Telling your boss you have RA

Hi everyone. In new to his having just being diagnosed with RA recently after feeling like my boy is aged 20 years in the last 2 years!

I recently told my manager that I have been diagnosed with RA to which he said they will have to assess whether my I am suitable for my current role (which I started 3 years ago before all my health problems started).

Anyone else ever experienced this?

8 Replies

  • Find out the laws of your country for people with disabilities. If you belong to a union, then have a shop steward come with you. Some bosses just want to get rid of people with disabilities. It is up to you to make sure he/she followes the rules of your country's laws.

    All the best to you


  • Yes! Get union representation to support you and have them present at any meetings. Reply to things via email as they are a legal document. So even if your manager says something in 'passing' about hours, job etc then say that you will get back to them about the matter and then put in a polite formal response that contains the original info.... I.e. 'I am emailing to say thank you for your suggestion of looking more formally at my role in light of my RA diagnosis and ask that you please give me 3 possible dates/times you can make so I can invite my representative to join me at the meeting. Send the email with a visible CC to your union rep so that your employer is fully aware of your existing support - my original boss wasn't too thrilled with the idea of me returning to work but every correspondence was emailed replied and CC to union rep so she had to be more cooperative that she would have clearlyliked.... fortunately the rest of the leadership were much more compassionate and understand plus the boss has moved on!

    Good luck


  • Oh, P.S. Print off the emails and forward them (plus any replies) to a separate email address if possible. Always forward replies to your union rep with a just to keep you informed note if you do not need them to act/respond to the email

  • There is some good advice on the NRAS site, a booklet for you about working and one for employers. Get all the information you can, keep a record of everything and try to get everything in writing, even it's a printed out email (lots of employers don't realise emails are evidence!).

    If someone wants to have a "word", say it's not very convenient right now and ask to have a date and time set aside for this, then at least take the union rep or if that can't be done, ask to record the meeting.

  • Have you thought about whether or not you think you'll be able to continue working with RA? Are there any compromises that can be made to keep you working? For example, I am able to telework, so I don't need to worry about morning joint stiffness or fatigue. I'm not sure if I can interpret the tone of your post properly, but is it possible that he wants to better understand what you're going through? I have found that being straight forward about the disease and what I can and can't do has really helped, though I know it's a personal decision. Good luck to you.

  • I dont know if you are aware of this, but if you are employed in the US RA is listed under the ADA. Americans with Disability Act. Thing is employers know this, so they will try to find a way to fire you so that they don't have to make any, "specific accommodations."

    Be wary about sharing your medical condition(s) with anyone work related.

  • RA is covered by disability discrimination laws so you have some protection. Also this means grants are available to your employer to make suitable adjustments to keep you in work. As a starting point I would give your manager a copy of this

    You may also find this useful

    NRAS have lots of useful/interesting publications definitely worth a browse.

    I can also recomend calling the helpline on 0800 298 7650.

    Hope some of this helps.

  • I've been on both sides of the coin. Hourly employee and Salary General Store Manager. Employers are well aware of the ADA and all it encompasses. They don't give a rats behind about the grants/tax breaks they can get for keeping you on. I can promise you that if you reveal your medical status you will be terminated for some other reason. (ie) excessive tardy, uniform incomplete, just because you forgot your name tag, excessive breaks, while you were puking in the toilet cause you were sick ect the list goes on and on. I as a General Manager was told directly by my District Manager to NOT hire people who appeared sickly, took too much meds or generally looked like they might fall under ADA. I was also told to document these said employees until I had enough paper on them to properly fire them. In a fair world the ADA is suppose to protect us. I've been there, on both sides. Revealing ANY health condition to your employer is risky. Most of them will just find a way to terminate you rather than take the money for," specific accommodations."

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