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to hide my health problems from a future employer

8 replies

captainproton · 03/07/2017 19:00

I just found out today I have COPD. I have never smoked, but I grew up with my father smoking around me, which has caused this. I am 34 and looking to go back to work after having to give up due to having repeated chest infections and small children to take care of.

I had been passed around the GP surgery and numerous consultants being told one thing after anothermy whole damn life, but finally after being hospitalised with a bad asthma attack we decided to swallow the excess and go private, where in depth tests came back to say allergic asthma and COPD.

Whilst all this has been going on I have been job hunting. I am at the second interview stage. I don't want to tell them, I have coped with this on my own, with small children and no medication for years, and now I am on a fantastic inhaler that's stopped the daily coughing and endless mucus (sorry tmi). I feel better ironically although I will never be free completely.

I just feel if I mention COPD they will avoid me with a barge pole. I suppose if I start getting really ill, as COPD will always be with me, I will have to quit work, but how does that affect things like benefits?

At the moment we are coping on one wage but we really need me to go back to work.

I really don't know what to do.

OP posts:
Roomster101 · 03/07/2017 19:06

If they don't ask you don't have to tell them anything. If they do ask I would just say that you have asthma which is well controlled with medication.

TheSecondOfHerName · 03/07/2017 19:11

I don't think you need to bring it up at interview.
If you are offered the job and have to complete an occupational health form, then I do think you have to mention it on that.

I'm sorry to hear that you're suddenly having to cope with this diagnosis, but glad you are getting treatment.

I was diagnosed with asthma today (in my mid-forties). I have to start using two different inhalers and take six steroid tablets every morning. I have had to mention it to my employer as I was not well enough to be in work today (significant breathing difficulties).

captainproton · 03/07/2017 19:20

I wont mention it then unless they specifically ask for me to do an occupational health review.

I had to leave my old job due to ill health (now I know it was COPD /Asthma), so I'm worried I am going to end up in the same situation and on the scrap heap of life at 34.

It wont affect any entitlements to benefits will it if it later transpires I didn't disclose an underlying health condition?

OP posts:
dangermouseisace · 03/07/2017 19:21

You absolutely do not have to mention any health problem at all when applying or interviewing for a job. The only place you should mention it would be the occupational health form, if they ask. Usually you don't have to fill one of those out until you actually have the job.

Make sure you do put it on the occupational health form though, as your employer might look to put something in place to accommodate your breathing issues under the Equalities Act.

TheSecondOfHerName · 03/07/2017 19:35

I'm worried I am going to end up in the same situation

But now you have a diagnosis and the correct treatment, and you know how to spot if you are getting an infection or exacerbation so it can be treated quickly.

captainproton · 03/07/2017 19:51

The problem is, once I get a chest infection it is not a discreet thing. I will be coughing and spluttering all over the office. I will be given packs of antibiotics to keep at home which I should take at the first hint of infection. Although I am used to just carrying on and getting on with it, they will soon know I am not well.

OP posts:
LovelyBath77 · 03/07/2017 21:23

Just to let you know, you can claim PIP while working. I don't think they inform your employer, but you might best check that. You could look into the criteria, it isn;t easy to get though, you need 8 points for standard and 12 for enhanced rate, and it is based on the support you need and things like aids.

Etymology23 · 03/07/2017 23:05

Employers are legally bound to treat disabled people the same. You have a long term condition which affects your life - thus you would be highly likely to be categorised as disabled. Mention nothing at interview, put it in your occ health form and prepare for the inevitable - you will get colds etc which will affect you more severely so you need a plan in place with work to get through them.

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