Suk: Do I have to tell my current employer that I have MS, by law?
David Webb: There are some circumstances where you do have to tell your employer. These include if your MS is, let’s say it might endanger you or others in the workplace. Say you have difficulty walking and in an emergency you’d struggle to get out of the building in a hurry, then you need to tell your employer. There are some circumstances to do with driving.
If, for example, you have a restriction on your driving licence because of your MS, you need to tell your employer. If you’re covered by your employer’s driving insurance, again, you need to tell them. If you feel that you can’t drive safely because of your MS and driving’s part of your job, again, you need to tell your employer. And also, there’s others like if you drive a bus for a living or a taxi or a lorry, again, you need to tell your employer.
And if you’ve got a job in the armed services you need to tell your employer. Otherwise, generally you don’t have to, but it’s advisable to tell your employer because if your employer doesn’t know that you have MS, which of course is a disability, then they’re under no obligation to make reasonable adjustments for you in the workplace to help you do your job.
Are there any disadvantages of telling your employer, would you say?
It depends on the nature of the employer. If you had an employer– most good employers it wouldn’t be a problem, because they know that if they discriminate against you because of your MS, then that’s discrimination, and if you could ultimately take them to an employment tribunal, it’s bad for their reputation, causes them lots of work, lots of hassle, it’s no good for you.
But I suppose you could get an employer that just has, I don’t want anybody with MS working for me, and then that could count against you, they might- I’m not going to give you the job. But again, that is discrimination and if you had evidence to prove that, again, you as the job candidate could take them to an employment tribunal, ultimately.
There are other steps you could take otherwise to try to sort the matter out, but it would be unlawful for an employer to do those things.