problems with work and have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritus

I wonder if anyone could help me with some advice I have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and have asked my work to get me an adult chair as I am in so much pain, I have been sitting on a child's primary school chair since the summer holidays, i have asked if its possible for them to gt me an adults chair for me before i return back to work, but they have stated that when i return they shall have a meeting with about this ? surely this is against the law im so worried about returning back to work and having to sit on a primary school child's chair, any advice would be great please on how I could deal with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis whilst i am at work


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13 Replies

  • Don't go into any meeting without a union rep present. An adult chair should be provided even if you don't have RA as a child's chair will cause knee problems (used to be called 'movie goers knee!) because posturally you are in the wrong position, especially for going from sitting to standing so your school needs to wake up to its responsibilities towards its employees!

    I teach SEN full time and had an access to work assessment but the only thing they suggested that is in place is my PPA is on a 1/2 a day a week basis not the one day a fortnight routine we generally have. The other things were a speaking/typing program (Dragon Neuance... or something like that) , a roller bar mouse set up and a molder chair but they weren't practical at the time so we agreed not to go with them.

    All my return to work meetings were done with union support and the school treats me well but some of that may be because they know that I don't breath without support.

    Any correspondence I did via email which was openly Cced to my union rep. That included replies to any letters sent out including OH appointments and reports.... the head at the time was not particularly supportive but things are different now.

    I plod on knowing that probably at the end of this academic year I will look to drop to a 4 day week.

    I hope your return goes well.

    All the best


  • Get a union rep to support you at any meeting annaslyric and get in touch with your occupational health dept with your place of work

    They have a duty of care to,provide youngish correct equipment and as you are now classed as having a disabling condition they should be looking to make reasonable adjustments for you.

    An adult chair is not unreasonable disability or no disability.

    Take care.



  • I also agreed to need to have a union representative at all meetings. I too have problems with my manager with regard to work place adjustments.

    I was more or less forced into reducing my hours after a few months back at work.

    Hope you sort things out. There is a a booklet that NRAS for employers.

    Good luck


  • I too work in a primary school as an HLTA covering PPA from reception through to yr6- tough going- I feel your pain x

  • Hi

    I had Iso many problems with my uncaring manager(it was obvious he wanted rid) that he made it so unbearable that I ended up on anti depressants just to stop me from crying as soon as I walked through the door every day!! I worked in the commodity markets,so we didn't have the support of union reps,but I still gave them a fight - everyone else is right,the employers have a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate you and your disability(I know not everyone likes using that word,but sometimes you need to). I had the backing of OH and the consultants letters plus numerous sick notes telling them my capabilities,but they just wouldn't play ball still,so I got in touch with the disability law service(it's completely free) and because I was in such a mess,the solicitor wrote me a letter to show my company - they couldn't backtrack fast enough when they realised I'd involved solicitors and I had the law on my side. It wasn't the end of any problems,but it certainly made a huge difference in how they treated me you're lucky to have a union rep as it won't feel like you're on your own,but feel free to use the law service if you need to - they're there for a reason,and really did make all the difference for me. I hope you get your issues sorted,and that you have the correct support in doing so.

    Good luck

    Nicki x

  • All I would add to the very good advice others have given is that if you are not in a union then join one. If for some reason you can't do that thengo to Cit A initially .

  • I also agree with the other comments. Get a Union rep to come with you. If you a member of a Union and I think it would be UNISON, contact the welfare officer of your branch,and if it gets troublesome you can also ask for legal help.

  • I went through the wringer with my work too. My boss didn't understand, and I felt harassed. He made stupid suggestions and gave me the advice of a fool. I suffered so...I assumed everyone in management had the same attitude about this horrific painful disease...Boy oh boy was I wrong. Once HR, OH and my union was informed, I was treated with respect. Please talk to your union rep and OH. Don't waste your time with the fools of lower management. You deserve and require to be treated with respect.

    Please keep us informed


  • Can't understand why they have supplied you with a child's chair in the first place.If they won't supply you with one take your own in.It sounds crazy and unreasonable for you to be in this predicament

  • Dear annaslyric ,

    As Matilda above said, NRAS has a booklet both for the employee and for the employer that you may find helpful before your meeting. - there is a lot of interesting articles but the top two are the publications I mentioned above, you can download them or request them by post to give to your employer.

    If you have any concerns at all, please do give the NRAS Helpline team a call on 0800 298 7650.

    Best wishes


  • Thank you for all your replies i shall keep you updated

  • Contact Access to Work (connected to the local Job Centres) and ask them to come in and give you an assessment. Your employer cannot refuse this request. I called them into my workplace about 7 years ago following a car accident as I had problems with my shoulder. Access to Work agreed to fund a proper chair, ergonomic keyboard and mouse. They will sort everything out for you. Good luck and let me know how things progress please...

  • I had a similar problem about seven years ago and I contacted Access to Work, which is part of the Department of Employment. They sent in an assessor to review my work station, and as a result a new chair, ergonomic keyboard and mouse were ordered. Access to Work provided most of the funding, and my employer had to contribute a small amount towards the equipment. If you have an Occupational Health Officer they should be able to help you. Please let me know how you get on....

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