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Preparing to go back to work

I've been off work for nearly 5 months, after being diagnosed with RA. Im due back at work on 17th July.

Last month I went to Occupational Health (at my employers instruction). The meeting was positive and the OT put in some very good recommendations. One of the main ones was that I remain at a local office. (One of my jobs has relocated to the other side of the city). As a result I highlighed this concern and requested that I still work locally. For this particular job it shouldn't be a problem. Apparently my supervisors and manager had a meeting and I've been told there is no decision and they need to consult HR. I'm really concerned as I thought it was an easy thing to sort out and am worried they will make me go to the office on the other side of Bristol. I'm not sure I would be able to cope with this.

I have been told that I'm not protected under the Equality Act until I've had the condition for a year.

Any advice would be appreciated.


6 Replies

Hi there,

I worked as a personnel officer until recently and I am sure that you are now classed under the equality act as you have a disability. This condition is for life and is going to last longer than 12 months though from what I have read on the blogs you could have good and bad periods until your medication is under control. Your employer sent you to occupational health and they should inform the employer of his opinion of what adjustments and his recommendations which could be made and is reasonable for the company to make. They should have also informed them that this condition is likely to have flare ups from time to time and maybe periods that you could be off again. Did you get a copy of the report from occupational health, if not it is worth asking your employer for a copy and if they are going to have a meeting with you about the adjustments you should have this copy before it. If you are a member of a union get them involved or give acas a ring. Also your local cab should also be able to give some advice. I hope that your employer is going to be reasonable but again it all comes down to them being understanding. We all don't like being off work and we understand the problems absences cause the company, but nobody asked for this illness and we have to live with it and get on with our life the best we can. I hope everything works out for you.

Best wishes



Hi traceyanne,

Just look through some sites and the website worksmart.org.uk has some good information on there if that helps




The Equality and Human Rights Commission are very helpful, either online or via their telephone helpline. The concept of disability starts the moment you have something incurable which has an impact on your ability to carry out normal activities.


Heya. Back in 2004 I was diagnosed with sero-negative RA.

While the severity of the condition varies a lot from person to person, and from day to day with medication and other factors, the basic fact of RA is that any patient faces an inevitable decline in joint function as time passes.

While the disease progression may be slowed and the symptoms managed thru medication, the underlying condition is incurable and degenerative.

It is important to note that while symptoms such as inflammation, pain and swelling of joints are thus *manageable*, their cause cannot be cured.

As such once diagnosis is confirmed, RA (and many of the other systemic autoimmune arthritic conditions that are grouped together with it) is classified as a Disability Discrimination Act qualifying condition. This was the report of my own employer's occupational health consultant back to them in 2006.

Assuming the DDA still applies under law, of course. Not a Legal Eagle here :)


You are are covered by the DDA and one of the main ones that apply in your situation is


Your work have to make the effort in other words ...


Many thanks everyone. Hopefully my employers will be reasonable.


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