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How many hoops for 'reasonable accomodations'?
9 Replies
solanadelfina - November 5

I'm having a lot of trouble at work for what I see as a simple request, and am wondering if their actions are legal or not. I'll explain.

I work in retail, and a portion of my days are spent at a cash register. On my bad days, (you know, the days where standing isn't an option anymore) I've noticed that it helps to borrow our SIM's former stool and sit on it while doing my work. It's high enough that I can still reach everything and easily greet the customers, and I get off of it to fetch CDs and DVDs. He doesn't need it anymore, and it's made the difference between getting the job done and needing to go take one of my breathers or go home. I only do this on my terrible days, which have been rare.

My manager told me that I could no longer do this, as two others had requested to do the same and were turned down. If I was allowed to, then the store could be sued. He had no suggestions for an alternative solution, so I promised I'd get a way to do this without being sued.

I have a letter from my doctor giving orders to do this, (carefully worded) and our handbook and pages from the Americans with Disabilities Act about reasonable accomodations. I figured with this arsenal, there'd be no way they could turn me down.

Wrong again.

My manager was done with it, and said that I could talk to our district manager. I called him (since he'd forgotten to come talk to me on his visit) and told him the story. He blew off the doctor's letter, saying that the store doesn't give 'special treatment'. He did offer the FMLA again. I told him I wasn't signing that, since in the paperwork it claims that they could fire me in three months if the condition doesn't improve.

Finally, after mentioning that I was confused because the store claims they do reasonable accomadations like the Act says, the DM finally said that he could start the paperwork for disability or 'see what he could do with HR'.

To be honest, I'm terrified of signing anything because it's obvious that they'd rather that 'sick girl' go away so that they can hire 'healthy girl'. My coworkers are awesome with the fibro and no one worries about my 'special treatment' at all. They see how much pain I'm in and how much I struggle, and are just worried about me. I am looking for a new job, but want to take care of myself in the meantime. I'm also worried about what the disability paperwork would say, or the effects it could have on future employment.

Is the store within their legal rights to be such arrogant (insert your favorite cuss word here)? All I want is a little help to do my cursed job so that no one has to cover me or I don't have to take a partial sick day that could have been avoided. I keep up with my work and often have time to offer my assistance, and my last review was great.

Any advice on whom to contact or personal views would be very welcome. Fibro hugs to all.

 

Fantod - November 5

Why does everything have to be so damn difficult these days? And why do employers continue to be unreasonable when it comes to accomodating people who are ill?

From what little I have read, employers may do as they please when it comes to accomodation. From a purely ethical and moral veiw point your employer leaves a lot to be desired. I'd call the local Bar association and see if you can talk to someone pro bono about this situation. Shame on your employer for their callus behavior.

I'd also contact the state government where you live and see if they can help. Take care.

 

brooksidefarm - November 5

Your employer is a creep. Have you sent a letter over the DM's head? Also, since you are not considered disabled I do not think that they technically have to accomodate. Beautiful huh? The boneheads. Sign nothing without very good lawyers. You could get yourself into a situation that sticks after changing employers. I suppose it is possible that you could get help from the government. Yeah, I know. I am not sure a specific agency, but congressman are a help. Contact your local congressman, explain it to an aide. They will likely have you request help in writing, or just ask them what - if any - agency can help you. The way you explained it here should be enough. Don't give up. God bless.

 

DoxieLOVA - November 6

Hey there! I'm sorry to here your employer is giing you such a hard time. I've recently been offered a part time job in retail and I havent worked in 6 month so I am also concerned about whether or not I will be able to stand all day. SO, I have been doing some research...

To fall under the American's with Disabilities act you must meet the following criteria;

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC, 1992). Therefore, some people with FMS will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC, 1992). Therefore, some people with FMS will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.


A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment (EEOC, 1992).

I would say you fall into that category! SO...sounds like the freaking jerks at your company need to pull there heads out of there a$$ and give you a damn stool! UGH...makes me SO SICK!!!

Good luck...I hope for your sake they come around soon!! Also, sounds like you've got a good Dr who is willing to back you up on this...that's a Godsend!

 

DoxieLOVA - November 6

Also... you should check out ada.gov, check out the guide to disabilites laws.

 

axxie - November 6

I'm so sorry you are going through the wringer at work over a stool. God help me, but I think your bosses are jerks, and they will say anything and do anything, so not to give you the accommodation.

Is it worth the fight, probably not, you will probably find yourself in a pickle if you do fight it, my best advice would be, to find yourself another job. I know it's not easy to find yourself another job.

Whatever happened to common courtesy and common sense!

I

 

solanadelfina - November 6

Thanks, guys. Apparently, 'reasonable accomodations' were the magic words. When I came to work, the paperwork for it was waiting for me. (Why the bloody hell no one told me I could do that before...grumble, grumble.) I'm planning on taking it to a lawyer and figuring out what it will involve and what, if any, future effects it will have on employment. I don't trust corporate to be on my side for this one at all.

I appreciate everyone's advice. Apparently, the 2008 version of the Act covers things that fluctuate and have better or worse days. The job hunt will continue, but I hope that these guys learned a lesson the next time an employee needs some help that not everyone will go away with their tail between their legs.

 

ptalana - November 7

I can totally relate to what you are experiencing at work. However my co-workers were not supportive at all, even to the point that I would have my stool kicked out from behind me on a daily basis!!! My injuries and subsequent fms diagnosis even followed an accident at work which this co-worker was present. Makes you wonder what makes other people tick.
I live in Canada and our laws are a little different here. I've been forced to take the legal route as my employer has cut me off of all disability benefits, and has put me on leave with no pay for the past year. It's not easy taking the legal route but someone has to stand up for our rights!!!!
I wish you luck with everything, stay strong.
Patty

 

DoxieLOVA - November 7

Solanadelfina,

I am SO glad to hear you finally got this taken care of. Like you said the words "reasonable accomodations" probably did the trick. They've probably never had a situation like yours and they just didnt know how to handle it. I'm glad they came to there senses. Good luck on your job search! I start my new job Monday and I am very worried...I haven't worked in 6 months and I'm not sure how my body is going to react. I guess we'll see!

ALSO....PATTY,

I cannot believe there are such disgusting people in this world that would treat you that way! I am so sorry to hear this...it is very disheartening. I hope things get straightened out for you soon!

 

solanadelfina - November 7

Actually, there are apparently two other people in the company with fibro, but I don't know what positions they have.

Patty, I'm so sorry to hear that your coworkers are doing that. Something as childish as kicking away something we need is truly horrible. These people see us in pain and struggling with many symptoms everyday, and decide to make it worse. I can't understand it.

Doxie, I pray your new job will be enjoyable and manageable, and your boss and new coworkers understanding. You're very brave to go back to work and give it another try, and I hope it (literally! :)) pays off for you.

Thank you all for your support. We're never alone in this battle, and that can give one the strength to see it through. God bless you all. :)

 

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