HR Specialist and MSer, Rebecca Armstrong offers her advice...
Rebecca Armstrong has a background in HR and Leadership Development at a Senior Level. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2013 and she now focuses on helping organisations embrace Equality and Diversity in their management practice. She established the Facebook group MS & Work in order to use her knowledge to support people with MS facing challenges in the workplace. Here are her top tips for those who are feeling discriminated against.
If you think you are being treated unfairly keep a log of everything. Keep copies of emails and log all conversations. Ensure you keep this factual; record specifically what was said and what happened. Try to minimise emotion as much as you can – tribunals work mainly on the facts.
Be open to helping your employer understand. If they get it wrong assess whether it was through naivety or discrimination. Think about how much you knew about MS before you were diagnosed and help educate. Use resources such as leaflets and booklets from MS-UK to help.
If you are being discriminated against act in a timely manner, it is easier to ‘nip things in the bud’ than let them escalate and become stressful. Remember stress is a major factor in MS relapses and progression, often a simple conversation can remove it quickly. Put your concerns (with specifics) in writing under your company grievance process. In a tribunal a judge will consider what opportunity the company has had to do the right thing or to put right what’s wrong.
You can read more advice from Rebecca regarding disability and work in issue 106 of New Pathways magazine. Subscribe today and get your copy. Contact the MS-UK Helpline for further support or join Rebecca’s MS & Work Facebook group to continue the conversation.