I Felt Like My MS Made Me Redundant

My advice

Tell your manager and ask for an occupational health assessment. Know your rights.

My recommendations

ACAS work rights helpline MS Trust advice

After I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I wasn’t sure whether to tell people at work. I don’t think many people really understand the condition and I didn’t want things to be awkward.

My manager already knew about it. I’d been off work for months and the diagnosis helped arrange a return to work plan. I didn’t feel like the plan was working and I was made redundant within a year or going back. Despite my experience, I don’t think they made effort in finding me a different position in the same company. I took some time off. I felt like my MS made me redundant. My employer always said it was nothing to do with that.

From then, I decided I wouldn’t tell work about my MS ever again. My symptoms were mild so I thought maybe no-one would notice anyway. I started a new job with no-one knowing anything about my MS. It felt amazing. I made excuses for not being able to make social events after work and would always blame looking tired on whatever bug or cold was going around the office or that I was having problems sleeping. I felt bad lying, especially because my colleagues were so friendly.

Things were going well but then my symptoms got worse and started impacting work performance. I was working slow and often got confused. My memory got worse and I kept forgetting and misplacing things. I was taking more and more sick days and my manager was getting suspicious. I felt so stressed about the situation and it started to make my mental health worse. After speaking with ACAS, I decided it was time to tell the truth. ACAS helped me understand my rights and reassured me my manager couldn’t go and tell the whole office.

I was really scared about telling my manager but felt so relieved when I did. He was really understanding and wanted to support me. We discussed with HR and I had an Occupational Health assessment which really helped me make some changes from having a desk fan to flexible working patterns and more working from home. It’s been a couple of years since then and I am so happy I could open up about it again. After a while I started telling some colleagues that are now my friends and they have been really supportive. I really enjoy my job and really happy my new workplace has been so understanding.