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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Did you tell your employer that you had MS during your interview?

By January 31, 2013

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Clearly, as someone who writes this blog, I have no problem sharing details about my MS with lots of people. I was slightly taken aback, however, when I was in a professional situation (in my capacity as an epidemiologist) and one of my new colleagues mentioned my MS, telling me they had Googled me prior to the meeting.

I found this a little disturbing, as I tend to post personal information about symptoms and other ways that MS impacts my life on this site. I guess I just assumed that it would be read by others with MS, never considering that "outsiders" would read about my struggles. It really gave me empathy for those who live with MS and work outside of the home in an environment where they are not 100% sure that sharing their MS status is a good idea.

That made me wonder even further about how I would behave in a job interview. In the world of Google and Facebook, information is out there. Prospective employers are not allowed to ask about any medical conditions during the interview. However, I don't know how well I would do in a general question about my life without mentioning MS.

I'd love to hear from you. Did any of you mention your MS during your job interview? What was the result? How long did you wait before telling people at work that you have MS? Please, leave your stories in the comments section below.

Read more: Disclosing Your Multiple Sclerosis in the Workplace

Comments
February 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm
(1) Liza says:

At my current job, only my nearest and dearest know that I have MS. When I was first diagnosed four years ago, I was candid with people that I worked closely with because I was hospitalized and missed work during a critical time. My then boss blabbed my diagnosis on a meeting of the organization’s executives. Subsequently, the HR exec told my boss privately that he committed a serious breach of confidentiality. Ironically, the HR exec has MS, though it was not public knowledge at the time. I was extremely annoyed at my boss’s indiscretion because this is not the type of organization that comes together to support its employees.

I am very fortunate in that my mobility is great and I can walk–count me in the group of MS patients that don’t look sick. I am most challenged when the weather patterns bring increased heat and humidity. It is on those days that I feel like a completely different person, my cognition and mobility impacted. Mostly I have been able to fake it, however, when we experienced unseasonable warmth and super high humidity, I left work early because I really felt that bad. I said I had a migraine and left it that.

Given that chronic disease is not well understood by the masses, I would not disclose my condition when looking for a job. I would like to me more candid about my MS, however, I don’t mention in on my FB, including not indicating a “like” for any MS organizations. My FB is very locked down, but I cannot count on the privacy settings of others to maintain my privacy. Oh, and forget about blogging about it!

February 5, 2013 at 1:29 am
(2) Dana says:

I have recently found out I have MS… I have told no one I work with that I have it I feel like it is none of their buisness and I don’t want to be treated any different I work very hard at not letting MS define who I amI try not to get caught up in it too much I’m fortunate that I feel good have very little symptons.

I do wonder about the work enviroment and wonder if you should tell or just let it be until maybe you have an episode.

February 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm
(3) Paul T says:

I was diagnosed last year, and I decided to tell my direct supervisors and corporate HR. I have a long working relations ship in my office 10+ Years, so people know who i am and my work habits are established. I told people just so that they would understand when i have trouble walking (2 attacks so far left me limping for a month) or need time for Dr. appointments. For now i’m not keeping it a secret, but i’m not talking about it openly either. I’m not embarassed or afraid, just don’t want to deal with sideways looks or probing questions.

Still i’m not sure how i would handle interviews for a new job. The market out there is so competitive, that i would be very hesitant to say anything that sounds like a mark against me. Imagine 2 roughly even candidates, but one has an unpredictable disease that may take them out of comission for months or more. Not a hard choice from an employers point of view.

February 6, 2013 at 11:03 am
(4) Cass says:

I dont think I would disclose it at an interview. Too many people dont really know what it is and they automatically put you in a wheelchair! Only 1 person knows at work. The only whay she knows is because I was basically out of it when I was first diagnosed. I am in an fb group though to talk with people who understands this crappy intruder! Thats terrible your boss disclosed that information!!

February 6, 2013 at 11:16 am
(5) jack says:

I would NOT tell a potential employer I have MS. There are so many laws and issues i feel it is better left unsaid until after at least 1 year of employment. I appear on a national/international TV show and I have alerted the head of security but that is all. He is responsible for our well being whole on set.

I only recently disclosed I have MS to the head of the organization I work/consult for (full time)- after knowing for a year. She and I have worked off and on together and been friends since 1989 when I had Lime’s Disease that I now know lapsed into MS and I lost sight for a month in my left eye. I was not diagnosed with MS until last year 2/2012, after years of strange symptoms that I didnt even follow up on (I just turned 60). I am lucky. I have low level R & R and got on treatment before it progressed. I have lost 70+ percent of hearing in my left ear. My condition is affected by work and I have to push through it when I had rather be at home. Still lucky.

February 6, 2013 at 11:23 am
(6) Jim says:

I did tell my employers, the problem I am having is with HR, not the bosses. At times I have periods of inappropriate emotion and sometimes I have difficulty speaking. I wanted to alert HR of these symptoms, so if I exhibited them they would understand I was not having a stroke or other problem etc. Their reply was that I had to get a letter from my neurologist explaining ALL the possible symptoms I could have – can you imagine? Naturally, I ahve ignored that request. I did suggest the HR folks take a look at the MS society’s website, but I was told that would take too much of their time. So much for trying to be Mr. Nice guy and letting them know of problems.

February 6, 2013 at 11:26 am
(7) Pam says:

I worked (i.e., I retired this past year!) with a group of very close employees. We are/were long-term friends and coworkers, and we had shared births, family deaths, and major crises in our lives. My diagnosis was shared with them and my supervisor. I never got anything other than support from my coworkers. I didn’t really care what my supervisor thought (and her thoughts were never provided to me!).

The decision to share a diagnosis is a personal one, and it depends on your circumstances. Since I was a long-term employee, I didn’t have to worry about an interview. (I wouldn’t share it in an interview, however.) Julie, I can’t imagine having someone bring up the topic in an interview!

February 6, 2013 at 11:29 am
(8) Eva says:

I was diagnosed in 1999. At the time I was with a company I’d been with since 1990. I had to change my job within the organzation as my previous position was far too stressful. I loved my new position! I had it for seven years. I won’t bore you with the details of the following 6 or so years, but I can tell you that I am fairly confident that I lost 2 jobs as a result of my MS (indirectly or directly, but I know it was a factor). I had a neuropsychiatric evaluation toward the end of one of those jobs and the doctor suggested that I disclose to potential employers during an interview, to which I said, absolutely NOT!! Imagine you are being considered for a job and there are two candidates left … you and a perfectly healthy individual of about the same age, gender, qualifications. Who are they going to hire? The perfectly healthy person, or you – with a very expensive chronic illness. I am pretty sure they’d go for the healthy person. It would be impossible to prove that it was because of the MS, so you would have no recourse.
I did disclose to my current employer fairly soon after starting with them. It seemed necessary since I’m taking Tysabri and would need to be taking off every 4th Friday for my treatments. So far there have been no repercussions from my disclosure. I don’t plan on staying at this job forever – I’m actually looking for something else. Hopefully my next employer will be as understanding. (And I should probably clean up my FB as it’s pretty obvious that MS is of great interest to me … and people could probably figure out that I have it.)

February 6, 2013 at 11:30 am
(9) Kate says:

About 15 years ago I went for an internal job at work and was refused because of long periods of absence which were due to MS. I don’t think this could happen any more- at least I hope not!

February 6, 2013 at 11:45 am
(10) Bhorsoft says:

In years past, I wouldn’t disclose my MS status in an interview, but I would upon being hired. Looking back, I think that has hindered my career. Although I couldn’t prove in in a legal suite, I know I was denied promotion due to my MS at one job. Even though I am well qualified at what I do (MBA and Masters in Computer Science) I have never been able to break into the higher paid management positions. All this was when my MS was “invisible” – very few relapses and no noticeable affects to my walking, speech, etc.

Now my MS is much worse. I have to walk with a cane (poorly) and occasionally have to use a wheelchair (which is becoming much more frequent). Although I’m in a great job with a great employer, I do occasionally check the market. I don’t disclose during the initial phone interviews. Because of my obvious disability, I feel forced to disclose my MS status when interviewing face to face. So far, no offers from those interviews.

I do fear that my current job may be my last job. Al;though I am able to do my job (computer work), especially in a telecommuting mode, I fear that an employer won’t give me a chance because of my mobility issues.

February 6, 2013 at 11:49 am
(11) Debbie says:

I did tell my last employer during our interview, that I had Multiple Sclerosis. It was a part time job and I was offered the job immediately following the interview.

February 6, 2013 at 11:59 am
(12) richard says:

i have developed a home based business so i do not have to tell anyone.

February 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm
(13) Linds says:

I was in my current job when diagnosed 4 years ago. I did tell my manager and teammates right away, since I knew I would appear distracted for awhile. I have worked with them for many years, so we’re like a family. I did interview internally, and disclosed my MS, which was a good thing since we could then evaluate the impact of the stress on the MS; we decided it would not be good for my health.

February 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm
(14) Darrel says:

When I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I told my supervisor and a good friend. I supervisor work with me very well. It became apparent to me that I could no longer do my job physically or mentally. It was very bittersweet. But now I focus my energy on what I can do. I no longer worry about day-to-day mistakes I could’ve made in my job. As far as social media goes employers are using Facebook now as a way to look at your history. It is too bad but it’s just another tool used in the hiring and firing process. I now tell total strangers I have MS. Anybody who looks at me funny I now tell them. I feel much better about sharing the disease with other people than trying to hide it.

This email was written using voice recognition software, please excuse any errors.

February 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm
(15) Brenda says:

I was with my employer for 10+ years when I was diagnosed. He and I are the only people in this office. He is very ok with it. I have not had to miss anytime although I have had many days where I was no where near 100%, but he picks up the slack. Some days I have had trouble remembering what I do here and have to go through instructions 3 or 4 times before I get with what we’re trying to accomplish. I was a wreck at first and on Rebif. The cure was making things worse. Since I started with Gilenya things are so much better.

I would not tell a potential employer about my MS, but have no trouble telling almost anyone else. I could probably fake it during an interview, but if they asked me to sign my name. Caught! My hand shakes and my signature is often not legible and heaven forbid I should try to pick up a glass or use a soup spoon. Not a pretty sight

February 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm
(16) Angela says:

Looking for a job right now….not going to say a word. After some time at a job…yes maybe but for now, no way!

February 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(17) Karen says:

I am convinced that there is a fair amount of discrimination in the work place, which is a very hard thing to prove. Assume you have two equally qualified employees or potential job candidates, one healthy and the other with a very expensive chronic disease who could eventually miss work time or be unable to contribute 100 %. As an employer which one would you pick for the job or promotion in this highly competitive job market? It is pretty much a no brainer.

I have been living with MS for 6 years and I am doing well on Avonex. Only my closest family knows and I have been keeping it a secret from my friends. I would so much like to be candid and open about my MS but fear for the repercussions it could bring within corporate America. I do have friends with MS and belong to a MS group, however, take painstaking precautions to keep the secret in tact for now, which at times bothers me greatly.

February 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(18) SusanM. says:

It is quite difficult for me to walk. And that is with a cane. If I were to go to a job interview, I would have to have a ‘scripted comment ready. One that would address the interviewers (understandable!) unspoken questions.

February 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm
(19) SusanM. says:

Julie, I was not surprised at all, that you were researched online, before your interview. However; that was quite (frankly) stupid of the interviewer to blurt out your medical condition to you!

February 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(20) jensequitur says:

I was diagnosed in 2007. At the time we had more departments and more rooms, so that only the two people that worked with me in that department were the only ones that knew I was having problems. Then the company slimmed down its operations, and moved everybody into one big room. I alerted my immediate supervisor (now laid off) and the HR department.

Mobility, cognitive and clonus issues all interfere with my job. I have problems walking every day, especially in the mornings. Fortunately I sit down most of the day – the real challenge is to make myself move around more.

My coworkers know that I have MS, but I have not told my new supervisor or the department head. I think I should wait until/unless my symptoms are interfering with my ability to do my job.

February 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm
(21) Brenda says:

I wear and AFO on my right leg, so as I am walking back with the prospective employer, he noticed my limp. I had to be honest and tell him I have MS. Needless to say I did not get the job even though I was told I was a prime candidate.

February 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm
(22) Becia says:

I was diagnosed 2002, 5 years ago when i got my cuurent job i did not tell on interview about my ms, few months ago i was thinking to change the job, went for interview , I was very good candidate (it was my second interview for this position) until i said i got ms. day after i received email that i am unsuccesful. I think , was huge impact on their decision.
in Australia is big pressure to go back to work with disability but how we can get the job if you dont even have chance to show your skills. Will never say again about my ms on interview.
take care
B

February 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm
(23) AmberTia says:

Didn’t think it was a big deal telling a prospective employer I had MS. I had lived with it so long it was a part of me. Had been studying for years and had my new degree. At that time I looked well, walked well and showed no outward signs. It was a great job and my prospects seemed great. Not given any reason but they politely declined to employ me. The only other interviews I was offered came from unethical people or those I knew to exploit new graduates (12 hour days etc). So I put degree in drawer and decided to give housesitting a go. I put my degree details in my resume but said I had decided to write a book, not mentioning MS. Had a fantastic five years of moving about to lovely houses near beach, where I’d get my daily dose of Vit D. Most people don’t know what MS is unless they had personal experience. I think you need to prove your capability at the job before any disclosure.

February 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm
(24) Jayne Higgs says:

I was employed on a contract with a government department and did not tell my head-hunter who placed me in the position that I had MS. I had extensive experience, skills and qualifications in the field I was employwed in. During my fifth week of working I was unwell but kept going to work. In the end I fronted up to my boss and told her I had been diagnosed with MS and was just having an attack but would be better in a couple of days with the medication I was on. The next day I was sacked. I was so tr5aumatised I have not worked since and have claimed on my disability insurance. I have3 lost all faith in employers. I had been working with MS not telling anyone for 15 years.

February 7, 2013 at 1:00 am
(25) Jodie says:

I was diagnosed in 2007 and was lucky enough to be in a very supportive and empathetic company. When I moved to a capital city as the medical support in a regional town was pretty much non-existant. Going for interviews for the first time in over five years, I was open and candid about my reason for moving cities, however after months of hearing “thanks but haven’t been successful”, I decided to change tactics…in the next interview I lied and gave the “reason for the move” as being closer to family…and I got the job!!! This gave me the proof that peoples pre-conceptions of what they don’t understand outweighs anything you can argue. I’ve gone for another two interviews since then, deciding not to disclose my MS until AFTER I got the job, and I got both jobs!!! I have disclosed my MS once I’ve felt comfortable doing so, and everyone reacts with concern and support.

February 7, 2013 at 5:56 am
(26) bill says:

I was diagnosed with ms in1982. The diagnosis[later confirmed secondary progressive ms was questioned by works doctor due to my
being adepartmental manager in steel finishing operation .2
l
years later
Iwas promoted to works manager controlling a large works with 425
employees.
I finished working in 1997 and have progressively suffered the effects of
ms mainly mobility and balance meaning a more house bound existence.

February 7, 2013 at 9:36 am
(27) Lisa Taylor says:

Re disclossing MS to new empolyer,its the first time i was asked on my application form about medical health,so i did disclose my MS,and on a positive note i got the job.When 3 years latter i had a relapse,my employer was very good to me,as i need to take 12 months off to recover,they kept my job open,when i returned to work i went back on reduced hours,i am very grateful to how lovely they treated me.The downside was after only a month,i had to go in and tell them i could no longer do the job, (very up setting time for me).But again they were brilliant,and even said in the future if i was up to it they would find a place in the workforce for me.I feel that if you have an understanding boss,and don*t take the P out of them they will look after you.

February 7, 2013 at 11:25 am
(28) KimM says:

I am not embarrassed or secretive about my MS at work. I work with only two other people. They both know as does my district manager and some of my customers. MS should be talked about. The more people know, the more they are willing to contribute to research. Especially if there’s a personal connection. “Oh hey, I actually know a girl who has MS, so I will donate” etc etc and so on.

February 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm
(29) Noodles says:

My employer when I was diagnosed became aware instantly because my hair was drastically affected during that time. They were very supportive of me and I only left the company because I moved too far away to manage the commute and resulting fatigue. I plan on telling a potential employer sometime either during the interview process or soon after hire. My gait pattern is not consistent enough to “hide” the MS

February 8, 2013 at 5:02 am
(30) sue h says:

i worked for one companyfor 10 years, i discolsed my diagnosis and within 6 months was made redundant. (My manager had been diagnosed only 3 monthe before me!!) I managed to find work for the oposition in the same town, and I have not looked back since. I am well and have not disclosed my MS, I will not unless my work is affected.

February 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm
(31) D. Gumiela says:

Diagnosed 10 years into a nearly 20 year employment with major corp. Did not disclose but had to seek job accommodations specialist eight years after who did disclose to my supervisors. She took no responsibility for that. When issues were resolved, I know many people were told. I had difficulty pushing through, but managed to leave on my own nine years after dx. Trust self only! Would never disclose during interview.

February 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm
(32) Karen says:

I had a similar situation to you Julie. During a job interview, which I felt was going well, one of the interviewers blurted out that I had MS. On top of that she claimed I had rang her department to voice my concerns at being able to fulfil the role!!! None of which was true may I add! I acknowledged that I had MS but that no phone call had taken place. At this the interviewer apologised & said she “must have been thinking of someone else” The interview went very quiet & no, I didn’t get the job. I did raise the issue but was told that there simply was a better candidate. I did find work soon after but this experience left a bitter taste in my mouth.

February 11, 2013 at 12:57 am
(33) maddy says:

I had to disclose my condition to my co-workers and employer.I was not mentally and physically able to do my job safely as a emergency room nurse.I was sick often and unberable pain.Dx.fibromyalgia for 16years.Now Dx.M.S positive mri and muscle biopsy.I now have two chronic condition.I decided to resign because I felt I was putting my patients at risk even though my supervisor knew of my illness I felt stressed to perform normally.I think I did the right thing God forbids if I had fake my condition and could not have the strength to do cpr.I think discloser depends on the type of work you are involved into and you are not putting others at danger.I’m on disabity abd definately not happy being home and so sick.Sorry for mis spelling I had to use verbal translate defice I have not hocked up to support yet because I just found out that I also have M S. now Im unable to walk and having vertigo as well as eye blurry vision.Hope all well and take your illness one step at a time.

February 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(34) B, Holoboff says:

Q Do you tell prospective employers that you have MS.

A I am not able to work — My energy levels are too unpredictable. But, my friends were reluctant to do things with me. I emphasized that my energy level is MY responsibility. Yes, I make mistakes, but when I am nailed to the couch, I am smiling, thinking “I did _______(that!!!).

Life is great and is to be lived, not avoided!

Barbara Holoboff

February 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm
(35) becia says:

We are not talking about current job which we have from some time, we are talking about to go for interview and get the job when you say about MS.
cheers

February 20, 2013 at 11:45 am
(36) Kim says:

I would absolutely NOT tell a prospective employer about my MS as it is not outwardly noticeable. In fact, I have not even told my family–the only one who knows is my husband! His mother and my father are both elderly and wouldn’t understand and would worry unnecessarily. There may come a time when I tell others, but right now, I don’t foresee it.

February 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm
(37) CT says:

I never told my boss, but when he figured it out, I was told my job had been eliminated. I had been at the company for 37 years. My boss didn’t like women who worked and always looked for reasons to remove them from the job place. I reported my dismissal to the Equal Opportunity Com. but my company being as large as it is had their attorneys saying it had nothing to do with me personally. I know it did.

February 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm
(38) Carol says:

I had a job with the State of Texas working at Child Protective Services a few years ago. I went through my three month training period and I decided to put my letter of resignation in for various reasons I will not disclose here. The woman who was head of that office came to me, as she wanted to know more information about my concerns on why I was leaving. She told me that when someone of my “caliber” and “excellent work history”, her words, not mine, came to CPS, they try to keep them as employees. I was surprised and honored by her positive comments. I then told her I had MS and that if I chose to stay, I would want to be put in another unit (which she said was doable) and that I would need “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans Disability Act (ADA) regarding driving the clients (children) around and she stated she had never heard of “reasonable accommodation” or the ADA and she thought my request “would be unfair to the other workers in my unit”. I was shocked at her ignorance and I chose to leave that very same day.

February 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm
(39) Scott Conklin says:

I have moved around alot in the Construction field. When I was first diagnosed, I felt that my employer (and friend) was due an explaination of what was going on. So I let them know exactley what was going on and gave them monthy updates. And, while they were very understanding and helpful, may career with them never progressed. As a result, I decided not to disclose my MS status to my next employer. Which eventually got me laid off (fired) because when the rest of this small company found out, My boss felt like I had concealed important information to get hired. He felt lied to, and I don’t blame him.
My MS is not a secret to the rest of the world. I don’t announce it and I don’t shout it from the roof tops because I don’t let it be a big part of my life. But I also don’t want to work with a secret, so I look for a casual segway to introduce the topic.
I have moved on from construction to healthcare and I do find the population much more accepting of the humand condidition. But, everybody is in a different place so becareful about how you introduce this topic. Know your rights before you disclose.

February 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm
(40) Jim says:

I did not share my ms with this employer. I had found out 10yr before I had ms. It did not stop me from working with any problem. I worked for 3 going on 4 yrs . They were a little mom an pop shop , an when they were switching insurance companys I had to fill out a health history. To my surprise I was layed off 3 days later. So if you are looking for a job I would keep tight liped about your problem as long as possible . Being 59 now an on ssdi now, I feel for the workers that can work, I did till it became to much.

February 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm
(41) HemRaj says:

once I went in an interview in an University and said about my disability, but they disqualified me on the basis of my problem.

February 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm
(42) Nina says:

@Liza – I too am ‘not sick’ MS sufferer. I told my immediate boss only because ADD drugs came up and I was on them for my MS – he was on them for actually having ADD. So we related to the difficulty of having to do a job that deals with nothing but critical thinking and having ‘one of those days’ when you just can’t get your act together and feel you’ve gotten absolutely nothing done, he understands that. A few friend/co-workers know but that’s it.

I would never mention this in an interview, just like I wouldn’t mention how a spouse may be an alcoholic. Total example there – I’m not even married but my father was one so I am comparing the two. It would be like that; effects me to extremes some days – not so much other days – but does every day to some degree. These are my problem not theirs and I don’t want to make it a bigger problem in their mind which will offer a higher potential to make more problems for me by them knowing. Actually, I excel at work so when I joke with my boss about why others aren’t finding what I am finding (and it’s usually big stuff) I tell him I am so great that I can do this job even being brain damaged – so give me a raise! lol (which I have since gotten and by a ton compared to others).

Nope – not in an interview – nonya business. Hire me on my talents, period. We all have issues to deal with in life, I am not going to let them decide I am less worthy because of MS than the next person with an alcoholic husband/wife.

February 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm
(43) velma says:

i live and work in a small town of 240 people. everybody knows i have MS. when i got my latest job at the friendship meals here in town, i told them right up front. since my MS affects my cognition and sometimes i cannot think, i felt they needed to know that i had days like that. it is an office job so i don’t have to be up and around if my legs are hurting. it has not affected how i am treated or any other aspect of my job. i felt they needed to know so that when i need time off, they pretty much know why.

February 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm
(44) Nikki says:

When I first got dx with MS I was working for a rather large company. I told no one. I knew that if it was known that it would ruin any chance of me being promoted.
Since then I have moved and remarried and work for my husband’s company. When I moved I decided that I was not going to hide my MS anymore. It is part of me and I am done acting ashamed. I try very hard to make MS a small part of my life, unfortunately it will always be a part of me and nothing will change that.
I have to say since I have experienced living with MS in the “closet” and out in the open, open is so much better. It not something that I need to talk about but I can when I need to. Less pressure and stress :)

February 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm
(45) Cheryl says:

When I started my current job 8-1/2 years ago, I wasn’t yet diagnosed with MS, but the first week I started, I had my first episode of what would become a physical disability. As my walking problems progressed, it became clear that I was having issues. When I finally learned I had MS, I felt I had to tell my employers. Initially, I only told my immediate manager, and a few friends. To others, I only said I had knee problems. Fortunately for me, they were very accommodating and understanding. I haven’t had any issues others have had with the fear of being laid off.

Now that I have been living with MS for this many years, and my walking has steadily gotten worse, it’s hard not to let people know what the issue is, plus I can talk about it now without breaking into tears. My only fear is if for some awful reason I do get laid off (not for my disability, but for financial reasons), what do I say to a new employer? I would hope a new employer would be just as understanding, but you never know. My hope would be that I could work from home; in fact, I’ve been looking for telework jobs, just in case. In that case, my disability shouldn’t be an issue.

February 22, 2013 at 3:04 am
(46) emily says:

Nope, disclosure is not an option in my country if you intend to even have a job. It’s difficult even opening up with people as there are even drs who aren’t aware of what MS is.

February 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
(47) Shirley says:

I had been missing so much work due to headaches and I was afraid I might be fired that I told my manager on the same day, that I finally had MS. It told them my diagnosis. It did help me keep my job for a little while until the pain grew so intense, due to the stress of the job, I had to stop working. My former husband, divorced me because of the disease. He also stole money from me when my mother died. I did not have a good 2005, needless to say. I am on Rebif now and follow a special diet. I am strong because I lift weights, exercise and eat organically. ST

February 22, 2013 at 10:54 am
(48) Kim says:

I was diagnosed with MS last year and soon after went to a job interview. I did not disclose that I had MS because I have only a small memory problem that is compensated for by notes. I got the job out of 112 applicants. During my initial year, I developed friendships and told 2 people. At my one year review, when I thought it would be hard to fire me, I disclosed my condition. My boss looked shocked but recovered quickly and disclosed that his father had MS and he is was familiar with it. I have slowly disclosed to the rest of the office and have had tons of support. I would not disclose MS during an interview and after reading these comments I will have a heard time disclosing/trusting new employers.

February 24, 2013 at 10:48 am
(49) Louise Craven says:

It is several years since I last had a job interview, I had been diagnosed with MS 11 years previously. I was totally honest at my first interview .All members of management had to have a medical examination prior being excepted for a job, so I drove to see the company doctor. It was snowing at the time. I had to wait for quite some time to see the guy, he asked me several question about my health once again I was honest. He then looked and me and said I had been telling him lies because I had Epilepsy I replied that I had not but he said because I was taking tegretol that I had epilepsy. I had given the company permission for the company doctor to discuss my medical records with my GP needless to say I left the doctors quite quickly, I was given the job but about 2 weeks after the so called medical I got a call one evening from the company doctor asking if he could discuss MS with me I replied that he could not and told him I was not impressed by his interpersonal skills. I am an honest person but I have since wondered if I should have told the company especially after some of the treatment I received during my 17 years service as a senior manager

February 28, 2013 at 12:29 am
(50) Sandra says:

I was diagnosed approx. 8 years after I started working for a sheriffs dept. in a county holding center. I did disclose my MS to my employer and its been a nightmare because overtime is mandatory in my top. I had to deal with the Office of Disabilities in the County and even though 3 DRS that have filled out forms stated I could continue my 40 hour work week but only 8 hour days and in my job 32 hours of overtime is not unusual for one wk. and this is on top of the 40 done. I do not ask for anything special even though simple things like desks, chairs, bathroom facilities, etc are a real hinderance when we have chairs that fall apart sitting on them and to get to a bathroom I have to go upstairs, through a lobby, down a very large hall and around into a room that has the bathroom and this is while going through 4 locked doors. I wish I could find a place I could go to about what I feel is a form of discrimination on my job.

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