Postgrad in January and it looks like I am not suitable for the role anymore. I don’t know what to do.

Where do I look for MS career advice? Can someone recommend service they used before? Is it legal to be fired due to your health condition?

Karolina

1 Like

Hi Karl and welcome. First off, you should have or will receive formal notification that your employment is being terminated. In light of what you have said, if it doesn’t already say so, ask your ex employer for confirmation in writing (email is fine) as to why you were let go, ideally as you say because of your RRMS. Don’t be mentioning reasonable adjustments or the EA2010, that horse has bolted. When you have confirmation, you need to think about an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. You normally have 90 days since dismissal or the event to raise this. Before you do that speak to ACAS to see if they can resolve ypur issue. You’ll be looking for compensation or reinstatement. If you happen to be in a trade union reach out to them as well.
Expect your employer to deny your MS is the reason for your dismissal as that of itself is illegal. If you have any witnesses make sure you have their input too.
Good luck.
Retro.

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Hi
Sorry that you are experiencing this problem.

I have cut and paste the below who are in unison with the MS Society.

I made contact with them once myself and they were very informative and helped me to fight my corner as they say.

Best of luck.

The MS Society funds the MS Legal Line in order to provide free confidential legal advice to people affected by MS in England and Wales. The MS Legal Line can advise on the following areas of law:

  • Employment
  • Disability Discrimination (in relation to the provision of services and public functions)
  • Community Care
  • Welfare Benefits (appeals)

The service is very busy and you therefore may have to leave a message for someone to call you back. We aim to respond within 3 working days

Hi Retrovirus,

I am sure I was let go due to my MS. There was absolutely no reason for it. He said he needs someone who will be more involved in venue operations which means setting up heavy furniture and equipment by myself if needed. The day I was let go he was moving stuff around the venue and I asked if he needs my help. His response was that he is ok but after 2hours of heavy lifting he came to the office and told me that “this is not working.” I was also told that in my situation he would consider different work environment.

I will definitely get in touch with ACAS, thank you for suggesting. Much appreciated.

So basically, should I keep my MS for myself when I start a new job? Or they should know anyways?

Best

Karolina

Hi Jacobia,

That’s fantastic, thank you for sending that over. I will definitely look into it.
Hope you managed to resolve your case?

Best, Karolina

You are not obliged to disclose your disability however an employer can make limited enquiries where relevant to the post. Mist employers are sympathetic and would wish to help where possible. The link below should answer most of your questions.

Here is a very useful guide.

For your longer term health think carefully about the type of work, and working hours that you think you can do. You don’t want to be pushing yourself too hard and into relapses, and all the stress that will cause you and also to the employer. You need to get a job that is a good fit for you, healthwise. One that will work for you and the employer.

Also, probably a bit of a controversial view, but I think it is also not fair on small employers if a person goes into a job knowing they will have difficulty doing it. It can put a small company out of business. I say that despite being made redundant by a small business because I’d had a period of ill-health that looked very like MS - the owner’s wife was a GP, knew the signs - though they were very careful to not say it in writing. I could understand it from their point of view. It did cut deep though.

I’ve had to change career - I had been an architect - could no longer do the complex keyboard cad skills and was no longer safe climbing ladders. I was also a trained furniture maker, but using big woodworking machines became too risky. So I became an ecologist. I was better when not desk-bound. That is now going down the pan too.

Hi Ziola,

Thank you for sending that over.

How did you feel about changing your career? Did you know what else you would like to do? I feel like events is everything I want career wise, at this point I just can’t imagine doing anything else unfortunately.

Well I totally agree with you. The problem is that I’ve applied for an event manager position, 36h a week which should be 7h a day. I end up doing 4 days a week, 12h on Friday and Saturday and working as production team on site instead of event planning. And now I am being fired as not suitable for the role. Obviously I am not, if I knew I would even bother to take the offer and quit my previous job. At least they understood my needs

I’d suggest you think carefully about the elements of event work that you feel you can manage, and the ones that you know will be difficult, then try to think if there is a type of role within events that would be right for you, and where to focus your job search. If the job description hasn’t been clear, and hasn’t been made more clear at interview, if you are offered a job, try to get that clarified, and at that point see if there are any adjustments that can be made if it turns out to not be quite as described, and hence potentially problematic. Wait until offered a job before declaring a disability!

At the same time think about the skills you have and how they might be transferrable. There must be many! Also what you most enjoy about work - whether it is organising, dealing with people etc., and what you’d like to enjoy in work that maybe events doesn’t cover.

Also think about the type of company that is likely to be most able to be flexible with people with disabilities. The trouble with MS is that it is variable and unpredictable - not like, say, deafness, or missing a hand! Whilst small firms can be brilliant, depending on the personality of the owner, they can struggle with being flexible, simply because they don’t have enough people to move about, especially where deadlines are not moveable. Large companies may be better. I’m currently working for the civil service - they are such a huge organisation that I don’t worry about the consequences of me being ill to them. They can shift work around staff as needs be. Also it is very easy to adjust to reduced hours - they take it in their stride. I do much prefer working for small companies though! Hate the layers of managment and the tick-box culture and needless admin they love to create!

With me, I was already interested in ecology and had done training (night school as we used to call it) whilst having my day job. At that point I wasn’t thinking of it as a career. When it became clear that architecture was no longer possible, but that doing ecological surveys as a volunteer seemed to suit me, then I started to consider it as a potential career.

With perseverence and luck you will hopefully find the right role to suit you. And also I hope your MS stays stable and that you can pursue your career for a good, long time.

You are not obliged to disclose your disability however an employer can make limited enquiries where relevant to the post

I feel sorry for you.They couldn’t fire you for no reason, I think. When I was in college I found a job online and it’s very cool. I could work and they wouldn’t know about any of my illnesses if it was. I worked a lot and didn’t always have time to study and so I turned to GrabMyEssay Review of Writing Quality, Cost, and Benefits for help. I think you should look for a job online. If you find such a job it was very cool because you can work from anywhere and it’s great! I believe in you!

Those are some heavy losses that you have incurred. I hate the way that MS neatly carves out parts of our lives that we have worked and studied so patiently and so long to establish. I applaud your flexibility of mind, not that you have had much choice in the matter, admittedly. When someone comments on how ‘well’ I am coping (!) I always reply that I am only coping until I have a better idea. I expect you know the feeling.