ADA Accommodations In The Workplace Can Happen

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by steach, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. steach

    steach Member

    Hi Everyone-

    I have some really good, actually GREAT news to share with all of you! I finally got an ADA accommodation at work! If any of you need an accommodation to continue working, IT CAN HAPPEN!

    I have Fibro and CFIDS. Many of you know that I am a teacher and work in a prison. I was off on a medical disability leave for 17 months and just returned to work one year ago. Prior to leaving on disability and now, I have utilized FMLA time. The Family and Medical Leave Act (which is FEDERAL)allows us to take UNpaid leave from work
    -ouch- that really hurts the finances, especially if you use alot of time.

    Since my return to work, I have been fighting what my body is doing/telling me; I haven't been working with it, but, against it. Mornings are just horrible for me- I have such a difficult time trying to wake-up at 5:30 A.M. after not being able to fall asleep until 2, 3, or 4 A.M.- and that's after taking sleep meds! I am also so sore/stiff that I can't function until I've been up for at least a couple of hours.

    Anyway, after the past few months of missing more work than attending, and knowing that the FMLA would depleate to zero hours, I decided to apply for an ADA accommodation. To say the least, it has been a very difficult situation with my employer- but it happened!

    I got the ADA paperwork from my employer (either personnel department or human resources department) and had my doctor complete it. I submitted the application in July and had to jump through many hurdles to finally get it approved- last week- three months later.

    I submitted the paperwork to my employer with the request to work afternoon shifts- it was denied. After finding out that it had been denied, I contacted the Chief Bureau of EEO and the OH Civil Rights Commission (each state has their own civil rights commission). I gathered as much information/evidence and documented EVERYTHING to prove that I was being discriminated against because of having a disability. (For example: there were other people in the prison who were using flextime, compressed work weeks, working alternate schedules, etc.) I also worked with my union representative and the president of my union and we filed grievances against the institution for discrimination. We also contacted the department's attorneys via mail or email to submit all of my documentation.

    At the beginning of this week, I found out that my accommodation request was approved!!!! Starting October 3, my schedule will be changed to work afternoon shifts!!!

    This means that I will be able to work WITH my body instead of AGAINST it- which is the most difficult part of having FM/CFIDS.

    For those of you who are struggling to maintain your job, FMLA and ADA accommodations ARE an option.

    For those of us who have this disability, we need to stand-up for our rights and not allow employers to harass or intimidate us. We are entitled to and should expect to be treated equally.

    If any of you are in this position right now and need some help keeping your job, please feel free to reply to this post and I will help you in any way that I possibly can.

    I consider this accommodation a success for all of us. Employers will eventually get the message if we all collectively raise our voices to be heard.

    Sincerely,
    Steach

  2. steach

    steach Member

  3. steach

    steach Member

  4. steach

    steach Member

  5. steach

    steach Member

  6. matthewson

    matthewson New Member

    Congratulations! Glad to hear that they are accomodating you! Mornings are a hard time for us FMers. Glad to know that there are employers who get the message and will follow the ADA requirements.

    Take care, Sally
  7. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    stech;

    Good for you. Jus be careful in what you do because it may end up in a review of your case. Tread carefully.
    Hugs,
    NryoFan
  8. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    What I'm trying to do right now is to take my "sick" time over this next week in the afternoon from 1 to 5:30 P. My best time to work is in the AM. By 2 PM, I feel an overwhelming "sick" fatigue, and begin to ache all over really badly. This is to the point of total collapse nearly. I believe that perhaps going to 1/2 days may a real help and may get me somewhat revitalized.

    I have used much of my sick time and really am not sure what I will do when it's gone. My supervisor and I have had a really good relationship; however, she is retiring this next March, and I'm not sure what will happen at that point. Working part time isn't an option, as I need to work full-time for at least another 18 months to meet certain goals that my husband and I have set.

    Hopefully, I'll be able to make it through the 18 months. It seems that the FMS / CFS has just really exacerbated as time has passed. Thanks again for sharing about the ADA and how you have been able to benefit.

    Warm wishes, Jeannette
  9. JLH

    JLH New Member

    GREAT!!!!

    I am so happy for you that you won your fight for ADA accomdations and got to work the afternoon shift!

    Such a LITTLE price for a prison to pay for you in order for you to work better!! That accomodation did not hurt them a bit.

    I like to here such victories!!!!

    Mornings are sooooooo bad for me, too!
    Janet
  10. steach

    steach Member

    I know exactly how it feels to be so completely exhausted at work to the point that you feel as you are going to drop at any given moment.

    With my situation, if I went to work in the morning, by 1 or 2, I was completely ready to fall over. I couldn't finish out the day and had to leave- using either sick time (when I still had it) or FMLA time.

    Then, I got to the point where I literally could not wake-up in the mornings; my husband tried everything to wake me and it was a battle zone. So, I started taking time off in the mornings and going in later and found that I could finish out the day.

    In your situation, I would suggest that you find out if you are eligible for FMLA time. There are certain requirements - for example, I believe the company must employee 50 or more; in the past year, you must have worked "x" number of hours. You could research FMLA by typing it in the search bar. If you want to give me more details (how many are employed at your company, when you started, how many hours you work per week/month, etc.), I could find out if you would be eligible.

    FMLA is FEDERAL- this means that all employers MUST abide by this law. If you are close to exhausting all leave that you have- sick, vacation, personal, comp,- then you may want to apply for this. You get the application from your personnel/human resource office and have your doctor fill-out his/her section stating that you have a chronic illness and why you may need medical leave time. If you do this, MAKE SURE that your doc states that you need INTERMITTANT time- this means that you will be eligible to take leave ANY time that you are not feeling well.

    Here are some examples of intermittant time: to call off in the morning and go in later in the day; to go in to work in the morning and leave early; to go to dr. apts.; to call-off for the entire day if you are not feeling well.

    Just an FYI- you can have more than one FMLA at work. For example, I have one for myself AND I have one for my grandmother who lives with me- she has alzhiemers. If I need to stay home to care for her or take her to dr. apts., I am covered at work and not fearful of running-out of sick time, vacation time, or losing my job.

    Since you are close to running-out of sick time, FMLA will allow you to keep your job without being fired. FMLA provides up to 480 hours or 12 weeks of UNpaid leave time.

    To maintain the FMLA, your employer may require you to "re-apply" or "up-date" the FMLA application every 3-6 months. However, with a chronic illness, it may not need to be up-dated for a 12 month period.

    I certainlly hope this info has helped some. If I can be of any assistance to you in applying for FMLA, PLEASE let me know. I understand- I have been where you are.

    We are all in this ugly illness together- we need to stay together and work together. I'm here for you if you need me.

    Hugs,
    Steach
  11. steach

    steach Member

  12. EllenComstock

    EllenComstock New Member

    I am glad your struggle is finally over, Steach. I hope this afternoon shift will be easier for you. I, too, asked for an accommodation at work, but I didn't have as much of a struggle as you did. I asked for a computer table, wrist rests, a new mouse and chair. It is much more comfortable for me now to work on the computer.

    You are right-we need to speak up when we need something. The law is on our side.

    Ellen