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So Frustrated...


deucykub
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I am having a very bad day today. Usually, I am very upbeat, but I feel like everything is about to come crashing down on me. I'm fortunate because I have supportive doctors, and that is such a blessing. But the day I feared would come is only a paycheck (ha - such as that is right now) away. I'm not going to be able to pay my bills.

I asked for a reasonable accommodation at work in July of last year that was so reasonable it was allowable for healthy employees according to policy. It has been denied, not once, not twice, but three times by my supervisor. Now it's in appeal, and they have put it through every inch of red tape they could find (and this is a federal employer - so they have had no problem finding bureaucracy). My medical records have been reviewed and my doctor has been interviewed by Federal Occupational Health twice, and they have twice recommended allowing the accommodation (according to my doctor; my employer refuses to provide copies of the reports). My supervisor keeps putting it back through review. Now she wants to hear from my POTS specialists when I'll get better (which of course no one can answer ;)).

She is keeping me on my old schedule, which is 4 10-hour days. I am required to be in the office one day a week and can telework three. I can't make it into the office; I'm too sick. I can only work about 3 hours a day from home right now before I become too symptomatic. That leaves me with three days I am allowed to work, which means about 9 hours a week for me. Over the last two weeks, I could only work 4 hours total. I'm just a mess.

We have an option for advanced sick leave that is paid back over time. In my desperation, I asked if I would be approved for that. My supervisor said... oh, you'll never guess... request denied. I've taken a loan out of my TSP (federal version of 401K). I'm tapped. I know they are trying to force me to either quit or apply for disability (which I'm sure they will also drag through every possible bureaucratic process to punish me for some sin they think I have committed). B)

Before this, I worked extra hours off the clock and took on two extra jobs willingly to my own workload. They nominated me for Connecticut Federal Employee of the Year. All I've ever done is work hard, and this is how it is repaid.

I'm sorry for the long post/rant. I just feel so helpless and powerless right now. Good thing there's no ice cream in the house, or it would be demolished.

If you've been through this, any of it, and survived to tell the tale, please tell me. I'm in desperate need of hope.

Thanks for lending a listening ear/reading eye. You are all so wonderful here.

Deucykub

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Deucykub,

I'm sorry that your boss is being so inhuman. People sometimes have very strange reactions to illness...one of which is to blame the patient. While I haven't worked since getting sick, I have run into my share of doctors who react similarly as your boss. One cardiologist refused to sign my disability paperwork for school, even though I was in a wheelchair right in front of him. He looked directly at me and said "I don't think you're disabled."

I can say from my own experience that any time I feel I'm being discriminated against, I consult a disability lawyer. I had to sue my apartment building for discrimination last year, and I did this by 1) talkign to human services for my state. 2) Consulting a good defense lawyer. While you're not dealing with a housing issue, I'm sure that the human services in your state may be able to point you in the right direction. Honestly, maybe the best place to start is googling "disability discrimination Connecticut" and see what comes up.

I wish I had better advice for you, but hopefully some others here will have more experience with discrimination at work and can offer more specific help.

In the meantime, you'll be in my thoughts. Hopefully all this will get straightened out!

Hugs,

Lauren

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Has doc written note stateing. "Patient may only work x number of hours perday"? I would give it to them ,then show up at the appropriate hour. I know this because I have done it.

Well I thought that was the LAW, so I acted in accordance with my understanding. I told them to change my hours- I didn't ask. But I'm a manager at MCDonald's, so there's a big differance - maybe?

I wish you luck!

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Oh, I am so sorry Deucykub. Some people like to hurt others. B)

I hope you can find the help you need. Do not let it down and fight for your rights.

You have got some excellent suggestions here.

I am not having one of my best days too, but my prayers and thoughts are with you,

Take care

Love,

Tessa

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Dear Deucykub,

I'm sorry you are being treated so terribly.

I wish I had more advice for you, but the best I can say is keep fighting. Get your doctor on your side. And if you have to bring in a lawyer. You do have rights. It is wrong for the employer to treat you this way, especially since there are allowances made even for the healthy employees.

Keep your chin up and keep fighting. Let us know how everything goes.

Rachel

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Guest tearose

Hey you are allowed to have bad days!!! But you should always keep emergency ice cream in the freezer!!!

You have been recognized for your good work and need to remember that this struggle is not about you but about others figuring out what they must do. Keep being kind and persistent. You are not asking for anything unreasonable and you have documentation from your physicians.

Rest tonight, eat lots of ice cream tomorrow, do some laundry on Sunday and get ready to plead your case on Monday!

we are standing (and sitting) beside you!

best regards, tearose

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Thanks to everyone for your replies. I am feeling a lot better today. Tearose, I took your advice and had my husband run out and get my favorite sundae (chocolate ice cream with mini peanut butter cups, topped with hot fudge and gooey peanut butter, reese's pieces, crumbled peanut butter cups, and homemade whipped cream - truly sinful!). Now that I've filled my caloric intake for all of next week, ha ha, I'm ready to face the world again!

Special thanks to Dizzy Dame for sending me the name of an attorney in CT. That was really above and beyond, and it meant a lot to me. :o

I'm not sure whether to go the attorney route, yet. Our agency has a union, and I have called them in to help. This is very weird for me because I am a professional employee and have never been "represented" before. They keep wanting to wait and see what happens before taking action, though, and time is running short for me in regard to financial solvency. I'm really not sure what direction to take this.

Unfortunately, I don't think this is an issue where they are trying to figure out what to do. Since I notified them that I was aware of the reasonable accommodation process (my original request was just looking for some help, and while it complied with the RA process, I didn't know it was a protected employee right at the time), their actions have been retaliatory and time-lengthening in nature. On emails to me, they Cc their in-house attorney. The logical conclusion I have reached is they know my supervisor's initial response already violated ADA law, so they are trying to bully me out of the agency to avoid repercussions. The union agrees with me and said it is not uncommon in this agency.

My biggest concern right now is our financial situation. I've never been in a place where I didn't know how to pay the next bill, and I just don't know where to start. For example, what bill do I pay last; how do I keep a roof over our head; if I can't pay the rent, what are my rights; do I fold and apply for disability to get some kind of income (different process than solely SSDI for federal employees)? This is what I'm really struggling with right now. I'm in good spirits, but I know I need to be prepared for these kind of decisions in the very, very near future.

Any experiences you've had with this or even success stories about reaching this point and making it through would be most appreciated!

Thank you again to all of you for your replies. They were such blessings to me!

Deucykub

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