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Is It Wise To Tell Your Boss About Pots Or Chronic Illnesses ?


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I have been working in this job for 7 years, I haven't told my boss anything about all the daily pain, dizziness, etc and he has no idea because I work part time and for some reason, in all those years with him, I only have passed out once!

Now, since I am going to another state for treatment pretty soon, is it a good idea to tell him about my condition, specially when I come back? I am feeling much worse resentley, I feel like I am 90 years old or much more! but I can't afford to quit my job.

Please if you read my thread, write for me what you think, I will greatley appretiate it.

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Boy this is a tuffy... Since your part time I'm guessing your not protected under FMLA. I recently told my boss the extent of everything and Human resources called us in for a meeting. Needless to say I was worried at first (even though I knew I was protected under FMLA). HR just gave me my rights and said I'm protected under Americans with disabilities. Remember your boss is your boss... He's out to make the company as much $$$ as possible.

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You should read the FMLA laws and find out if you qualify for protection under those laws as it will depend on how many hours you actually work in a rolling 12 months. If you do qualify, then it is your interest to have a conversation with him. If you don't qualify, then, you are the best judge of how he will react and what is the best course of action. It really depends on your relationship with him and how this is affecting your job performance.

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This is your own call, but personally I don't tell my employers about my physical condition/s. I know some may disagree with this, but I figure that as long as it doesn't affect my work then it's nobody's business. I don't want to be labeled, misjudged, or treated differently in any way at work. So, I usually just get close enough to one or two people at work, establish trust and confidentially tell them about how I have sometimes fainted and though unlikely to occur at work what to do in case it happens there. It's usually enough to clue others in that I have suffered health problems in the past and some ongoing, but reassuring that it doesn't affect my work. Everybody's got some type of home or personal problem. Marital stress, moving, studying, etc. could all affect someone's at work performance...yet it's not something people think to share with others. Why should my health problems be any "special" deal?

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Add me to the "don't tell" group. In my home state, employers can fire you without cause/reason, or the more popular version these days, laid-off. I also keep work at work and personal life is personal.

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Boy this is a tuffy... Since your part time I'm guessing your not protected under FMLA. I recently told my boss the extent of everything and Human resources called us in for a meeting. Needless to say I was worried at first (even though I knew I was protected under FMLA). HR just gave me my rights and said I'm protected under Americans with disabilities. Remember your boss is your boss... He's out to make the company as much $$$ as possible.

Monstrosity; what are you symptoms? Did HR need a diagnosis from your Dr to say you are covered under Americans with Disabilities Act? I am wondering if my NCS; pacemaker and or injections in my spine for pain relief would make me covered. I think I am with NCS

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I'd be inclined not to tell. If you've been there for 7 years, it hasn't affected your performance. If you had a close friendship with your boss, you'd have told him/her already. Hopefully your new treatment will help. You can always tell at a later date if needed and think about what to say.

In my old job I had to say I had a chronic illness because I got ill in the middle of the job. Noone really understood POTS anyway. Since then I've had 2 other jobs, and not said anything because there was no reason.

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Thank you everyone

This forum is really my shelter! I have no one in my life who understands my illness, all of them (even my doctor) are in a complete denial except for you guys.

Yes Yogini, you are right, it hasn't affected my performance at work at all, not because I did not have symptoms but because I am very good in hiding whatever I suffer from and the 7 years are my proof!

Hugs to all for a brighter week and life!

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I ended up telling my boss, even though I was fairly new to the job, because when I first got really sick, it interfered with some of the duties of my job and I was going to several different doctors every week. I still go to the doctor's quite often for someone my age, and unfortunately most of my doctor's only have appointments from 8-5 which requires me taking time off work.

I do agree with the others, it all depends on your boss. I had to tell my boss, because my health wouldn't allow me to do some of my duties. I was afraid I would get fired (I live in an at-will state), but there was no way around it. My boss has been really good about it, and has allowed me to do other tasks rather than the ones that I can't do because of my health.

If you think your boss would be cool about it, then go for it. If it has been affecting your work, it might be better to tell your boss, rather than have your boss fire you because your boss thinks your work is affected because of other reasons (such as you being lazy).

I do know that in some states you are legally required to tell your boss if you have certain medical conditions and/or take certain types of medications. For example in some states you have to tell your employer if you are taking narcotic pain meds if you work in a heavy machinery type job. Or if you have epilepsy and you are a forklift driver...

We_don't_look_sick: I think you would be protected under American's with disabilities because you have a pacemaker. I imagine your doctor would know, you could also discretely ask HR. For example: you could say it in this way, "If I was diagnosed with x, would I be protected?". That's how I asked about my company's policy toward women who get pregnant, as some companies will fire you for getting pregnant. You could probably also ask a local charity that helps people with disabilities find jobs, as to what if any rights you have.

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Tachyfor 50years:

I am afraid I don't. I also don't know which medical conditions where that would be required. I know that CA is one, as I remember a case where a person was fired because of their health, and it came out that the person was legally required to notify the company of his health condition before being hired. I believe it was related to safety issues. I also know that when I lived in CA, I was told when I took certain meds, that I was supposed to tell my employer, if I had a job that required me to operate heavy machinery, that I was taking those meds. Also, in CA, if you have epilepsy you are not allowed to drive, which I imagine that if the state took away your drivers license because of it, and your job required you to drive, that you would probably have to tell your employer why you lost your drivers license.

I do know most states require that if you have hepatitis or HIV that you are legally required to tell your employer if you work in the food industry or in health industry (like if you are a nurse). There was recently a case in WI where it came out a bus boy had hep A, and the restaurant was required to notify all customers that they had a bus boy on staff, during the years he worked, that had hep A.

Some of the jobs I had in CA required me to have a physical and blood/urine tests before I could be hired. For one of the jobs if I had certain eye conditions or sleep disorders I would not have been hired.

The basic concept is this, is if your medical condition can potentially cause harm to another you are required in some states to notify your employer, so they can best determine the liability you will have on their company. For example if you have hepatitis A or B, most restaurants will probably not want you being their chef or server, as it opens up a liability if their customers get it from their restaurant. Some restaurants will still hire you even if you state it, because they know ahead of time you have it and know how to deal with you having it; whereas if you have it, hide it, and then someone gets infected...

Another example is this, in CA at least, if you have narcolepsy you are legally required to tell your employer if you have a job where by you having narcolepsy can potentially be harmful to others. For example a teacher was recently fired for having narcolepsy because it was ruled she could not adequately watch out for children, if she fell asleep on the job.

For example if you work in the sex industry and you have a sexually transmitted disease you are legally required to notify all parties involved (i.e. your employer and sexual partner for the event) of you having that disease. I think this is a federal law.

In my opinion I don't think dysautonomia falls into a medical condition that can cause harm to another in most jobs. Unless you are like an airline pilot and you have episodes of fainting when sitting, then it might be best do discuss that with your employer. If your dysautonomia was caused by hepatitis or another infectious disease then you may be required to notify your employer of it.

But like I said, I ended up having to tell my boss, not because I was legally required to do so, but because my dysautonomia and other medical conditions had made it so that for a period of time I could not do the job I was hired for.

Please note I am not a lawyer. If you are concerned you might have a health problem that interferes with your work and/or could potentially cause harm to others, I suggest you ask a disability services charity, your doctor, or some law group if you would have to disclose that information.

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Medical info is private and I'd be very surprised if any state required you to inform your employer UNLESS there was specific professional requirement (ie you are driving or operating heavy machinery which could put yourself or others in danger), or you wanted special treatment/protection under disability laws/plans. Employers are not supposed to discriminate unless it affects your ability to do the job without reasonable accomodation, and they shouldnt need to know unless you need accommodation or cant fo the job. Tachy, you are amazing for being able to manage for all of those years.

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My boss has known from the start about my Ehlers-Danlos and my POTS. I'm of the belief that I would rather he know then be surprised by it. I've had to take time off work for flares and for injuries, so it's better he knows what is going on. I don't work a typical 9-5, often I work odd hours and can work some from home if I had to.

I was told it was best to disclose in that I couldn't be fired if my illness got worse, and I would be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This may not be the case, but it was what I was told. If you don't disclose, they can fire you without making allowances for your disability. I may be completely wrong on all of this, but I always hope that human decency prevails when it comes to chronic illness.

Sara

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