We hope this tool has given you the opportunity to explore the many pros and cons to consider when making decisions about disclosing information about your MS at work. Each situation is unique, so there is no single or simple answer. If, after considering all your options, you make the decision to disclose information about your medical condition or impairment, think carefully about when, with whom, and how much you want to share. Once the information is out there, you cannot take it back. There are risks involved and there is no way to know for sure if your job will be in jeopardy once you disclose. You may experience support, relief and understanding, or face curiosity, rejection, fear, pity and resentment.
Whatever your decision, know your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as your local human rights laws. Familiarize yourself with your company’s time and leave policies as well as short- or long-term disability plan requirements. Knowledge is power and this information can help protect you should you decide to disclose.
If you would like to discuss your decision with someone at the National MS Society, find out about local employment resources, or even rehearse your disclosure conversation, call 1-800-344-4867 (1-800-FIGHT-MS). And if you need to disclose information about your medical condition or impairment in order to request an accommodation or leave, but anticipate difficulties with your employer, the Society can refer you to an attorney in your area who specializes in employment law.
Once you have weighed all the issues related to your particular situation and armed yourself with facts about your rights, your decision — whatever it is — will be one made with thought, care, and knowledge.