First time on this forum and it might be a lengthy post but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
I started a new job in January (even at the interview, I had to have it scheduled on earlier in the day as I communicated with them that I had an MRI scan in the afternoon.)
About a month into the job I had the Lumber Puncture which because of negative side effects, I got signed off work by the doctors for a month. The results came back saying I had Remitting Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis which I communicated with my employer. They were very understanding saying if I needed to go part time, then this was a possibility and they would make reasonable adjustments to suit me. I did explain that I struggled a lot with fatigue, eye sight and other various things. They seemed supportive of the idea that I might end up having more sick days than the rest of my employees if I had a relapse and they seemed fine.
I do competitive cheerleading in my spare time and I had a competition on one weekend, however on the Sunday afternoon/evening I did have a relapse. This scared me as I experienced a lot of symptoms that I haven’t come across before such as the numbness and heavy feeling in my limbs as well as wobbliness and tremor. Although I got my diagnosis in Feburary, my next neuro appointment isn’t until June so I am on no medication but I decided rest and potentially asking the doctors for some help and advice the next day would be a good idea, as I was pretty scared and quite upset.
I emailed my manager that evening to let him know in advance what had happened and that I wouldn’t be coming to work, but if I had gotten doctors advice/was feeling any better I would aim to be in later in the afternoon. His reply was fine and said to call him once I knew anymore information.
I then got another email a little while later saying that he knew I was away over the weekend so they had therefore lost any trust in me and that I was fired with immediate effect and to not return to the office. Me being away at the competition was never something I hid from work and the Friday in the office, everyone was wishing me luck and I certainly wasn’t trying to lie to them. I felt like they have given me the sack because I was genuinely ill and they found this as an easy excuse to get rid of someone with MS whilst in my probationary period.
I found this unfair also as I work weekdays and I felt that they were trying to tell me because I was a high risk case because of my MS that I shouldn’t be doing hobbies in my spare time and I guess everyone here knows how unpredictable these attacks can be. Maybe I pushed my body too far but I’m still trying to find out my limits in a way, as it has been a very recent diagnosis.
After lots of emails to and from whilst I was trying to explain the situation, I was told I could appeal the decision to the directors of the company. I did appeal the decision, and now the appeal is set to be this Tuesday however, there is no-one senior to my manager who fired me in the company but he has said he’ll go into the appeal with an ‘open mind’.
I feel a little worried that he won’t change his mind as I’m not sure what else I can tell him apart from what I have already said? I’m also not sure what to expect in an appeal meeting and I feel that I may struggle as I am not part of a trade union to have someone accompany me and I don’t feel having a work colleague present would be appropriate as it is a small business with about 10 workers in total. I did ask if I would be allowed to have a family member present to support me but I was told this would not be allowed.
I wonder if anyone would be able to provide any advice on what I could expect, how best to get myself prepared for the appeal and if there are any trade unions that could help me out at last minute notice (all the ones I’ve contacted so far have said I would have to be a member for atleast a month before I could get any help.)
I’ve also been job hunting like crazy and I’ve had a couple of interviews but everytime I am getting asked if I have been fired and if I have any disabilities. It is getting me really down as I feel they unfairly dismissed me previously, but trying to communicate this with potential employers isn’t easy. I feel very stressed and depressed which is making my symptoms a lot worse and I’ve had difficulties even trying to fill in application forms which gets me very wound up. I’ve also tried communicating to the neuro department of my situation and if theres any help I can get in the meantime or if I can get on medication quicker and they simply suggest to phone back every week to see if there has been any cancellations
Many thanks in advance and apologies for such a long first post!!