ADA and Fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Newswoman, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    This question could be a bit complex because of the legal implications.

    Has anyone here had to site ADA as a reason why their employer should accommodate them? I've tried to use this, but my supervisor doesn't feel she needs to abide by it. First and foremost, is fibromyalgia covered under ADA? Since some people have been able to get disability because of their fibro, wouldn't it be covered under ADA?

    When I refer to accommodations, I am not talking about handicapped parking, wheelchair ramps, and wheelchair access to bathrooms because these things are a given. I am talking about things like telecommuting because of the fatigue and using ergonomically designed chairs to alleviate pain and discomfort.

    If your employer refused to accommodate you, what did you do? If your employer did accommodate you, how did you get them to do so?
  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Is considered a disability by SS under Listing 1.02.

    Some employers do not qualify to be required to follow the ADA if memory serves. I believe that small employers are exempt, but you would have to check on that.

    Love, Mikie
  3. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    All employers who have 15 employees or more fall under ADA guidelines.
  4. Stormy214

    Stormy214 New Member

    Under the (new) IDEA you can request a 504 plan for modifications and/or accomodations...whether you're talking reduced schedule, work load, physical modifications, whatever. All you need is the proper medical documentation from your md's proving that you qualify as POHI (Physically or otherwise health impaired). If they refuse, you can sue their a*sses.
    Peace and Love,
  5. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Just to clarify, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are two different pieces of legislation. ADA deals broadly with discrimination (in places of "public accommodation," in government services, in trasportation, in employment). The IDEA is specifically about education. It seemed as if one person who responded on this thread was talking about the kinds of accommodations that must be made for students with disabilities under the IDEA. That might be useful information to use, but it wouldn't necessarily be relevant to a request for a job accommodation under the ADA.

    Others already have suggested some good places to get more information on the ADA, including the Job Accommodation Network. The Links page at my personal web site, LRM's Place, may contain some other useful resources. Since we're not supposed to list URLs here, just do a Google search using the name "Laura Remson Mitchell" (without the quote marks). A lot of the subsidiary pages of my web site may pop up in the search results as well, but I think my home page is the first hit with Google. (If you have any problems, you can e-mail me at

    One thing everyone with fibromyalgia should be aware of is that recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court have seriously weakened the protections under the ADA--and more cases are coming up that could undercut those protections further. In some cases (as in California), you could be better off to use state law rather than the ADA to press for accommodations if your employer is unwilling to work with you.

    --Laura R.M.

    P.S. I currently am on SSDI (due to multiple sclerosis, which I have had for many years--not due to the fibro, which was diagnosed in the last few months). However, for a while I was actively trying to find part-time work that I could do on a telecommuting basis. I remember one particularly aggravating conversation with a man at JAN who didn't seem to understand that needing accommodations regarding hours and job location didn't necessarily mean you didn't have the training or skill to do the "essential functions of the job." That phrase is really important. If you can't do the "essential functions of the job," the employer doesn't have to hire you or keep you on. To make things even more difficult, nothing in the ADA requires the employer to change the basic nature of the job to accommodate an employee's disability. Especially in light of recent Supreme Court decisions, many ADA protections are becoming more and more of a Catch-22.[This Message was Edited on 12/17/2002]
  6. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    Thanks for all the responses. I've always known about EEO and ADA accommodations since my mother worked as a EEO counselor for many years. In my case, there's never been any question about me performing the "essenital" or "basic" function of my job. My supervisor, and her boss went back on a written agreement that said I could work from home two days out of the week. They shortened it to one day a week (something is better than nothing), and are using so-called performance issues...which is illegal. This is a medical issue, and even though I told my supervisor this was illegal...she decided to do it anyway.
  7. RobinN

    RobinN New Member

    Like you, my employer and I had a written agreement with regards to my being able to work at home.

    I didn't attempt to exercise this option until after I had been ill for four months(I didn't know I had fibromyalgia). When I got to the place where I could no longer go to work because of severe diarrhea I asked that I be allowed temporarily to work at home, according to our agreement. They opted to pay me to stay home and do nothing for 2 months and then fired me without warning.

    I live in Massachusetts and took my case to MCAD (Mass Commission Against Discrimination). They agreed that I had a basis for my discrimination suit.

    I settled my case with my employer during mediation (without hiring an attorney).

    Have you thought about talking now to an attorney, though? If you do decide to take action against your employer, an attorney who specializes in such cases can help you lay the groundwork for whatever ensues.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2002]