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Do you have to tell your employer whether you have a disability/illness?

(13 Posts)
FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 01-Jul-09 22:23:27

Title says it all really.

smile

pocketmonster Wed 01-Jul-09 22:31:21

I don't think so, but its usually in your interests to do so. I believe they legally have to give reasonable adjustment leave if you suffer from an ongoing illness or you are disabled and the illness/disability means you will need time off work. It would also mean they couldn't discriminate against you in relation to your illness/disability. Best place to look in one of the union website - PCS or TUC. Or may DirectGov.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 01-Jul-09 22:40:17

I spoke to occy health on Monday about the DDA etc, he said that there's a way that employers can get around this so it's best not to let it affect work/tell them hmm He said if they had a choice between someone that needed three weeks off with a broken leg and someone that needed three weeks off with ME etc then the ME sufferer wouldn't have a chance as they can't be relied on. Doesn't bode well for the disability discrimination act.

pocketmonster Wed 01-Jul-09 22:41:53

That doesn't sound right or am I just naive. Are you in a union? If not will your employer allow you to join a union?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 01-Jul-09 22:49:55

I'm with Unison and one related to what I'm doing.
It didn't sound right to me either, I'm getting it in the neck about my sickness record, they have it documented that I have post viral fatigue, I've been re-diagnosed with MS, I'm really reluctant to say anything to them.

sparklefrog Wed 01-Jul-09 23:32:28

AFAIK, you don't have to disclose a disability to your employer, unless you want them to make reasonable adjustments for you, since they can't be expected to make reasonable adjustments if they are not aware you have a disability.

Although they cannot discriminate against you during interview and selection process (as well as when you are in employment) I can believe that some employers would, if they believed they would get away with it.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 01-Jul-09 23:34:30

Thankyou sparklefrog smile

DollyPardonme Wed 01-Jul-09 23:44:00

I think if you're going to tell them (which puts them on notice of having to make reasonable adjustments, but also may put the wind up them), you should have as much information to hand about the likely impact on your ability to do your job etc and what adjustments might be possible. Otherwise they may just make unwarranted assumptions.

I would have thought that post-viral fatigue could count as a disabiity, actually, if it went on for long enough, so they don't sound the world's most enlightened employers. MS is a disability under the DDA so they may act better if they realise that their duties under the DDA kick in.

Bottom line, though, you don't have to tell them.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 01-Jul-09 23:47:40

It's a NHS training course at a university so they really should know better! I suppose it has the same effects as post viral fatigue (needing time off to recover from a relapse), I don't know if they will be more/less tolerant though. I'll have a chat with my union first. The neurologist has said there isn't any reason why I can't carry on so I am fit to practice at the moment.

flowerybeanbag Thu 02-Jul-09 09:00:37

I'm not aware of any way employers can 'get around' the DDA. If someone has a disability and requires reasonable adjustment, that adjustment must be made. If someone has a 'normal' illness, there's no requirement to do that.

SImilarly, where an employee might be disciplined or otherwise disadvantaged by taking time off sick, it would certainly be more difficult for an employer to do this if the person was disabled and the illness was related to that disability.

DollyPardonme Thu 02-Jul-09 20:35:37

Flowery - at the moment the Malcolm case means that there is technically more scope for an employer to get away with disability-related discrimination. IE they can treat someone who, say, has a lot of time off for disabiity related sickness in the same way as they would someone who took the same time off but wasn't disabled. I think that might be what Fluffy's occ health person was referring to. However it doesn't make any difference to the duty to make reasonable adjustments and my understanding is that this anomaly may be rectified by legislation eventually.

Fluffy, I was thinking about you earlier. If you tell them, they will be under a positive duty to make reasonable adjustments. I would think this put you in a better position.

flowerybeanbag Thu 02-Jul-09 20:44:33

Fair enough dolly. Although that would be the employer being allowed to treat someone with a disability and someone without a disability in the exact same way, meaning that just as there may be in that situation no advantage in telling them, there's also no disadvantage. In which case I would still say tell them.

But even leaving aside whether reasonable adjustments may be required, Fluffy's OH person seems to be saying that there is a legal way to treat someone worse who is taking the same amount of time off because of a disability as someone else because of a broken leg. I can't see any legal way they could get away with that.

DollyPardonme Thu 02-Jul-09 20:47:36

Agreed, Flowery - you can't get away with treating someone worse.

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