should I tell emplmyoyer that i have crohn's?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 10/23/2008 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been working ful time since i developed crphn's. i don't do much besides work. I started  a new job for a large corpration, and i am covered by health insurance via the cor. should i tell them that i have crohn's? i am afraid of being ill, but if they know, and i still do my job, they have to let me use FMLA is necessary, right? i am medical, and have never been in the corporate world before. i had a colonoscopy yesterday, and my superivisor called me for another reason and I told her that i was recovering rom a procedure.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 517
   Posted 10/23/2008 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Legally, you aren't required to tell them anything, unless you do need to use the FMLA.  If it begins to interfere with your job performance, or your begin to take a lot of sick days, the decision to tell is completely up to you.  I had one employer that I was pretty up front with (becaure there were only 5 of us working there) and they weren't very accomodating.  At my current employer, due to the nature of my work, they required a medical screening, and so I was forced to inform the med clinic personnel up front that I had UC.  I held off telling anyone that I directly work with, mainly because I am a very private person, and when I started there, things were fairly under control.  I had a bad flare this summer, missed a few days, and at work I was requiring frequent bathroom trips.  So I informed my shift mates about my condition, in case they were wondering why I sometimes jump up and run from the room.  I was given a training opportunity this fall that involved a rather lengthy commitment (at least one day a week for three months), and I ended up turning it down because I just didn't feel good about signing up, and not being able to hold up my end of the deal.  My supervisor asked why I was turning it down, but also said if I wasn't comfortable telling him, he'd take my no at face value.  I ended up telling him, and he was very understanding, even told me that I'd get another chance at the training next year.  This was a long winded way of saying that it is completely up to you whether or not to tell, but until it starts interfering in some way, I'd hold off.  For some people, telling works out to their advantage, for others, it turns out to be detrimental.

36 y.o. male
Diagnosed w/ moderate UC in May '06
Meds & supplements:  Asacol, Florastor, VSL#3, Wellbutrin XL, Prozac, multi-vitamin, Allegra, Lialda, Colocort enema every other night, Prednisone (down to 5mg), flaxseed oil, L-glutamine.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 10/23/2008 6:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I have always been open and up front about my illness with my employer. I believe it helps them to understand my flaring times and bad days. Luckily though I have a very supportive boss and coworkers.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 241
   Posted 10/23/2008 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
thanks, you all. that was some bad typing that i did this morning!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 510
   Posted 10/23/2008 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Hm, I've been curious about this, too, with only a year and a half left of school. Not sure if I should disclose my condition as I apply for jobs right out of school.
19, College Student, diagnosed June 2007. Asacol made me worse, Prednisone made me crazy, Remicade for 1 year, Now controlling disease with diet (wheat-free, low dairy, low sugar) and considering Humira. Had to scrap semester abroad plans due to disease, but doing well day to day.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 437
   Posted 10/23/2008 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
i think it depends on your employer. i also think it depends on how often you're off work. u don't want to be labeled a slacker so an medical explanation for having to call in and be off work more than others is something they should know about. however, i just started a new job in April and i haven't told anyone. i've taken some days off for procedures and such...but i really feel that they don't care why i'm taking days off as long as i get my work done. so, i decided that until it becomes an issue, i wouldn't say anything.
but, in previous jobs i've always felt it was fair to my boss to know up front that i would need to take days off more than most people.
it's up to you.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/24/2008 6:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I would never disclose it until you have been hired and started unless you have a med screening or you legitimately need to know if you can do the job. Even though employers are required to supply reasonable accomodations, they must be just that, reasonable. And I can think of some jobs where constant bathroom access would not be reasonable. (EMT, firemen, police, etc.) So, in those situations you might need to be upfront and say will I be able to get coverage when I need to head to the bathroom? But you don't have to. It is all up to you.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15310
   Posted 10/24/2008 9:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Everything I had been reading recently about this situation is NO. You don't want to give an employer any kind of an excuse to start picking your work apart when you have been performing at 500%. As long as you are able to do your work there is no need in divulging this information to them, and by law you are not required to.

Only you can decide what is best here. Susie

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 10/24/2008 11:05 PM (GMT -7)   

  Under Federal laws, the employer is not required to grant FMLA to any employee for the first 12 mos. of their employment. I was once terminated from a job for taking a month off when my husband was on an ICU for 23days. FMLA laws are regulated by US Dept. of Labor.

  I am a little fuzzy about our situation. I know that my employer is required to accommodate me under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), because Crohn's is covered under ADA.That was reaffirmed under 2008 amendments. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more specifics regarding the ADA. EEOC regulates discrimanation related to ADA. You can find info about when to tell your employer about your disability on the page link below. Other pages on this site define the term disability.

I hopes this helps. If I hadn't told my employer during my interview for the job, I would probably wait until after the my 1 year anniversary if I was working in a right to work state in a non-union job. I would refer to local laws to see if they had any employment at will laws, under those laws they can terminate you without explaination, or use another excuse. If you are union you may have a right to an explaination regardless.

Crohn's for life, symptoms included terrible joint and soft tissue pain, just met first cousin who suffers from Reactive Arthritis-explains sooo much. Great control on SCD (when I'm good) and I get by with a lotta help from my friends!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 10/25/2008 11:39 AM (GMT -7)   
I tolod my current employer after I was offered the job, giving them a chance to back out. They did not care, saying just because I was sick didn't mean that I did not have the right to work. Lots of compasionate people were working there at that time. My symptoms were under control back then, and I had a well paying job (that I did not particularly like) so I did not have as much to lose as someone just starting out. My generic opinon would be to keep it under wraps until you get a feeling of the kind of people you are working with. If they are good people, you might want to let them some of know when an opportunity presents itself. I don't know anything about the way things work in the States (legally or culturally) but living in Alberta, which is probably the most American province in Canada, I would be cautious about giving small to mid sized companies a concern in hiring me. You might be better off in a large company anyway, as I would think that they would have HR professionals with experience with helping people with a range of medical concerns. Good luck.
40 yr old male, Crohn's since 1991.  Diagnosis, bowel perferation, resection in 1993.

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