Should I tell my employer I have Parkinson’s?

Tom Palizzi answers how to tell your employer you have Parkinson's

One of the questions we hear a lot from people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s is whether or not they should tell their employer. And if so, when? So, we asked two of our Ambassadors and Parkinson’s experts—Jill Ater and Tom Palizzi—how they handled it. 

Jill and Tom were able to navigate this often messy situation with relative ease; however, we know that’s not always the case. Employers and colleagues are not always understanding. And sometimes, just saying the word Parkinson’s can change how they view you. A lot of this has to do with a lack of understanding about what Parkinson’s is and how it shows up so differently for everyone who has it.

A reader of our blog, Dr. Michael Rappaport, is one of the many living with Parkinson’s who had a negative experience when his Parkinson’s became public at work. It was so bad in fact, that he sued his employer.

He and many others have heartbreaking stories about what happened when they shared their diagnosis with their employers. For some of you, telling your employer might be the exact right thing to do. For others, keeping it to yourself for as long as possible may be the best path. As always, we recommend talking through your unique situation with trusted friends, family and advisors (maybe even a lawyer) before you decide one way or the other. 

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