Fibromyalgia Action UK

Work advice

I don't know if any of you have an experience with legal issues & work but if you do please let me know. Since the beginning of the year I seem to have one flare up after another & each time I recover less well. This means I've had about 9 weeks off sick already & in between my GP signed me off to work from home two days a week to reduce commuting & stress. In April work said they wanted me to apply for PHI (permanent health insurance) which basically means leave work & then the unum insurance through work pay me a % of my salary but basically I'd be on long term sick.

I've just got back from 10 days holiday & the HR rep called me today saying basically unum aren't accepting that fibro is a chronic illness & that I need to go see my GP & either be signed off completely or be back to work full time from the next day. There is no way I can work full time at the moment my right leg is so weak I'm not even sure I could drive.

I am so upset. I'd been working two days in the office two days at home to help them as much as I can & to keep working as long as possible now HR are saying my good work ethic is making things worse so its all or nothing. :(

Anybody else been through similar?

9 Replies


I presume you do not belong to a union however if you do contact a rep immediatetly. Or is there a local Disability Rights Group near you? Or ask the local Council if they have a Disability Officer who could help you.

This action could be considered as Disability Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

The employer should make Reasonable Adjustments to enable you to continue working and not put you at a disadvantage because of your disability. If your Dr feels that you a fit to work on this basis and up until now it has been allowed as a Reasonable Adjustment why do HR suddenly want to change the goal posts?

Is your manager aware that HR have said this to you? Is it in writing?

If you want to contact me outside of this feel free I am a union rep and I am willing to give you some advice although I am obviously used to dealing with my own employer. I would need some details regarding your employers Equality, H & S, Bullying and Managing Attendence Policies and more information on your health.

My first thoughts are to ask HR for all of the above preferably by e-mail so you could send onto me to read through. Advise them you are seeking advice but not from who. Advise them you have been given preliminary advice to get this information and to continue as per previously agreed Reasonable Adjustments. I will need a list of any other Reasonable Adjustments you have? Have you had a DSE Risk Assessment? Have you had a Stress Risk Assessment completed if so I would need a copy of these as well if not please ask HR for all of them and see them squirm.

I will then be able to look at where you can go from there.

Keep your request very simple and to the point do not take any blame for anything if you want me to check anything you write again I would be willing to check it.

And importantly do you work for a large or small employer? Are they are private or public sector employer?

Hope this all helps



I work for a large financial org they are listed on stock market. I've had DSE assessment & also been through the occupational health process with unum (the company my employer uses for occupational health & PHI) and unums own occupational health advisor came to visit me as part of the rehab/occ health & she recommended I/the company apply for PHI if my role couldn't be adjusted to WFH on a perm basis.

The most annoying thing is other people in the same role do work from home for other reasons


Hello, you can check this on the government

Web site your rights to work

It states that anyone in chronic pain for over a year

Is disabled it also says about fibro.

Your company can't just get shot of you firstly

They have to make your work place fit for you

With a disability, then they have to look at your

Job and see if they can make better, they also

Look at your hours you work.

That's the law, and the person you tells you other

Wise tell him to look at the employment law, or you

Can take them to court for unfair dismissal

1 like

Just so you are aware, whatever the law says and seemingly protection in place companies can still do what they want, and it is then down to you to fight it through the courts. My husband worked for a public body for 4 years, his job was offered pending a medical which he passed even though he declared his diabetes, and asthma. Within 3 months he was diagnosed with sleep apnoea, they extended his probation for a total of 9 months while he was assessed and recd treatment. Then on his interview for confirmation into post they said he was below the attendance target for confirmation in post, but because his sleep apnoea was covered under the DDA they would discount those absences and confirm him. Throughout the following 4 years he developed sciatica brought on by lifting a heavy rotovator by himself when it should have been a two man job and had 3 seperate instances when he was off sick. He was originally based at one office, but then they said cover was required from all staff over the whole county, and my husband was one of only two staff members who were constantly sent, even though there were 6 available. He was entitled to ppe, but was never given any ask they said they could find any in his size, even though my husband gave them details of where the could purchase them. Every year he was put on an absence management where he had to achieve 97% attendance, which he never achieved,and so never recd a payrise and could not apply for more appropriate positions. This company was made aware by their of OH that his illnesses, including sciatica was covered under DDA and also that repeated driving of long distances (over 100 miles daily) could make him more prone to sciatica, and also being diabetic also made him more prone, yet they did nothing. Last year on his final improvement notice, he had lost quite a considerable amount of weight, and had accumulated so much toil through extra hours worked due to the long driving, he was able to attend six months of hospital appointments and had only had 2 days sick. His cpap machine broke and he could not get an appointment at the hospital until the following week. He told work, and asked for alternative work, as obviously he could not drive, they said no, he had no toil let so asked if he could take these as holidays and they said no. You guessed it. He had to take 6 days as sick, which put him at 96.5% and he was dismissed under ill health capabililty grounds. He appealed as they had previously discounted his absence relating to sleep apnoea and the appeal was rejected. We are now in the process of an Employment Tribunal. There is a lot more that went on, but this is just to give you an idea. This was a nationwide government organisation, that on paper have everything in place to support disabled staff, but in practice still discriminate and get rid of them.


ive had a few days off sick only a few in the 3 years ive worked for my company and most cos it was so bloody cold with the doors opening and the heating broken that made me have flare ups. was told by HR that my condition isnt under the dda as i dont get dla! i also have obstructive sleep apnea have a mask but still somethimes stop breathing in my sleep so can be tired more than usual and in turn makes the fibro worse but still HR wont have it under dda prob cos i dont have any medication other than anti dep for the fibro as dr agrees with me to try and work thru pain and cos im not on meds thats another reason not classed as dda.(even had dr write to them about my condition still wont class it as dda!!)


It is though see section A6 here

You're very lucky to only have needed 3 days off. When I have a flare up it lasts for weeks and I can't stay awake and walking is worse than usual. As it is I can't walk anywhere without a crutch and even then not much further than my driveway. My right thigh muscle keeps giving way & seems to go into spasm lots. My left hip & knee joints just give way. I'm working with a physio to try and improve my mobility but she seems to think we can stabilise it but not improve it.

I've worked since I was 16 trust me being off ill or medically retired is terrifying & upsetting but it seems I have little choice.



Yes, before I was diagnosed I was signed off with stress cos of all the pain and lack of sleep. Cut a long story short, I had 6 months full pay then 6 months half. During that time HR had OH examine me and they advised retirement due to ill health. I also used to transmit work during the night when I couldn't sleep. I was finally diagnosed in 2003 and stopped working in 2004. It took years to come to terms with being thrown on the scrap heap, I was 48 at the time! Now I've come to terms with all the wonderful things FMS throws at you I'm just grateful if I wake up in the morning and then see what if anything bodywise is working that day and take it from there. You gotta dig your heels in and fight even though its knocking you for 6. I do hope things get resolved for you and quickly. Gentle hugs xx


Thank you ICM


I was working for the DWP (taking ESA claims) i started getting unusual symptoms in the January and my doctor did not know what was wrong, I had all the usual tests, MRI and blood tests, all negative, but the pains and other symptoms continued. I was then put on Gabapentin, which knocked me for six and made me feel drunk. Was signed off in the August and had previously had the odd day off because of the symptoms, my employer was putting me under pressure to return to work, which i did at the beginning of October after being off for 6 weeks. Was told i would have to attend a decision makers meeting to discuss my absence, and my boss was aware that i was still undergoing tests to find out what was wrong with me, Some time before the meeting, i stumbled across Fibromyalgia info, and my doctor agreed that it sounded feasable and referred me to a rheumatologist and i got an appointment for the following January. I told my boss that i may have an answer to my mystery illness, but despite this, when i went to the meeting at work, they decided to dismiss me giving the explanation that if i didn't get a diagnosis then i would still be in the same position and possibly taking time off with an unknown problem. I did get the diagnosis, and appealed their decision to a higher authority, but they upheld the original decision, saying that at the time of dismissal, i did not have the diagnosis. My union rep at the time, told me that they were looking to get rid of people and that they would just do what they wanted., I don't think it helped my case, with the union rep working there too and being worried about being demoted if he fought them too much.


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