Working with pd (or not!)

I find myself in position at work whereby I am expected to attend a stage I absence management meeting even though I have had no time off in years and my capability has not been questioned; the reason that I am expected to go? I have requested a little more support. My main need is that somebody at work, anybody at work in fact, occasionally speaks to me about Parkinson's and helps me to get 'tweaks' made to adjustments as things change.

This is proving to be tricky but I am told that I have rights. In an effort to find out what these rights are, I dive into the all-too-familiar sign-posting bonanza and I get an answer - I've no idea what it really means, but hey ho.

Apparently, the DDA "does not permit an employer to justify a failure to comply with a duty to make a reasonable adjustment. However, an employer will only breach such a duty if the adjustment in question is one which it is reasonable for the employer to have to make. So, where the duty applies it is the question of ‘reasonableness’ which alone determines whether the adjustment has to be made."

Hmmm, back to square one so I try another route. This time I am advised that the only way to get an answer to my question is to ask a laywer. I don't have the money to pay for a lawyer, especially with my looming homeless/ jobless  status, so it seems that I (we,you, they.....) only have enforceable rights if we can pay to have them explained and then enforced.

I'm pretty sure that there is no place for Parkinson's Disease in my organisation and I won't get another job (my personal experience so far has been that people don't like Parkinson's, it embarrasses them, it doesn't sit comfortably in today's image conscious society) and I won't qualify for benefits.

I may survive round two of the never ending cuts,  but  I'm out sooner or lager and so I  guess I'm wondering how to plan, how to move forwards? My current approach of eating peanut butter by the spoonful and almost compulsive scab picking is clearly not going to achieve much and I really have no idea what to do.

Sorry for the pretty long moan.

J :( 

Hi there j,

dont apologise for a moan. We all do it and thank goodness we understand the reasons behind it. You're allowed to! 

Its sad that people get treated in this way at work. I still work part time but at the moment don't have any issues like yourself but there will be a time when I will face approaching the powers that be for help too. There must be some sort of support out there regarding rights at work, at least I hope so! 

I hope you find some answers. Keep positive too! Oh, and I love peanut butter too. 

Take care and all the best




I am no expert but do know that when you have a chronic illness and take a  day off due to a health issue related to that illness in this case Parkinsons it cannot be counted as a "sick day" in  terms of your manager confronting you about the amount of time you are taking off.

I would suggest if really struggling to go into work one day you choose not to as if you make a mistake your employer may choose to record this and use the capabilities procedure .

Reasonable adjustments - you need someone to come out and make an assessment of your needs.

Ask human resources/personnel at work to arrange this for you.  Your employer has an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for you, have a look on the net as gov.UK sites have useful information.

Speak with your union, if not a member good time to join one they will represent you and offer support.  

Look out for law centres locally free legal advice or sometimes called unemployment centres who may be able to help you, citizens advice will point you in the right direction

Pensions     please be careful if you have a work pension seek advice,  is it a final salary pension scheme ? where should you reduce your hours this impacts on the pension you receive.  

Look at leaving work on Ill health grounds as an alternative to capability procedure.  If necessary consider time off work while you consider your options and get professional advice.  

Give citizens advice a call asap for contact numbers and free professional advice locations   

Keep your chin up

Hi I have been off work since middle of Jan.


I am unable to return to work.My union rep is advising me through the ill health retirement. I would say to you to speak wth your union rep.

Hope you get on ok. A very stressful time.



Hi Jackson, Nice to meet you and sorry to hear you're going through this situation at work. Some good advise above for you. Also if all avenues to support you in the workplace have been exhausted, then it is their responsibility to seek advice from Occupational Health Team. Luckily my colleagues and management team have been completely supportive to date however, I have sadly got to the stage where I struggle attending work full time. I haven't had any time off as yet but have to consider options prior to getting to the stage where I'm taking time off. I think as supportive as workplaces can be, at a certain point on the basis of equality, we are all treated the same with absence procedures. GG I had no idea you have been off work since mid-January. I'm glad you have your Union to support you through this transition. Keep us updated on your progress Jackson. All the best Joanie

Hi me again

Check with your HR dept.   sick leave is an area where discrimination can take place.  It is not in the interest of equality to expect a person with a disability to achieve the same level of sickness days in a year.  With PD for example exhaustion insomnia may be an issue for you.  This can be a reasonable adjustment where you are allowed disability leave days instead of contributing to your sickness record being deemed excessive and lead to dismissal procedures.

It is also a possibility to have a reasonable adjustment to have an additional break at work.  You should be able to as part of your assessment be given a reduced workload.

Equality is not giving everyone the same workload, conditions its about a level playing field.

It's a tough time , have a chat with union or citizens advice to ensure your place of work are really doing all they can.  

Me again, 

Forgot access to work grant , can cover some costs for adaptations and a professional assessment of what you need to be able to continue to work. The assessment ethos you need is based on the social model of disability rather than the medical model.

For example  in city centre cannot go down steps as you are disabled  Medical Model

YOU are prevented from continuing your journey as the city council failed to provide a ramp. Social Model

One blames you, the other your environment ...important differences in a work environment


Please ensure the person undertaking the assessment is qualified to do so and in the interest of Equality follows the social model of disability.

I am no expert but take your time as complex laws.

Thank you so much for all the replies, they are very much appreciated. I am going to go through them to see what I can put into action. Unfortunately, my union rep plays very nicely with management - though to be fair she is dealing with job carnage in the public sector so maybe she's salvaging what she can. I have a reasonable pension, the only sensible financial decision I have ever made, but I am not eligible to claim yet age wise and they won't retire me on ill-health at the moment either [and don't get me wrong, this is a good thing]. I suppose my big worry is that I suspect they would happily lose me (before I get expensive) due to'natural wastage'. Anyway, I won't ramble on, thank you again.   j :-S