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pre employment medical questionairre

(21 Posts)
SardineQueen Thu 11-Oct-12 09:25:48

Hi there

I have been offered a job (after 2 years of looking and am over the moon!) and they want me to do a health questionairre and be passed as fit to work by the occupational people.

The only thing is that since I had the children I have been on ADs (low dose) to manage post-natal anxiety. The anxiety is related to the children - when I am not with them I am fine and dandy. I am worried what they will make of this - does anyone know? I am aware that a huge amount of people in the UK are on SSRIs but still it doesn't look great does it. Do they contact your GP? Would it be a terrible idea not to mention it? If I do mention it will they be fussed?

This is such a great job after such a long time looking and now I'm worried they are going to take it away again.

Any advice / experience with this gratefully received.

Thanks smile

Wallison Thu 11-Oct-12 14:30:07

Right. What I am going to suggest goes against everything but I would not mention it. If they withdraw the job offer because of what you have said, your only leg to stand on would be disability legislation which probably wouldn't cover you because depression doesn't usually count as a disability. The situation that you describe is something that poses a lot of problems for people with an MH diagnosis because employers do regularly discriminate against them. In an ideal world we would all be able to be open and honest with our employers but we do not live in an ideal world and if you tell them about this it just gives them an opportunity to discriminate against you. Just do not tell them. And good luck with your new job!

fledtoscotland Thu 11-Oct-12 15:56:56

I would declare it. From personal experience, anxiety does count as a disability as I have had disability leave for it in the last 12months. Hth

Ellypoo Thu 11-Oct-12 16:02:55

What is the job doing?

MrsjREwing Thu 11-Oct-12 16:05:22

I thought employers were not allowed to ask about disability issues in equality act and disability discrimination act, sounds like your employer would not be sympathetic if you got ill in the future.

EdithWeston Thu 11-Oct-12 16:12:16

They cannot ask as part of the selection criteria, and a responsible employer will use OH information properly in order to ensure that reasonable adjustments can be made and that your work does not exacerbate any pre-existing conditions. It would be illegal to withdraw a job offer because of a health condition, unless it was something that made it impossible to carry out the role.

It all comes down to whether you think this is a responsible employer.

If you do not declare a health condition, you cannot later rely on DDA nor make a claim against your employer for not making adjustments because of a condition they were unaware of.

pippop1 Thu 11-Oct-12 17:03:44

Could you only declare it if asked? Better not to lie but if they don't ask......

StillSquiffy Thu 11-Oct-12 17:46:55

Another option might be to switch from ADs to high strength St John's Wort, which is herbal does not count as medication..... (check with GP first)

TirednessKills Thu 11-Oct-12 18:01:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wallison Fri 12-Oct-12 09:53:57

Public sector is a bit different though - they tend to stick to the rules. I just know that I would never disclose anything like that to an employer because the one time I did (I knew it would come up as my reason for leaving in the most recent reference, even though I parted amicably with my employer) I had the job offer withdrawn after submitting the medical form. So now I just keep schtum.

Ellypoo Fri 12-Oct-12 10:18:25

That is why I asked what the job was - would being on ADs have any possible impact on being able to do the job?

The only way that a potential employer could withdraw a job offer following a medical questionnaire could be if the answers meant that it wasn't possible to do the job (eg if there was a physical disability and the employee was on crutches, however the job was working on a construction site checking health and safety or something which involved going up and down partially built buildings) - if this wasn't the case Wallinson, then maybe there could be a case for discrimination.

So many people now are prescribed AD's, I wouldn't have thought it would affect your position.

Wallison Fri 12-Oct-12 15:03:26

The trouble is if you bring a case for discrimination (and I was supported in bringing one against the firm in question by the then DRC) it is then a matter of public record that you have done so and your medical history is then in the public domain. I do know someone who sued a firm successfully in similar circumstances but he found the entire thing - the case itself, being in the papers, his very personal life (your health is a very personal matter) being discussed by other people etc - so stressful that he then had another breakdown. sad

I mean, he won and everything so yes that's fine and dandy, but he said afterwards that he wished he had never done it because of the effect it had on him. He didn't even get that much money either. I myself didn't pursue the claim I had beyond the initial stages - even though it was a strong one - for similar reasons.

SardineQueen Fri 12-Oct-12 17:03:14

Thanks for all the answers everyone.
The job is private sector for a "good" (wealthy) multinational with an excellent benefits package.
I haven't had the forms through yet so don't know whether omitting it will be an option as I haven't seen the questions - but I imagine they will ask about mental health.
I have no idea whether OH people with this stuff ask for permission to contact GP or not... That would make a difference obviously!
I do think this is a responsible employer.
Basically I am bricking it slightly and have no idea whether this could be a problem or not...

Ellypoo Fri 12-Oct-12 17:54:49

We ask all employees to complete a health questionnaire, just so that we know if there are any potential issues that we may need to know about it (eg we have one member of staff with diabetes, so need to ensure that first aiders know just in case he forgets his meds and has a hypo/hyper).

I take AD's and put it down on the form, but it hasn't flagged anything up, so I would be honest.

See what the questions says, and see how you feel about it at this point.

Feckbox Fri 12-Oct-12 18:13:26

I had to do this for a recent job. Really annoyed me actually.

Downfall Sat 13-Oct-12 14:21:01

Sardine, congrats on the job.

Occupational Health cannot disclose your mental health issue or your medication to the recruiting employer without your informed consent. They can make recommendations to the employer about whether you are medically suitable for the job or if any adjustments might be needed in order to help you fulfil the job.

I don't agree with the advice you've been given to come off your ADs to skirt the problem, or to lie (although I sympathise with Wallison's experience).

Many many people take a maintenance dose of AD whilst functioning very well. If you do chose to complete the form you may wish to add in that you suffer no symptoms and do not anticipate needing any adjstments in order to do the job. OH can only make a judgement that someone is unfit for some or all of the job based on medical evidence, and they cannot (should not) assume anything about your medical fitness just because you take an AD.

They may wish to invite you for a face to face consultation if for example the job is very high pressure and they would want to discuss with you in more detail your anxiety or depression history and any on going effect on concentration, mood etc. They cannot contact your GP without your written consent, and tbh, unless your job is high risk involving safety of others, they are unlikely to.

I hope your worry about this doesn't take the shine off your job offer.

SardineQueen Mon 15-Oct-12 16:39:33

The form still hasn't arrived! So still none the wiser.

Thanks again for the posts everyone! And Downfall for the congrats! I'm just going to have to wait and see but the posts which say what OH people can / can't do have been very reassuring smile

mudipig Thu 18-Oct-12 18:22:12

Hi Sardine - this is how it works where I work. Employees complete a medical questionnaire. This is sent by the employee to an independent occupational health provider. If there are any possible issues e.g. where adjustments might be needed to enable the employee to work, the dr invites you in (or might call you). No information is released to the employer without your written permission. Some companies do have their own in-house occ health but it's rare these days. Even then I don't think a dr would disclose anything without your permission.

Most companies tend to do these after the employee has started the job these days. This is because since the equality act 2010 they are not allowed to use pre-employments to decide whether or not to offer a job. So they are called things like "new entrant questionnaire" and they are used to identify cases where someone might need adjustments. The only time they might be used to prevent an employee taking up a post is if there is a safety critical issue. For example an unstable diabetic wanting to be a truck driver.

Lots of people are on a maintenance dose of antedepressants. I would declare it myself. Because if you have long-term depression there's a possibility at some time or other that you might be considered to be covered by the disability provisions of the equality act. This can be helpful because if you are covered, your employer has a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to your post to enable you to continue working.

This is only relevant if you work in the UK however. It's different in other countries.

mirry2 Thu 18-Oct-12 18:30:32

I had a serious mental illness in my late teens and I've never disclosed it to employers and never will.

missingmumxox Thu 18-Oct-12 23:57:05

mudipig is correct, I have worked "in house" for 10 years and no we don't disclose either without permission, it is a total no no, legally and ethically, even before the Equality Act I don't remember my departments "failing" someone expect in exceptional circumstances, so before this week I had only seen 2, we screened hundreds of successful candidates a year.
MH is a common issue and whilst I can understand the feeling not to declare but really we see so many, I rarely even phone people these days let alone get them to come in pre-placement, because almost every one declares it over the age of 30.
mirry2 if someone declared a MH issue which was significant, I look at the time gone by and the amount of detail the person gives me so say a 37 yr old put on the form, tick for MHI then wrote on the other side of the page (lets face it those boxes are small!) I had an Mh issue with anorexia from 14-22 I received treatment from X to Y and have not had any problems since 22, I manage my diet, and have maintained a healthy weight since 23, I would ring if them if they where 30, get them to come in to see the doctor if 24, and leave if 37, I believe it is not my job to police or think they are lying.

the point to remember is if it isn't declared on the OH PE the employer doesn't know and therefore they don't have to make allowances, which can be detrimental to health, and by employer that does not mean we tell them your illness if OH knows the employer is deemed to know even when they don't! as the adjustments should be known to them, Iyswim. if you don't you are forgiven took me a long time to get my head round that smile

I think I should say I work in public service but from my friends who work in private company OH they use the same standard as we have a professional body to answer to, and trust me we all get threatened overtly or covertly by employers, but I am more scared of being struck off than sacked, I can get another job, I can't easily get another profession .

SardineQueen Fri 19-Oct-12 09:52:09

Those posts are really helpful, thank you.

Form still hasn't arrived yet, hopefully it won't until I've started!

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