To declare or not to declare, that is the question, (advice needed for application form)!

Hi folks. I am in the process of filling in an application form for a new post within the NHS- I'm a nursing assistant in another trust at present- and I'm in a bit of a quandary.

One of the questions I am required to answer is whether or not I have a disability. Just over a year ago that would have been irrelevant, but I have since been diagnosed with asthma.

It wouldn't be such a problem if I hadn't had a formal sickness absence review some months ago due in part to being off sick with chest infections and asthma flare ups, but I have also found that certain strong smelling wipes that I use at work to clean commodes etc with can cause me to cough and I lose my voice when talking to people for any length of time. I am currently under the care of the respiratory clinic in my local hospital and have just returned to work a few days ago following a particularly nasty chest infection.

Any advice would be appreciated ☺ xx

12 Replies

  • I think it would be best to be honest, they will find out if they check and that wouldn't look good if you don't declare it. Good luck with the application please let me know how you get on. Love Bernadette xx😊

  • I will do. Thanks Bernadette 😊 xx

  • Hi. You need to be honest. If you are not and they find out you could have all sorts of problems. They should not discriminate against you and as an employer they are required to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate you. In your case it might mean changing the type of wipes they use. Good luck with the job application.

  • Thanks for confirming what I already felt was the best course of action to take - I guess it's because I'm so well in comparison to so many others on this forum that I'm reluctant to describe myself as having a disability ☺ xx

  • They aren't actually legally allowed to ask this question at interview/application - it's illegal (I know this due to a similar quandary with a job application - I was up front and honest but it caused issues further down the line to the point I required an employment solicitor and was told this should never be asked or answered on an application/at interview / simply ignore it or if they push tell the employer "you are aware that you can not legally ask this question".

    Part of the issue is around disability discrimination - they could automatically discriminated against you by choosing not to invite you to interview because of what you declare - you wouldn't know this though. If you'd already been offered the job and then had the offer revoked based on health information, you would know and there is a direct violation of the equality act.

    I was told to ignore all such questions until/unless offered a job. At this point then yes - you do declare any health issues/disabilities in order for reasonable adjustments to be made (and at this point an employer can legally ask so that they can offer appropriate support/Adjustments). Hopefully this would include using different wipes for you or things such raising the point at which absence becomes an issue because of being off sick with your chest etc. If they fail to make reasonable adjustments it's a breach of the equality act.x

  • Thanks for getting in touch.

    Sorry to hear you've had such hassle as a result of being honest and upfront- I'm not 100% sure what's the best thing to do as the system flags up any questions that have been unanswered before the application form can be submitted so unfortunately I don't think I can ignore the question 😕

    Perhaps inspiration will strike later...

    Hope all's well with you now ☺

  • I would declare it. It is better to be safe then sorry. Making them aware means Occupational Health will probably want to talk to you but it also means you will be covered by the equality act.

  • Thanks Beth. I still haven't completed the application form as yet- lack of sleep and a splitting headache today haven't helped- so I think it will be Saturday now before I can send it off which will give me more time to mull things over. As you suggested I may well declare it and see what happens 😕

  • Hi, I don't consider myself disabled and until recently did not know that technically asthma is a disability, so have ticked no, but always own up to asthma.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks Gareth!

  • As a registered nurse for 30 years I had several sickness reviews and now I had to retire at 50 only 4 yrs ago and found out everything I could about the equality act 2010. If you have had a condition that has been diagnosed and impacts you long term you don't have to be on a disability register and from application they must take this into account. It's treating people from diverse backgrounds equally. Look up equality act 2010 and there's a booklet with a blue striped cover and another yellow that's not too long. Or this into Google 'equality act 2010 short guide' first pdf on the top of the page blue striped when you click on it. This link should take to to them all blue striped, yellow striped

  • Hi Matti. Thanks for getting in touch. I will certainly look into it :-)

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