21,355 members25,088 posts

Had a call from my supervisor

Hi there

Would like some advice please. Had a call from my supervisor and am worried.

I'm off sick with RA at the moment and recently started medication so it's early days yet. My supervisor rang to see about the likelihood of my starting back to work (due date 17/04/12). I said I was consultanting my GP next week and would let them know. She started questioning me about my RA and where it was. When I mentioned it's in my hands she started questioning whether or not I'd be able to do my job (as I'm a typist). I said I will still using the pc at home with no problems, but she seemed to be pursuing this and now I'm worried. As it happens since I've been on the medication they have been better, but she ignored this.

She's been a problem in the past and it's concerning me. Does anyone have any advice? As this is worrying me.


9 Replies

Hi Traceyanne, You are covered under the Equality Act as RA is classed as a disability and therefore, your employers have to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to continue to work. Only as a last resort once they have tried all avenues to accommodate you, can they retire you on ill health grounds. They are obliged to discuss with you the various options available and if you can't continue to type, what other jobs may be available to help you. Also there are wrist rests and special mouses to get to use on a keyboard when your hands are bad. the Company should supply anything like this that you need to enable you to do your job, Even a foot rest if your feet are painful. They can't sack you on the grounds of your disability otherwise they would be facing an employment tribunal.

Do you have a human resources dept at work? You should have a word with them and also tell them about the attitude of your supervisor. Also if you are in a union, or there is one you can join, speak to them as well. If not in a union, you can speak to ACAS for advice. If you look on their website, there is a help line telephone number and they are very good. The CAB are also available for advice if you have an office near where you live.

If your supervisor has resorted to bullying tactics, you would have a legitimate grievance to take up with your company. It would mean initially a written letter of grievance to your overall line manager.

Do take some advice on this if only for your own peace of mind. Speak to your GP and your Rheumy consultant. I have RA in my hands as well as elsewhere and I still type on the computer at my usual speeds! Try not to worry too much and don't go back to work before your GP is satisfied that the treatment is working. (I was off 4 months when first diagnosed 4 years ago and eventually went back cutting my hours down to 3 days per week). Good luck. LavendarLady x


Well said LL, your the best one to ask for advice. I can't add anything to that except to say hope you get on ok.xx


Thanks. She took me by surprise. As it is I've been at home and using the pc with no problems (so far). When I told her this she said "well you're not typing at home for over 7 hours a day).

Traceyanne x


This is horrible, but Lavender Lady is spot on. I'd only add t hat I might keep an written log about what your supervisor says and does. A lot depends on what kind of place you work in, but you definitely have rights!

Good luck and try not to get stressed about this if you can



Hi Traceyanne,

I know that feeling when they ring you from work, it is sort of awkward, probably best to say you are following doctors advise and you will let them know when you are feeling better, I have been on certified sick leave since last Oct when I had an operation.

Take my advise, and only return to work when you feel up to it.



Hi Traceyanne,

You could get in touch with Access to Work, they can suggest things that could make your job easier, things like the right kind of chair etc.

Don't let your supervisor get you all stressed because it won't help you RA.

Make sure you don't go back to work too soon.

All the best



Hi Traceyanne, in some workplaces it's classed as good practice to contact someone on the sick every 4 wks, sometimes this is written into contracts under sick leave policy. I agree with everything LL says in regard to contacting your HR department and inform them you were unhappy with your supervisors attitude toward you and that she was pushing for a date of return. Let them know how RA affects you and that it's a variable, unpredictable condition and whilst you may be mentally ready and willing to return to work physically your unable.

Also, as has been suggested keep a diary of calls from work i.e. date/time and who called, what was discussed, how the call made you feel afterwards etc.

I actually left work on health grounds, due to 'sitting typing all day' and much more, I became a H&S issue (mainly because I always fell over when I stood up). I found my supervisor had written up telephone conversations and included in reports private conversations about 'my family and how my Christmas had went', luckily I was very poorly and had told her so, but I was horrified to find this conversation recorded and insisted it was removed from my personnel record, though I must admit my manager and the HR manager were also appalled.

As has been suggested if your employer has a Occ Health department you can request a referral to them, they'll be happy to discuss options for a return to work i.e. phased return, reduced hours, counselling and addaptions in the workplace, including an Access to Work Assessment, who can suggest all sorts of aids and addaptions to make life a little easier in the workplace.

Hope this helps

Beth xx


Hi Tracyanne,

I worked for at least 15 years with RA in my hands. As I was a secretary typing was a big part of my job like you.

Eventually I had the knuckle joints replaced in my right hand and worked on for at least 6 years after having them done. In truth typing actually kept my fingers working - does your supervisor not know that when you have RA you are advised to exercise as much as possible to keep the joints mobile?

There were times before I had the knuckle joints replaced when they were a bit sore so I soaked them in cold water for a while which sorted them out so I could carry on. After having the knuckles replaced I did a speed test and my typing speed was actually the same as it had always been.

Don't be bullied, take some advice as suggested by LL and others, and stand back and be smug - she has to be very wary of exactly what she can or can't do. Just know your rights. (Suggest you keep notes and dates of what exactly is said to you for future reference).

Sorry to bore you with my story but ......

My husband was very ill during the time I was working and he had to see his firms doctor before he was allowed to go back to work, he worked in London so also had a long day with travel. I accompanied him to see the firms doctor and his doctor asked me if I was working to which I said I was and she asked me what I did and what provision my firm had made to help me continue working because she could see that I had RA.. I told her that they had moved me sideways when actually they had done nothing.

The next day when I went back to work one of my bosses asked how my husband had got on. I told him and also told him that my OH's firms doctor had asked me about how I was coping with RA and what my firm had done to assist me to continue working. This seemed to kick them into gear and from there on in they were so good to me with regard to the RA. and any time I needed to be off.

Keep positive and stand your ground - go above her if you think it's necessary.

Judi xxx

PS - 'gord blimey' the above advice was a marathon even for me (keep smiling)


Hi Traceyanne

It looks as if you've already been offered a wealth of great advice. If you would like to find out more about things like the Equality Act and the Access to Work scheme you may find it helpful to have a look at our 'I want to work' booklet which can be downloaded from our website:

We also produce a booklet that is designed to give to your employer or work colleagues to help them understand what RA is and how it might affect someone in the workplace, so this might be helpful when explaining things to your supervisor. Again this booklet can be downloaded from our website:

Best of luck with things.

Kind regards

Sarah Kate

NRAS Helpline


You may also like...