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Multiple Sclerosis may require changes to the way you work over time. Some people can carry on as normal in the workplace for a long period, while others find that MS symptoms make working difficult.

Everyone with MS is covered under the Equality Act 2010, which means it's against the law for an employer, or potential employer, to treat you less favourably or discriminate against you because of your MS.

Under the Equality Act, if you ask your employer to make 'reasonable adjustments' so you can keep doing your job, then they are also required to do so. The type of adjustments will depend on your own needs as well as what is considered 'reasonable' by both you and your employer, but could include:

  • Flexible or altered working hours, to help you with attending hospital appointments, or increased travelling time
  • Allowing you to do some of your work from home
  • More regular breaks
  • Moving your desk to a more accessible area of the office
  • A car parking space by your nearest entrance to work
  • Changes to your workstation e.g. a larger computer screen, improved lighting, adapted keyboard or mouse, voice-recognition software or a special chair if your job usually involves standing for long periods and you find this difficult
  • Providing a place where you can rest for short periods during your working day
  • Allocating some of your work to someone else
  • Allowing time off for medical appointments
  • Assigning you to a different role in the organisation
  • Improving physical accessibility, for example by providing handrails or a ramp.

Many adjustments relevant to people with MS are not expensive, and some may cost nothing at all. Furthermore, there is no limit to the number of adjustments that you can ask or, or how often you ask for them. Whenever your needs change, you have the right to ask for adjustments and your employer cannot pass the cost of any adjustments on to you.

They may be able to get help through the Access to Work scheme via Job Centre Plus to fund adjustments and should consult with you about any adjustments they are planning to make.

Making a claim

If your employer does not consult with you, carry out the necessary checks and investigations and make any reasonable adjustments required, your work may suffer. In some circumstances you may find that you are dismissed on the basis that you are unable to carry out the role. If this is the case then you may be entitled to claim against your employer for disability discrimination.

There is no minimum length of employment required to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal, but it is important to lodge your claim within 3 months of the act of discrimination occurring. It is therefore essential that you take legal advice on your situation at an early stage and as soon as possible.

If you think you have been subject to discrimination on the basis of your MS, please phone Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar, or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 or complete the form on the right. Lawson-West offer free initial consultations so it won't cost you a penny to find out if you have a claim. We also run a number of free drop-in advice clinics at our offices in Leicester, Wigston & Market Harborough.

Lawson-West will make sure that your disability discrimination claim is funded on the most appropriate basis and that will often be on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that Lawson-West have a vested interest in ensuring your employment claim is successful.