Editor’s note: “Need to Know” is a series inspired by common forum questions and comments from readers. Have a comment or question about MS? Visit our forum. This week’s question is inspired by the forum topic “When do you tell your employer about your MS?” from Jan. 15, 2019.
What a prickly question. After all, few of us are lawyers or employers. All we have is our real-world experience and anecdotes from our peers and loved ones.
I faced this decision right around the time I received my multiple sclerosis diagnosis. I was finishing up a medical certification program, working “clinicals” at a hospital lab and sending out resumés.
Two weeks post-diagnosis, I landed an interview for a job at a clinic a short drive from home. That was a big deal. I live on an island, and I’d be working 12-hour overnight shifts. Under those conditions, commuting might be a dealbreaker. Ferry fare is costly, and I didn’t relish the idea of losing at least two more hours of sleep because of the commute.
I was also slated to start Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) on the morning of my job interview. I’d heard all the horror stories about its side effects. As I was worried about the possibility of adverse reactions, I put off taking it until the following night.
The interview went fine. I passed the technical assessments, accepted their offer, and was sent to human resources to complete the post-interview paperwork.
This documentation included questions about my ability to perform the tasks outlined in the job description.
Ugh. I was faced with a dilemma: To disclose or not to disclose my MS?
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