Forum

Whether to tell work re diagnosis when applying for redundancy

My employer doesn’t know about my diagnosis and obviously since (touch wood) I am currently fine, I would have no reason to tell them at the moment.

However, they have opened a voluntary redundancy programme and this is something that I would really like to get, because I am going to have to resign from work when my eldest child starts school so that I’m around for her…so a big payout would be far preferable to resigning with nothing.

The problem is, my department at work is really busy and in the last 2 rounds of voluntary redundancies, most applications in my department (which is not sales linked) were denied, and the only people who got it were people who they kind of wanted rid of anyway. So there’s a big likelihood if I apply for redundancy again this time, i won’t get it.

However if I tell them my diagnosis they might decide that giving me redundancy is preferable to dealing with the situation if my MS gets worse in the future, I’m not as able to do my job, taking sick leave etc.

The downside is of course that I’m currently fine and if I tell work my diagnosis it will totally change their perception of me, they may not want to give me any new responsibilities, they won’t feel I have any career prospects etc. And there’s no guarantee that telling them will get me the redundancy.

I haven’t told my family and friends yet either and obviously if I’m telling work I’d have to tell them too which I dread.

I have an appointment with a private consultant to get more information and a second opinion on the diagnosis / no medication / dietary change etc. I didn’t want to tell anyone anything until I’d spoken to him and got confirmation of the diagnosis and more information. But the voluntary redundancy programme closes before the earliest appointment date I could get with him.

Would appreciate any advice you have.

Hi there,

Having just been made redundant myself, I’m fairly certain they are NOT allowed to take health status into account when selecting candidates - and that applies even if the person would like to be chosen - not just if they wouldn’t.

So I don’t think telling them would make any difference whatsoever. They’re not allowed to consider your application more favourably (or less so).

Usually, there are quite strict rules about how redundancy decisions are “scored”, and they MUST apply equally to all employees. Health will not be one of the criteria they use - it’s not allowed.

As an aside, though, it might in your interests to tell your employers about your illness BEFORE anything bad happens - irrespective of the redundancy situation.

You’ll have much better protection if things do go pear-shaped, than if you only mention it once there’s already been a performance and/or attendance problem.

I’m not trying to be negative - nothing might happen for ages. Or at all. But if you do suddenly have a bad relapse, you’ll be much less equipped to fight your corner when you’re feeling poo, than if you’ve already paved the way now, when you’re relatively well.

Tina

Hi Having been through redundancy a couple of times and the 2nd going most the way and I took VR. The process was an aspirational interview where we were scored. Then the individual score recieved and feedback on yes/no. I’ll health was not looked upon as a factor in choice for VR. Tina is spot on with advice. Mike

Sorry disagree with Tina and Mike I see no harm in telling them whatsoever. Although it is the Job that becomes excess to requirements not you as such so anyone’s health should not come into the equation; what is the point in not telling them?

In the real world it might just tip them over to letting you go. If you do not tell them you will never know and what point does that prove?

Good luck with whatever you decide.

George

Sounds like there is an opportunity for a ‘win-win’ here, so would be a shame to miss it, I think. Alison x

Hi

A lot to weigh up.

My experience if it is of any help, although my circumstances were different to yours:

I worked in local government, an opportunity came up for voluntary redundancy while I was off on long term sick leave due to MS. I applied for voluntary redundancy and was given it. I suspect that if my employer hadn’t known about the MS I wouldn’t have got it as my skills were in short supply. Local government do play these things by the rules but there is always leeway in how they are interpreted. As I was over 55 I was able to access my pension.

Good Luck and I hope you are able to achieve from this situation what you want.

under no circumstances should your MS be a factor in their decision. There are laws to prevent that and the possibility of legal action if they ignore them. I told my employers that I had MS and they have bent over backwards to help me continue in work.

Thanks for your advice. As I am currently well, I don’t want to tell them if it achieves nothing or even makes it less likely that I get the redundancy, because then I would be continuing at work but they would know I have MS and would view me differently, even though I am still perfectly able to do my job.

I have no idea whether “unofficially” it would make them any more likely to give me the VR. As I said, the few people in my dept who got it were individuals who I think they were happy enough to see go. I don’t know if that is a coincidence and the real reason was that their job roles could be done without, or whether it was more a case of whether they could do without that PERSON, rather than that job, which is meant to be the official case.

Really don’t know what to do.

[quote=“Vincere”]

Thanks for your advice. As I am currently well, I don’t want to tell them if it achieves nothing or even makes it less likely that I get the redundancy, because then I would be continuing at work but they would know I have MS and would view me differently, even though I am still perfectly able to do my job.

I have no idea whether “unofficially” it would make them any more likely to give me the VR. As I said, the few people in my dept who got it were individuals who I think they were happy enough to see go. I don’t know if that is a coincidence and the real reason was that their job roles could be done without, or whether it was more a case of whether they could do without that PERSON, rather than that job, which is meant to be the official case.

Really don’t know what to do.

[/quote] If you want to stay, telling them protects you. If you want to go, telling them surely makes it more likely that they will find a way of obliging you, unless their personnel dept is stuffed with morons (not unknown!). Either way telling them makes it more likely you get what you want (it seems to me.) Good luck. Alison x

If they have the information you have MS, it may make them nervous about picking you for VR. They may just feel that someone may accuse them of being discriminatory and perversely then they may not pick you. I would personally keep stum if I were in your situation.

I agree that a perverse outcome is always a risk if (as I said in my earlier post) the personnel department is stuffed with morons. Sad to say, this is always possible. A decent personnel officer will be looking for ways to achieve a good outcome for the company that is robust against legal challenge, and should be alert to spotting opportunities for easy wins. What Vincere says about their history of easing the right people out when they want to suggests that they are perfectly good at this. That is encouraging, and suggests to me that they might well be amenable to helping Vincere to get what she wants, if she allows them to help her by telling them her situation and her wishes. They would certainly need a clear and formal steer from her about what she wants, in order to protect themselves against future legal challenge, as they are obliged to do. They will know what they need. But they can’t help unless they know.

Alison

x

Thanks for your comments.

I thought initially that telling them was the best (if unpleasant) option because since the other people in my dept who got VR were people who’d had stress issues / might not be the best at their jobs, it seemed that they were allowing suitable candidates to go rather than phasing out jobs that could be phased out, if you know what I mean (I think the overall plan for my dept is that until now they didn’t really want to lose anyone numbers-wise, which makes the 3 people who got VR all the more significant).

On the other hand a few people seem to think that if I told them the situation, and they agree to my request for VR, they could in some way be held to be discriminatory.

I’m curious as to how this could be. Surely if I apply for redundancy and my request is granted, it is something I asked for and therefore no one could turn around and say “oh you discriminated against Vincere because of her health”. Discrimination is a negative thing, where people lose opportunities because of certain things (race, gender, health etc) whereas granting someone’s request is surely unequivocally positive and could never be seen as discrimination?

Yet a few people have said it, here and on another forum, so I wonder if anyone could elaborate as to how this could happen?

The key thing is that once I open my mouth and tell them, there’s no unsaying it, the information is out there. And if that somehow makes it less likely that I get redundancy then I have really shot myself in the foot and deprived me and my family of any chance we had at that payout, which would make a huge difference.

On the other hand, if it would help my case, I should say it to them, and would need to say it before 31st august when the redundancy application programme closes.

(I have already submitted my application in the normal way).

Would appreciate any further advice anyone may have on this.

I am not sure what you have to lose by telling them.

If you tell them and they do take it into account you win.

If you tell them and they don’t take it into account then you are in no worse a situation than you are now.

If you don’t tell them then who knows what might happen.

Only you can make this decision, as you know the situation and the people concerned but Good Luck in whatever you decide to do.

I’ve added some comments in bold text (at least, I think I have.)

Alison

x

I would think by now you have had all the arguements for and against but as in most things there are all the variable what ifs.

I guess you now have some sort of gut reaction on which way to turn. You know there isnt a clear cut path but you have to choose one.

I think you now have to take the bull by the horns and do what feels right and know that it might not work out as you hoped but equally the other path might not either.

The trick is to be at peace with yourself that whatever the outcome you made the decision that seemed right at the time,and if it does go pearshaped it was beyond your control. You did everything possible to make the right choice for you and your family.

I wish you well

Pip

Thanks everyone. Annie, if I tell them and some people are correct that it makes them less likely to give me redundancy, then I’ve made a mistake and possibly lost out. Also if I tell them and don’t get the redundancy I really do think it will impact how I’m viewed in the company and my future prospects, while since I’ll have got no payout, i will financially need to keep working there - not a situation I relish the prospect of.

I appreciate all your advice. I still honestly don’t know what to do though! This is a really difficult and unprecedented situation…it would be different if I wasn’t well (and I thank God that is not the situation) as then of course I would tell them, in everyone’s interests.