Unsympathetic Employer

I was diagnosed with RA a year ago. I have now been diagnosed with Duodenitis and I am waiting for the biopsy results. I have had 10 days off work during the due to the RA and stomach problems. My employer has sent me a letter of concern saying that my absence levels are unacceptable and hope to see an improvement otherwise they will have to take further action. Are they allowed to do this? It is making me very anxious and depressed and I can't afford to lose my job. Has anyone else been in this situation?

9 Replies

  • Where are you Lana? If you're in the UK, the Equalities Act and various bits of empoyment law will apply, and sickness related to a disability should be treated differently from other sickness absence, and can't trigger capability proceedings. If you haven't already, you need to formally declare yourself to your employer as disabled. You probably need some advice too, from Citizens Advice or a disability advocacy group. The NRAS has a phone line too. They've got a group/community here, if you haven't yet found it...

  • Hi flow4, thank you for your reply. I am in the UK. My employer said that it would have to be proved that the stomach problems are a direct result of the RA. I believe that it is due to the anti-inflammatories I had been taking for the RA. If it is due to an infection then that could have been caused by a compromised immune system due to the RA medication. Either way would you think this was enough proof?

  • I think there would be. But in any case, it wouldn't be up to your employer to decide! If you have a sympathetic doctor, you could ask him/her to use a different form of words on your sick notes and write (for example) "Duodenitis linked to RA" or "caused by RA meds". That could help head off arguments with your employer. If not, you may need to be a bit assertive, and say something like "This sickness is disability related. I don't have to prove that. I'm sure you know it's illegal for you to discriminate against me on grounds of my disability. If you don't believe me and my sick notes, we will end up in a formal dispute, which I'm sure you want to avoid as much as I do". But get some advice from CAB or NRAS or similar - they will be able to help, and will have dealt with similar situations before.

  • Thanks for the advice I appreciate your time and effort. I will look into it and contact CAB and NRAS :)

  • Sorry to hear of your difficulties. It does not sound like your employer is treating you fairly. This advice line is really helpful as they can tell you all about the Equality Act 2010 and how you are covered and how your employer should be supporting you. They are very easy to talk to. acas.org.uk/index.aspx?arti...

    There is also such a thing as 'disability leave' which means that absence related to disability *should* be counted differently but many employers have not heard of it - this doesn't mean you aren't covered though. Great booklets from NRAS - the one for employers is worded particularly well and can be requested/sent to your employer nras.org.uk/data/files/Publ...


    Feel better soon,


  • Thank you for your advice I will certainly look into it. I am also making an appointment with CAB, so fingers crossed they'll be able o help :)

  • Hi Lara, If you live in the UK I don't think your employer has a leg to stand on. Have a word with the Citizens Advice Bureau they should be able to give you some idea of what your rights are. Hope this helps. Stress can be the worst thing when it comes to RA and it seems to accentuate the pain that your feeling, so get some advice and try to de- stress. Best wishes. J_M_P

  • My company put me on ill health after a long absence of six months,do you have stomach lining tablets with your tablets because i developed an alser in my tummy.because i wasnt given stomach linings :-)

  • Hi Lara, what type of employment do you do and are you in a trade union?

    If so, they can support you in any meetings with your employer.

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