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Getting a job and declaring RA? :/

Hi everyone, trying to get used to the new (improved?!) site.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on the 'legal' requirements of declaring RA?

I have been applying for lots of administration jobs (Qualified carer but no longer able to do the job) and not had a single reply. Then I applied for a rather well known pharmacy/store and I decided to declare I had RA as it was the only application that asked about medical conditions and was shocked that I got a reply within 6 hours stating I was 'unsuitable' for the job! I was pretty shocked as it was only for customer assistant so not really a qualified position and put that I could work from 6am til 10pm to give me more opportunity to get an interview at least. Anyway I emailed them back just curiously asking the reason I was unsuitable and a lady replied saying they had so many applicants that they had to close the vacancy early and I was too late :/ so confused, am i being fobbed off!! This experience has given me very little hope of being employed with this crap disease :( so fed up as I can't get PIP or whatever it is as I'm not disabled enough, only my hands, wrists and elbows effected x

12 Replies

Hi Jillybean

You don't have to tell prospective employers that you have a disability until you have a job offer. Have a look here: gov.uk/looking-for-work-if-...

"Applying for a job

Questions about your health or disability

An employer isn’t normally allowed to ask you questions about your health or disability before they offer you a job. They can only ask you about this for very limited reasons, for example to:

make ‘reasonable adjustments’ - eg if you need a large print version of a test

decide if you can do something that is an essential part of the job"

Although I've written loads of applications, the only time when I've declared that I have a disability I didn't get called for interview. There may not be a link though. It does sound a bit strange saying they closed the job ad early but I have heard of that happening for other people. I don't declare it until I have a job offer. This was not a problem when I had my last job as they were very flexible when it came to work, ie allowing me to work from home when I had treatments, and I made up the time when I had health appointments on other days. I'm worried about getting my next job as my health has deteriorated but I'm hoping to find somewhere flexible (maybe even part-time). I also don't think I'm eligible for PIP - my RA affects my hands, wrists, knees and hips. I'm years away from retiring and really want to work but a less taxing job than before. Just applying for jobs takes lots of energy, doesn't it? Hope we both find something suitable soon x


Don't lie, but don't volunteer anything unless asked or directly relevant to your ability to do the job. Sometimes its also worth while expanding on answers - like for example saying that you do have RA, but that it is well controlled on medication and you only expect to have follow up appointments every six months.

Strictly, it may not be legal to discriminate on the grounds of disability, but in reality, where there is one job with 200 applicants, 50 of which have the right qualifications or experience and could do the job well, then the ones who aren't the same age as the rest of the staff, or have any kind of disability, or are slightly different in any other way are going to be off the bottom of any short list, when they might only be interviewing 4 or 5 folk.


Not sure agree with your comment about "expanding an answer" RA should not come into any conversation with a prospective employer unless specifically asked and I do not believe that at interview that question can be asked by the prospective employer. Legal or not


I think this is one area where a poor understanding of rheumatoid arthritis by society is quite useful. I recently secured a job as a sales assistant in my local shop. The application form asked if I had any health condition which would make me unable to perform the basic duties required for the post. As I am currently well and was found by DWP to be "fit for work" I answered no. I have mentioned in passing since being employed that I have arthritis but I didn't go into any more detail. Not many people are aware of the difference between RA and OA so I wasn't going to muddy the waters by spelling out the need for ongoing medications or blood tests. Now I have the job I am performing well and will only discuss my condition further with my employer if it deteriorates.


Sounds the way forward Paulywoo, balanced and sensible approach and answer!

I was by some mad moment offered a job when visiting my local chemists when very poorly when first ill.. but I didnt apply for one,!! A locum pharmacist who used to work with in retail pharmacy said come and work with me!! ( She had just taken over my local chemist part of a large chain! as main pharmacist).. compliment.. she had worked with me.( small independent). and my work is half decent.. Im very patient focussed). I said no ( two wrist braces just starting treatment etc).. she said with right treatment you will be fine.. normal life etc( She is from South Africa may be patients get better treatment access there?)

.. I havent got there yet!! drug problems with Dmards, passed Anti TNF tests twice but rug pulled as nurse said rheum gets final decision and she said not enough swelling!!ans is trying to find another diagnosis which doesnt qualify for anti tnf such as lupus!!.


I'm self employed so relatively unaffected but I did decide to mention it to the boss of a large public art commission that my partner and I had secured. She was fine about it and said she was relieved I had told her because another similar job had been very delayed by the artist in question having a flare up of her MS - which she had failed to mention at all. She said they could accommodate for delays if they were made aware of them but having it brought in out of the blue did throw everything sideways.

It seems too much of a gamble mentioning RA unless you are splinted and in obvious pain when being interviewed or something. I'm not sure its at all wise and morally I feel that since society/ government is clamping down so aggressively on people with chronic illnesses and disabilities so hard, I don't think we have any choice but to conceal our health problems from people if we possible can. As Paula points out the DWP deem many of us for and well then we should use this as our marker until we are obviously not fit and well. X


Thank you for every response, I'm not going to mention it in future x


sounds like you apllied to tescox


Hi Binlid, it was infancy Boots! It's not the fact I didn't get an interview it was the fact when I asked the reason I was unsuitable ( to see its something I could improve ) they sent another email stating it was cos 'too many people applied' but on the original email it stated ' my app was assessed and I was unsuitable' which made me question the RA admission c


I Had guessed boots.. have also heard not a great employer!!


Fully appeciate all your comments but I believe honesty is the best policy. If turned down because of RA I would say thank goodness I didn't get the job as they are obviously not a supportive employer!

There is a Guaranteed Interview Scheme for the disabled, but you must fit the minimum criteria for the job. However, doesn't actually mean you will get the job, just that you are guaranteed an interview and it would be up to you to sell yourself. Some companies are very good at employing disabled people whist others are very bad. However just found this link which is interesting. gov.uk/government/news/new-...


Hi Jellybean, Good post, really interesting. I am in a job but have applied to 5 others in the past year, got interviews for each of them, a few of them I just was really poor at delivering but there were a couple where I felt that I was surely up there. I mentioned to all of them that I had ra, I work in the so-called caring sector, voluntary orgs, and felt that I should be upfront but I have another interview next month and I am going to try and walk straight and get up properly and not mention any thing about it at all.

Hope you get the chance to work again soon


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