Need help with employer

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SadSickTired
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 10/6/2009 12:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Can anyone give me advice on how to get my employer to stop acting like a jerk?  I mean the fact that the people I work with don't acknowledge that I am going through this is one thing, but for the General Mgr et al to expect me to work like nothing has changed is driving me nuts.  I went to them and had a meeting explaining my dx and the meds that I was on and they basically said okay thanks for letting us know...  Never once asked questions and never offered to help.  In fact they denied my FMLA leave of absence both times I applied for it.  Now with the holidays coming up my hours are going to go through the roof and I have these special manager work days where I get to give up a day off once a week for three weeks to throw 10-20 lbs boxes for 10 hours.  I am terrified.  Literally terrified of what will happen.  I am barely making it now trying to deal with all this new medication and dealing with the dx.  I have gotten NO sympathy from anyone that I work with and I am afraid to ask for anything.  My direct boss is great, but the higher ups are the ones that have been being insensitive.  Last year at this time when I thought it was just high blood pressure, and a new anti depressant (I had never even heard of fibromyalgia) I refused to work the extra 3 days and explained things to my direct boss (a different guy than now thank you God) the higher ups had a meeting with me and I explained that I wasn't feeling well and that I was trying to get my blood pressure under control (I was so stressed out that it had hit a peak of 120/70) and they still reprimanded me!  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Any advice would be really appreciated! 
Thanks!
   Trish
 
Dx'd with Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure, TMJ & Migraines
Meds & Supplements are Vicodin (as needed), Neurontin (300mgs 2/day), Cymbalta (60/day), Atenelol (50 mg/day) Biotin (5,000mcgs/day) & Yasmin (continuously).  Oh and a LOVELY retainer for the TMJ! 
 


watashi
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 10/6/2009 1:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I hate to say this, but well when push comes to shove it is covered under the ADA and if I'm not mistaken employers are required to make reasonable accommodations. Sadly though from what I have gathered is in a lot of cases you really have to get down right nasty. I've been lucky in regard to this, but a close friend of mine has not. I think where she works would fire me if only they could even though I don't work there. It has been a few years since I did the research for her, and don't really recall the details well I'm sleepy. But I guess in short check it out see what is required, at worst nothing lost for finding out. Wishing you the best!!

Dagger
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 10/6/2009 7:03 AM (GMT -7)   
You have rights but your employer also has the right to expect you to do the job you are paid to do. What do you expect them to do? Is it a reasonable accommodation that will allow you to do your work? Are you able to do your work?

Do you have a contract or employee agreement? You may be able to refuse overtime based on your needs but, even though you are supposed to be protected, your employer can always come up with a bogus reason to fire you.

Why was your FMLA denied? Was it a paperwork issue? If your are eligible for FMLA (work enough hours, large enough company) they can't turn you down if you apply correctly. You may want to investigate this more. Do you have a human resources office? Sometimes they will help.

120/70 is not very high at all. I don't understand why it would even be an issue. Did your doc tell you that 120/70 would make you feel bad? They don't usually even start you on meds until you reach 140/90. I'm curious about this.

I once was forced to do my work and most of someone else's work because she had filed paperwork that she had a disability. I had fibro but chose not to file paperwork. I was required to do most of her work yet she got paid the same as I did. She thought it was a fair accommodation, I didn't. I quit.

Marlee2
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 10/6/2009 7:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Trish, it sounds like they are all about getting the work done and aren't seeing you as a human with problems and don't care that you have problems. I would look into your rights. I haven't been out there in the work force for many years but my DH runs a business and he is too tolerant.
 
luv and hugs
Marlee
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
 
Fibro,Sjogrens, Anxiety, Gastroparesis, IBS, Gastritis, Allergies, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Sodium, Osteoarthritis and Celiac
 
Amitriptyline, Celexa, Xanax, Synthroid, Zyrtec, Micardis, Spironalactone, Tylenol, Reglan, Lidoderm Patches, Carafate and Prilosec
 
Vit D/calcium


Littleneck
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 599
   Posted 10/6/2009 7:42 AM (GMT -7)   
I have worked as a paralegal as one of my many incarnations, and have an attorney in the family, so am glad to share some advice here. Many attorneys will consult with you for free. Look in the Yellow Pages in your area for an attorney's display ad that mentions workplace issues or disability issues. Meet with the attorney and listen to the advice given. The attorney will be interested in your employment history, performance reviews if any, and the full story. If they are interested in your case be prepared to sign their information access form, which will allow them to access your employee file, medical records, etc. Also, if you have a university campus in your town, check and see if they have a student legal services office which may offer free legal assistance or advice. Free legal services exist in many parts of the country. On their own, many attorneys will volunteer their time ("pro bono") as a charitable contribution, most often in causes which are dear to them (disabilities, battered women, children's services, etc.) You may also try inquiring at women's shelters, disabled services office, etc if they know of any attorneys who are currently accepting pro bono work, or if they can recommend someone to you for workplace disability issues. Many times all it takes is an attorney's letter calling your employer's bluff and telling them what they already know- if you have worked at your position long enough (I think it's a year) they should be required to provide up to 12 weeks per year of FMLA for a covered condition while protecting your job while you are away from it. I recommend avoiding discussing your condition with anyone in human resources, as HR exists to protect the company, not the employee, and they will use it against you. Some people (with different conditions than fibro) I know use FMLA to cover their disabilities, which takes the stress and pressure off them when they have to miss a day of work. I am considering it myself since winter is coming up and winter is really stressful and painful for me. As an example, pregnancy is actually considered a temporary disability!
 
PS- and as for trying to make an employer stop acting like a jerk: well, if I knew the answer to that one, I guess I'd be pretty rich :)

Post Edited (Littleneck) : 10/6/2009 8:51:36 AM (GMT-6)


Jokat
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 278
   Posted 10/6/2009 8:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Trish,
 
I agree with Dagger about most, if not all, of this post. Your employer can not deny FMLA. There is a problem with the paperwork or your doctor did not declare you eligible.
 
Tough Love alert:
 
You can NOT expect others to feel empathy for you and "acknowledge what you are going through". It is a bit selfish on your part and you are going to be in for a lot of dissappoinment if that is your expectation. It is up to you to do the best job you can under all circumstances. If you can not perform the job you were hired for, you need to find a more suitable one.
 
Whenever my wife does not want to talk about her aches or pains because she feels it is slight in comparison...I tell her this: We all have our own challenges. Fibro is mine to bear, it does not diminish your own.
 
Do not expect others to help you bear your burden. Everyone is carrying their own load...whether or not we think it is comparible to our own.
 
trish, you can stand on your own. It will just hurt more than other people. At the end of the day we will pay for doing a normal day's work with extra pain, fatigue, and fog. But at the end of the day we did a normal day's work and can be proud. We know our challenge is mighty, but we know our will is greater.
 
 
JoKat
 
Our attitude towards life determines life's attitude towards us. {Earl Nightingale} 
Fibro since 2005


beanley
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 10/6/2009 12:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Littleneck about speaking to a lawyer. Also, as mentioned, research the American Disability Act (ADA). I think small employers are exempt, but if yours meets the criteria, they MUST provide reasonable accommodations to help you work.

For example, if someone is in a wheelchair, they must provide ramps and handicapped bathrooms. If someone is blind, they must provide software that reads things aloud, that sort of thing. If someone needs frequent rest breaks, they must allow it. If someone cannot lift heavy things AND there is a reasonable solution, they must accommodate it.
fibro, migraines, ibs


SadSickTired
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 10/6/2009 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey guys-
Thanks for all of the great ideas! Sorry I typed my bp wrong- it topped 170/120. My goal is 110/ 90. I can be a little airheaded when I'm upset. As for tough love I get plenty of that don't worry! What I need is support so that I can up enough courage to stand up for myself. Any of that would be gold to me! I guess I needed to hear that even if it's the law and the right thing it may not make a difference unless I am ready to push. And right now I am too scared. You see I am all on my own with no degree in a small area with a very limited job pool. I make way above average and have been in my job for almost ten years. Leaving isn't an option because as bad as I feel it would be worse if I was homeless! Just a little fibrohumor there!
Thanks!
   Trish
 
Dx'd with Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure, TMJ & Migraines
Meds & Supplements are Vicodin (as needed), Neurontin (300mgs 2/day), Cymbalta (60/day), Atenelol (50 mg/day) Biotin (5,000mcgs/day) & Yasmin (continuously).  Oh and a LOVELY retainer for the TMJ! 
 


Dagger
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 10/6/2009 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Ok, 170/120 is way too high! That makes a lot more sense.

I suggested the HR department because they may be able to tell you why your FMLA was refused.

I find it best to approach people with a specific plan that benefits everyone. Decide what you need to do your job and decide how your employer can provide it. Think about it from both angles, yours and your employer's. If your plan seems to benefit them, they are more likely to go for it. Be creative, brainstorm and write down all the possibilities you can think of. Come up with multiple options. Some of your options may inconvenience you but won't hurt you.

Maybe you can work part of the three days instead of the whole day; coming in late or leaving early, whatever's best for you and them. Maybe you take take some extra (unpaid) rest breaks. I don't know the details so I can't suggest much.

Remember, any plan you present must benefit them as much as, or even more, than you. You don't want them to think you can't do your job or that your condition may worsen. I suggest you don't bring in an attorney until you've tried other options especially if you work for a small company. You don't want to tick them off unless you have to.

Research your rights. Rules vary depending on the size of your company. Document everything. Get a notebook and keep track of all conversations, log the date and time, who was there and what was discussed. If you can follow up any verbal conversations with an email, that's even better. Keep copies of all emails, letters, notes, and memos at home, not at work. If you get evaluations, make sure you have copies. If you suddenly start getting bad evaluations, take action. The more you can get in writing or email, the better. It is almost impossible to prove what was said in conversations.

I hope this helps.

beanley
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 10/6/2009 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah, Trish, being homeless is definitely something to avoid! ((((hugs)))))

You know what I just thought of? Assertiveness training. It was really popular about 10 years ago for women in the workplace. Helps you learn to stand up for yourself in an effective, professional, non-confrontational way. Do some research, I bet they have online courses in it now. Or there might be a book you can buy.

It helped me a lot back in the day.
fibro, migraines, ibs


SadSickTired
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 10/7/2009 12:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh thank you thank you that you!!! You guys ROCK! I have never even heard of assertive training- I am sooo going to look into that! And documenting things through e-mail and talking through what would benefit them is brillliant! I am really very excited about thses new tools. You have no idea how much it means to me that someone(s) took the time to suggest things that could actually work for me. I am actually crying right now-seriously- thank you! I don't feel quite so alone. I love you guys.
Thanks!
   Trish
 
Dx'd with Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure, TMJ & Migraines
Meds & Supplements are Vicodin (as needed), Neurontin (300mgs 2/day), Cymbalta (60/day), Atenelol (50 mg/day) Biotin (5,000mcgs/day) & Yasmin (continuously).  Oh and a LOVELY retainer for the TMJ! 
 

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