Potential employers are not allowed to ask health-related questions, except in specific circumstances.
You don’t have to disclose a health problem or disability to your current employer, unless it could cause health and safety problems eg. if your M.E. causes cognitive problems affecting concentration, you may be putting your safety or someone else’s at risk.
You may be worried that disclosing your M.E. will put you at a disadvantage, or label or stigmatise you, or leave you vulnerable to workplace bullying.
Or you may be concerned about how the information you will provide will be used.
If you tell your boss or employer about your illness, you can ask them to treat the information as confidential. The Data Protection Act says employers must ensure confidential and appropriate handling of ‘sensitive personal data,’ which includes information about a person’s health.
This means that if you tell your employer about your M.E., that information should not be shared with any other person, inside or outside the organisation, without your prior, expressed consent.
Some colleagues may need to know about any agreed adjustments to hours, work practices or environment. However, they do not need to know the precise medical reason why.
For more information about employment and M.E., please download our booklet, M.E. and work (this is being revised as part of our SEE M.E. project and an updated version will be available in October 2016).