Employers - Anyone harassed because of their Crohn's Disease?

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Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 3/20/2008 3:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Greetings. Everyone. I hope this posts finds you with little pain and... well, we all know the wonderful symptoms surrounding our disease. :)

I am in a very difficult situation at work. My manager has been very cruel, non-supportive and harassing towards my illness and even comments that I am making up symptoms to leave work. Now, understand that I go in each and every day, no matter how I am feeling. The only time I take off is when I go into the ER or to see a doctor. I cannot even remember the last time I took a day off for anything other crohn's.

I have a couple of questions that I believe this would be the best place to come.

1. Does and/or has anyone here had/have a boss that has made working conditions more difficult due to your illness? And if so, how did you handle this?

2. Does anyone know of any laws, and if so what paperwork would be needed, to protect against this type of harassment?


Thank you in advance for your input. It's not hard enough being in the middle of a flare up with my doctor wanting to put me in the hospital, but going into work every day and putting up with this type of bad behavior is just making it worse.

petittarte
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 686
   Posted 3/20/2008 3:57 PM (GMT -7)   
I would consult with a labor lawyer. Document everything, recording your mangers comments if you can. I live in NY and in NY you can legally record a conversation that you are part of without the other person knowing. Gather your info then go to HR and mention the harassment and if things don't change file a lawsuit.
Jodi

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Cyborg Ninja
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 660
   Posted 3/20/2008 4:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I haven't had problems with employers (cos I've never been employed!), but I have had problems with professors. One professor sent me a nasty email even though I had just told her in person about my disabilities and gotten the paperwork done. Pretty horrible.
Current DX: Graves' disease, Crohn's disease, gallstones, scoliosis, syringomyelia
Dear admin: ASP sucks and so does formatting in tables!


crohns07
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/20/2008 4:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Does your employer have more than 50 employees at your location? If so, you are eligible to take FMLA for up to 12 weeks for a medical problem or to take care of sick family members. It doesn't have to be consecutive either.

If you aren't eligible for FMLA, then go to your HR department and explain to them that you are being harassed by your manager in regards to your medical condition.

I hope you find them helpful. It's horrible that you have to deal with an unsympathetic manager with this disease. :(

CrohnsDaddy
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 3/20/2008 5:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Texan, I'm so sorry to hear of your problems with your empolyer. I work for a Texas based company, and they have been nothing short of wonderful to me the whole time I've been out with Crohn's. I've been getting "get well" cards signed by the President and CEO every month. The are known for developing a devout loyalty among their work force, and it's a reputation well-earned; they *really* take care of their people, and in return, we take care of the company. Too bad your company is turning out to be a bit short sighted in that regard. Sure hope it gets better for ya.
Just trying to be a "Regular Member".
 
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Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 3/20/2008 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks to all who have replied. I have gone to our HR person;however, she has been no assistance in this matter.


I am eligible for FMLA but that does not give me a guarentee that I will have a job. That's what my HR person told me. I will start looking up Texas labor laws. Unfortunately it is a law firm that I work at, so pursuing legal action is not the best idea. :(


confused

crohns07
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 3/20/2008 7:05 PM (GMT -7)   
If you are eligible for FMLA then your job is protected. Not necessarily if they have a layoff, but they can't fire you for taking FMLA (as long as you have been with them for 1 year). That's disgusting that your HR person is not being helpful. I would contact your local labor board and make a complaint. I'm so sorry to hear you are having to deal with this.

eva124
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 246
   Posted 3/20/2008 7:05 PM (GMT -7)   
man that sucks ! my last employer was realy gud to me,and boy did i piss them off basically i wld haf to call in sick every week,they thought i was a total party girl i wish! once i found out wat i had and the lovely med certs i got frm my specailist that really shut em up.I think i wld leave that place if they were pissing me off,stress isnt gud for your crohns and your well being is mre important.Im sorry i cldnt b mre help Gud luck.
dx 17 aug 2007
20 yrs old
23 dec 2007 resection/temp illeostomy 14 feb 2008 temp illeostomy reversed  100mg azamun


crohnie1985
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 3/20/2008 7:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a guy tell me that I was so lucky because I was off work so much, I lifted my shirt and showed him the healing scar that ran the lenght of my abdomen. His jaw dropped, and he walked away so embarrased. If they only knew.

Malibu05
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 98
   Posted 3/20/2008 8:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I had to have a surgery around Christmas one year and I missed work during the holidays. I worked at a hospital so obviously some of my coworkers had to work extra around the holidays because of my absence. When I came back I think they half way thought I planned my surgery just so I'd get out of working the holidays. It was an emergency surgery so it wasn't like I had much of a choice. I remember them being so rude about it all at the time though. It made me feel so uncomfortable!

artpainter
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 3/20/2008 9:26 PM (GMT -7)   
dear texan, i am so sorry;i lost a job because of crohn's, but it was done so sneakily, everyone said i was not competent;it was a dental reception job..back in '82 & i had no probs w/it but crohn's ...my IQ is 146(not bragging), but do u think i'd have a prob writing down an appt. time...no way;i spoke w/lawyer who advised i get better job;good advice;i did. i wish u all the luck in the world, texan;sorry some folks are so cruel, ignorant, downright, flatout mean...artpainter44 sad :-) it will work out for u;trust universe, texan....
hi, i am artpainnter44, a female freelance artist with  many physical problems. i live in a simple manner regarding philosophy;the only thing in the world i can control is my own reaction to things that happen.
    there is such a freedom in that, it's incredible;i give up wanting to control things & other people(you can't);i am learning to keep my old reactive ego reactions out of the present;it is not easy, it is simple;it takes practice & you will still hurt, cry, etc. but it's a whole different perspectine on life;i think it saved mine. thanks, painter


athensgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 3/21/2008 1:25 AM (GMT -7)   

Amazing how people can be so cruel.....  I work in the same company for the last 16 years (insurance company in Athens) and although my boss (i'm his secretary) who is the CEO is generally a very tough guy, when he found out about my condition almost two years ago, he was so sweet!  Although I have been suffering from Crohns for several years, I guess my condition is pretty mild, because I never missed a day off work because of this.  When I don't feel well I just call him and tell him I will be a little bit late, and he always says "take your time".

I also appreciate the fact that he never revealed to anybody else my health problems, and when he found out that the child of another colleague had Crohns, he asked me very politely if it would be OK for me to call the guy and try to comfort him, because he was devistated from his child's diagnosis.

So, working in a possitive environment really helps, and I can't imagine how you are coping everyday.  If you were living in Greece, you could sue your boss for "discrimination" but, it would take a long-long time until court made a decision.

My advice is that if you can't handle it anymore, try looking for another job.  Stress is a big factor of flares as you know, so you don't have to put yourself in this awful situation.

I wish you all the best, and I'll pray that your working life will get better real soon!

Christina

 


FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 3/21/2008 3:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Its funny that from the experience of other members on here it seems like law firms and medical offices are the worst. You would think that they of all people would be the most understanding!! I work for a law firm that is great, but it is a small firm. If you are at a big enough firm to have HR could you try to get reassigned to another position. If you are a paralegal or secretary could you work for another lawyer?? First and foremost apply for FMLA. Even if you don't use it, it will protect you and sort of put them on notice. Next, I would get a doctor's note stating your limitations. Crohns is a disability protected by the ADA. Your employer needs to make REASONABLE accomodations. The problem is that the case law is very pro-employer regarding what is reasonable. In your situation I would recommend a note stating that you always need to have access to the bathroom. You can not be disciplined for leaving a meeting to use the restroom and you can not be placed in a position where leaving would be cumbersome (for example taking notes in a video taped deposition or being in a court room during a jury charging where no one may leave). Other accomodations may be a later start time, more sick leave for doctors appointments, etc. However those "other" accomodations may not be seen as reasonable by a court if your law firm could argue that the position requires someone to be there at x time. If you are a paralegal and get all your work done and it doesnt matter if you work 9-5 or 10-6 then you would probably win that argument. If you are a receptionist and they need someone answering the phone daily at 8 no matter what then you would probably lose that argument because the accomodation wouldn't be reasonable for the employer. Once you have your doctor's note and ADA in place start documenting everytime you are denied an accomodation. Sometimes people just forget. You can state, I will glady take notes in trial for you but please remember I have to step out during the jury charging, per my doctors note, because I need access to the restroom. If you get made fun of for this document it and inform them that you do not find it funny and that it is making you uncomfortable at work. Making fun of you for a disability could be creation of a hostile work environment which is illegal. However, your employer may need some notice that you are uncomfortable if it is not obviously hostile. Some people have different comfort levels and senses of humor so if you think what upsets you is a gray area you need to let them know you want them to stop. Finally, law firms are plentiful. As much as I hate the thought of you giving in to a jerk, it might just be worth finding a new job with a more understanding (usually smaller) firm.
26 Year old married female.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  Currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day, hysociamine prn, nexium, and ortho evra.  Good times!!!
 
 


artpainter
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 3/22/2008 8:41 PM (GMT -7)   
hi, texan, this is artpainter again;my best friend used to work in law office & said u should definitely consult lawyer..legal aid, whatever...it's not legal that they fired u for something that came from illness. that's all i know...hope it can help u, good luck, painter :-)

Simzee
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 3/29/2008 6:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry to hear about your situation. (I have IBS-D, so know the comments) I don't know about Texas employment laws.....but in New Jersey, an employer can fire you for anything & there's nothing you can do about it. Good Luck. I hope you get what you want.

Matthew
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 3/29/2008 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Its always been amazing to me that one of the worst proffesions to offer bias to us crohnies is the Medical Field!
Well, I've never had the problem with them. I have however, had one or two bosses, that made nasty remarks (after stating that they understood my position & illness!). Both were women, too... I just don't know. Anyway, I'm stuck in retail for all eternity & its pretty tough when your HEALTHY.

Sincerely,
Matthew

Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 3/29/2008 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you one and all for your replies. Flare up or not I have been to work every day. I have been calling it "survival through pharmaceuticals." (think most of us here are familiar with this). I am in IT and was just moved over to the technical trainer spot. I hope this position is less taxing on my body - we shall see.

If we had a kind and understanding HR person, I would be more inclined to seek FMLA just to cover myself; however, this is not the case. I have been providing a doctor's note for each visit and will continue to go in each day (good or bad) and put a smile on my face. I have no choice... someone's got to pay the bills.


:-)

jujub
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10392
   Posted 3/29/2008 9:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Texan, I also live in Texas, and I know some employers here can be very harsh. Look at the Texas labor laws, but more important, look at the Federal labor laws and the Americans with Disability Act. Texas laws more often support the employer, whereas Federal laws are more likely to protect the worker.

I've been very lucky that I work for a county government, and everyone has been very supportive of my need to flex time and work from home at times. I hope you're able to work out some accommodation. If not, you might consider a change of employer if that's possible.
Judy
 
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Aimee =)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 3/29/2008 9:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Just another Texan popping in to tell you how sorry I am you're dealing with this kind of discrimination =(

I have thankfully had nothing but compassionate employers since my dx (and during it!). My stress level is high enough, and affects my disease enough already, that I can't imagine adding that to it.

artpainter
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 3/30/2008 12:47 AM (GMT -7)   
the stress of just having a chronic illness makes the rest of even common stressors so much more difficult to handle;it's hard for those not in the situation to understand & they tend to minimize or avoid us, which just adds to the stress we already have...wish i had an answer ..painter
hi, i am artpainnter44, a female freelance artist with  many physical problems. i live in a simple manner regarding philosophy;the only thing in the world i can control is my own reaction to things that happen.
    there is such a freedom in that, it's incredible;i give up wanting to control things & other people(you can't);i am learning to keep my old reactive ego reactions out of the present;it is not easy, it is simple;it takes practice & you will still hurt, cry, etc. but it's a whole different perspectine on life;i think it saved mine. thanks, painter


Texan with Crohn's
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 3/30/2008 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Yep, stress makes CD flare ups worse, if it doesn't cause them. And my work environment is nothing but stress. The people at my firm are wonderful, all but my boss and the HR person, the two that I need in my corner during these difficult times. If it wasn't for the other people at the firm, I would have already left.

My doctor insisted that I try sedatives during work to decrease my stress level. Well, that certaily does help. So I will give this a go for a while to see how much longer I can hang. I need to make it to my three year mark so that I can then get 75% of my pay should I let my GI doc go in and do surgery. GI doc has been wanting to cut me open for the past six months now.. keep telling him I have to wait until June 27h!! We shall see.

I just love this forum. Where I have received no information and assistance from doctors, etc. This forum has given me all the information I need.

Thanks to everyone here. It is good to know you are not alone. tongue

-Leslie

not creative
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 466
   Posted 4/1/2008 1:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I lost a job I had with a restaurant once because of my Crohn’s. One night, I was hit with horrible pain and D and had to call off about an hour before my shift- I spoke to one manager who said OK, but didn’t relay the message to the late-shift manager who then called my house to find out where I was. When my father answered, he didn’t know I was feeling ill because he had just walked in the door and didn’t see me. He told them I must be on my way. When I never showed up, I was fired and even though I tried to explain what happened, and about my Crohn’s, the owner wouldn’t reconsider it. He was a real douche anyway. I tried to appeal with the Dept of Fair Housing and Employment but I wasn’t there a year yet (fairly close though) so I was screwed. It really sucks when people are insensitive, I understand you have a business to run, but really, I’m doing the best I can. I’m sorry it’s not going well, perhaps you should put a lawyer on retainer?
Laurenne, 23 Student @ University of California, Davis.
Dx'd w/ IBS and CD in 2002
Just started taking Humira and feeling crazy good.


Matthew
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3932
   Posted 4/1/2008 5:47 PM (GMT -7)   
BTW, I am NOW living in Texas. But my bad bosses were in Ar. & Fl respectively..

Matthew
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