Last reply 6 years ago

I was just wondering how people have gone on when telling their employer about their condition. I work in a primary school and did my job perfectly for a few years. I recently had to tell them about my situation and if I could make a couple of changes so I could keep working to the best of my ability. Now 9 months down the line it has been horrendous, my boss has made me feel nothing but a spoke in the wheel and I’m not quite sure where to turn to with it. I was wondering if anyone else has had the same problem.

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6 years ago

You need to go to your union right away and get them to act on your behalf. If you’re not in a union, join now. Your employer is breaking the law. You are covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, which covers MS from the moment of diagnosis.Your employer is obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments’which can cover what your duties are and also any things like special furniture, location of your classroom etc etc. You have all the cards on your side, because it sounds as if your employer is failing in their duty of care. This would be pounced on by, for example, Ofsted, when they assess the quality of management in your school. Even outside DDA, employers can be sued if they cause unnecessary stress to their workforce. It would be a good idea, before the union comes to see you, to make a list of the changes you would like to see because the rep will be used to the legislation but probably won’t know the first thing about MS. This is urgent – apart from anything else, the stress won’t exactly be helping your health! Keep us posted. (To answer your question, my employer (fortunately brilliant) did the following: removed me from active outside patrol duties; swapped one of my responsibilities to a purely admin role; relocated my teaching base to the classroom nearest the staffroom; gave one of the admin staff a ‘watching brief’ for me so that she could sort out potential problems on my behalf. All little things but they transformed the workplace for me.

6 years ago

I have been having some issues at work too and completely sympathise with you. I used to have a really understanding boss but then they had a move about of team leaders and I ended up with a boss who I think believes she has inherited a problem with me being a member of her team, didnt help I was poorly when she took over. I have been threatened with disciplinaries and have felt very uncomfortable and have been asked If I have considered going part time.
I am in a union and have got them involved they have been really good, I am being referred to Occupational Health which is good for me and my employer as any changes that I need doing will come from Occ health and my manager will then have to implement instead of her thinking I am just being awkward. I would definitely recommend speaking to your union if you have one, or as Cameron says join one asap it may also be worth speaking to your HR dept as they may be able to get you referred to Occ health or something similar.
I hope this helps and good luck, if you need a chat just shout

6 years ago

Also contact Access to Work through the job centre – no one told me about them for 10 years and they can assess you in your work place and make recommendations and they may pay towards the cost of any equipment you need etc – they can guide you through what they can offer when you contact them. Hope this helps?

6 years ago

Usually if you join a union they have a waiting period before they will act for you, so if you joined one today they may not be able to act for 90 days for example.

You are covered under the disability discrimination act and your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments or even exploring different roles within the ‘company’. One of the problems with winning these type of cases (if they ever went to court) is having people back you up that their behaviour changed once they found out you had MS which is sometimes hard if the people who do agree with you still work there.

Any grievances raised? If not they could argue they never knew there was an issue. Get advice before you make any decisions or actions, funny old complicated thing Employment Law!

6 years ago

Thanks for all your replies, it’s great to hear from people who get where I’m coming from. I slightly blame myself because I kept it a secret for 12 yrs and now have been left wishing it could’ve stayed that way. I told the head a couple of years ago after an operation which moved my symptoms on considerably. I then asked the beginning of September for it to be made known to the rest of the staff and that he could make 3 small changes. By the beginning of April nothing had been done I complained and he then sent me to occupational health which just backed up what I had asked for. I still have not had a meeting with my boss about the outcome of occ health – plus to add insult to injury we have had access to work in, he has just received the letter and the reaction wasn’t good at all. He said it was ridiculous and they didn’t have the funding.
Sorry this is so long winded but I feel like I’m fighting an unnecessary battle. My intentions are to contact my recently joined union so wish me luck! 🙂 Thanks once again

6 years ago

Ditto all of the above. Sound advice. I have had a meeting today with my line manager, as our council policy is to taken an increment off me due to the amount of sick leave that I have taken. I am appealing, with my union support, although I am the rep for our work place. I also discovered today, that Im entitled to an additional 10 days sick leave on top of my yearly holiday allowance. I do, however, have to request that through Occ Health.
Good luck with the challenge put down before you… Dont give up, the law is on your side.
take care

6 years ago

Another tip is to document any discussions with employers re illnesses etc. Keep a log and enter any discussions and reactions / replies etc. It can be useful building up a picture of an employer who isn’t prepared to let someone continue doing a job they are perfectly capable of doing (perhaps with a couple of minor adjustments in certain areas.)

Employees with company cars have a dilemma as it is harder to keep the illness from an employer and yet comply with the companies insurance health notification requirements.

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