Common questions

Now that you have had some time to adjust to your recent diagnosis and learn about multiple sclerosis, you may have concerns about the potential impact of the disease on your working life.

The commonly asked questions below may have some answers for you. However, these are not a substitute for professional medical or legal advice.

Disclosure in the workplace - "to tell or not to tell"


Should I disclose that I have multiple sclerosis to my employer and work colleagues?

Deciding whether to disclose your diagnosis is not simple. In general, the decision should be based on your own needs and priorities, while also taking into account the needs and priorities of those who you choose to tell. There is no single answer or strategy that is right for everyone. It may help to take some time to consider the possible benefits and consequences of making your diagnosis public.

On the positive side, disclosing may:

  • provide you with additional support from your employer and colleagues once they have a better understanding of what you have been experiencing
  • reduce the difficulties associated with ‘covering up’ (such as explaining absences from work)
  • give you an opportunity to ask for adjustments to the workplace that can maintain or even improve our productivity and ease your employer’s concerns, misconceptions or questions.

The potentially negative consequences of disclosure are that:

  • employers and colleagues may have negative views or inaccurate stereotypes about multiple sclerosis (for example they may assume that you will be unable to continue performing your job)
  • employers and colleagues may also be concerned that you will become unreliable and frequently need to take time off, putting more pressure on them
  • your employer may assume that you will not want or be eligible for further training or promotions
  • colleagues may react to you differently, focusing on your health status rather your work talents and abilities.

We can help you disclose to your employer if that’s what you choose to do. Please contact MS Connect™ (Freecall 1800 042 138) or email ess.admin@ms.org.au for further information.

When is the best time to disclose?
Do I have a legal obligation to disclose my multiple sclerosis to my employer?
Do I need to disclose at a job interview?
Can an employer ask me to submit a pre-employment medical assessment which might result in disclosing I have multiple sclerosis?
Where do I stand if I don't disclose and become unwell on the job?
Do I need to disclose to my employer if I have already disclosed to the driver licensing authority in my state?
If I am already employed when diagnosed, what responsibilities does my employer have to assist me – such as modifications to the workplace or flexibility of hours?
What is considered 'unjustifiable hardship' in terms of making adjustments for multiple sclerosis?
What can I reasonably expect from my employer if I wish to negotiate reduced hours? Can my employer insist I keep working full-time when I have a doctor's letter saying I should only work part-time?
I work full-time now. Can my employer force me to work part-time or casual hours now that I have disclosed I have multiple sclerosis?
My company is being restructured. What can I do if I suspect my employer will make me redundant knowing that I have multiple sclerosis?
I can perform my duties but cannot access the building, which is a rental property. What obligation does the landlord have to make the building accessible?
Can my employer terminate my employment just because I have multiple sclerosis?
If I disclose I have multiple sclerosis, how do I know if I am being unlawfully discriminated against?
What should I do if I feel I have been discriminated against because I have multiple sclerosis?
How long can I take off work due to multiple sclerosis without losing my job?
Can an employer refuse to accept an employee back into the workplace after a period of illness even if the person has a doctor's letter of fitness for work?
What rights do I have when my employer cites occupational health and safety concerns as reason for why I cannot stay in my usual role? For example, if they say I may injure myself or cause injury to others due to unsteadiness.
What fitness for work assessments can my current employer ask of me? Can my employer make me see the company doctor or undergo other health assessments? Do I have the right to refuse?
Can I claim for work-related stress resulting in a relapse of multiple sclerosis?
I had an accident at work and was subsequently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I am claiming for loss of income and medical expenses. Before the accident, I was healthy and had no sickness. Will I be covered under workers compensation?
I had an accident at work because I was having a relapse. My supervisor says I am not covered by workers compensation because they had told me I should go home. Is this correct?
Will I be covered by workers compensation if I don't disclose I have multiple sclerosis and have an accident whilst driving or operating machinery?
If I undergo a medical assessment for superannuation purposes, can my superannuation provider disclose I have multiple sclerosis to my employer?
Can I apply for salary continuance (also known as income protection) insurance?
Am I covered for a disability lump sum?
If I give up work, will I be able to get a disability pension?
Can I access my superannuation if I leave work?
I had to retire because of multiple sclerosis. I don't get my superannuation allowance for six years and we can't manage on my partner's part-time income. I am told by Centrelink that I can't get income support from the government because she works. What can I do?
If I am not a union member, what resources are available to advise me on employment matters?
Can legal practitioners take on an employment dispute on a 'no win, no fee' basis? Are they able to charge a percentage of the amount won? Is there a schedule of recommended fees?
Can I apply for legal aid and will I have to pay court costs if I lose or win?
Where can I get more information about employment matters?


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