MS: Do You Know Your Rights in the Workplace?

JHo | Aug 19th 2014 May 3rd 2017

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Do I have to tell an employer that I have MS?
  1. 0 Always
  2. 0 You never have to
  3. 1 It depends
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If you request an accommodation, your employer may ask for your diagnosis in order to determine whether you have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If this happens, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you must disclose to your employer that you have MS. Different rules may apply regarding prospective employers.

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  1. Do I have to tell an employer that I have MS?

    Correct Answer: It depends

    If you request an accommodation, your employer may ask for your diagnosis in order to determine whether you have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If this happens, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you must disclose to your employer that you have MS. Different rules may apply regarding prospective employers.

  2. Does my employer have to keep my diagnosis confidential at the workplace if I ask him or her to do so?

    Correct Answer: Yes

    Under federal law, if you choose to disclose your MS diagnosis to your employer, then he or she is required to keep your diagnosis confidential. Supervisors and managers may be informed by your employer if discussing work restrictions and necessary accommodations, as well as first-aid and safety personnel and government officials in some cases.

  3. Are there any resources where I can find an accommodating place to work?

    Correct Answer: Yes, and they're available online

    People with MS might choose to search for a job that provides a certain level of flexibility and support. There is a website called MS Workplace (at www.msworkplace.com) that specifically helps people with MS find jobs that will accommodate their needs. The site was created by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), Biogen Idec, Elan and Monster.com.

  4. Can I be let go from my job because of my MS?

    Correct Answer: Yes, after all possibilities have been exhausted

    Your employer is not required to keep you employed if you are not able to perform the essential responsibilities of your job. If your employer considers all reasonable accommodations and exhausts all possibilities before deciding that you are not able to perform your job duties, then it is possible that you may be let go.

  5. If I qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is my employer obligated to accommodate me in any way?

    Correct Answer: Yes, but only if the accommodations are considered to be reasonable

    If you request reasonable accommodations to make it possible for you to perform your job, then your employer must provide you with them. Exceptions are requests for any accommodation that would create a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace or impose undue hardship on the employer.

  6. Which of these reasonable accommodations may I ask for?

    Correct Answer: All of the above

    Other accommodations that are considered reasonable are providing modified equipment and wheelchair accessibility and allowing employees to use earned or unpaid leave for treatment.

  7. What can I do if I think my rights are being violated?

    Correct Answer: Contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

    If you think your rights have been violated and want to file a charge against your employer, you can do so through the EEOC. Depending on the state where you reside, you have from 180 to 300 days to file a charge under the EEOC.