ADA and requesting special accmomodation at work??

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Dara, Oct 30, 2002.

  1. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Have any of you had to request special accomodations in order to keep working? If so, did you find your employer trying to help in any way they could, or were they not willing to help?? Reason I'm asking is first of all I've been off work for a year now, I need to make a decision in the next week or so if I am going back to my job or terminating my employment. I was told by a friend who is head of HR where she works that if my doctor writes a letter stating that because of the Fibromyalgia I am unable to work more than 8 hours a day and that I am unable to start work at 7am, but would do better starting at 8:00am, then she said they would have to prove that by my not starting at 7:00am it would be causing a hardship with their business. Whenever I have been on vacation or anything they have never had the other Secretary change her hours and come in at 7am but when I asked if I could change my hours my supervisor told me no. Yet, when she is off on vacation he expects me to work 7:00am to 5:00pm, covering her hours in addition to mine. Before I started in this position nobody ever came into the office before 8:00am or later so I almost feel as if his reasoning for telling me I could not change the hours was simply because he knew that was what I wanted. I'm curious as to how anyone else has handled all this. I know that if I go back and have to be there at 7am, I'll probably not last even a month...

    Dara
  2. Dara

    Dara New Member

    Have any of you had to request special accomodations in order to keep working? If so, did you find your employer trying to help in any way they could, or were they not willing to help?? Reason I'm asking is first of all I've been off work for a year now, I need to make a decision in the next week or so if I am going back to my job or terminating my employment. I was told by a friend who is head of HR where she works that if my doctor writes a letter stating that because of the Fibromyalgia I am unable to work more than 8 hours a day and that I am unable to start work at 7am, but would do better starting at 8:00am, then she said they would have to prove that by my not starting at 7:00am it would be causing a hardship with their business. Whenever I have been on vacation or anything they have never had the other Secretary change her hours and come in at 7am but when I asked if I could change my hours my supervisor told me no. Yet, when she is off on vacation he expects me to work 7:00am to 5:00pm, covering her hours in addition to mine. Before I started in this position nobody ever came into the office before 8:00am or later so I almost feel as if his reasoning for telling me I could not change the hours was simply because he knew that was what I wanted. I'm curious as to how anyone else has handled all this. I know that if I go back and have to be there at 7am, I'll probably not last even a month...

    Dara
  3. nancyneptune

    nancyneptune New Member

    Dara, I've been through this whole thing. I had my doctor write my employer a letter stating that I would need an accomodation. What I wanted was a stool to sit on. A $7 dollar stool, so I could sit down on my breaks. My job entailed a lot of physical activity and we couldn't sit and do our job. I worked on a printing press. Anyway, long story short, my boss refused the accomodation and forced me to quit. I am now suing the pants off em.
    If you get a doc to say that you can only work 8 hours, thats good enough. The LAW states anything over 8 hours is voluntary overtime. They cannot MAKE you work it. So it isn't even an accomodation, it's just you not volunteering.
    As for the hour coming in late, it sounds like a reasonable demand to me, and it would to the ADA as well. The law says as part of their criterial explanation that reducing ones working hours is a REASONABLE accomodation. If they aren't totally insane like my employers were, they will allow you the hour. Tell them you know the ADA laws, and it's your right. Also go look it up for yourself, it's easy to find.Print it out and hand it to them. Show them where it says reducing working hours. It'll work Hugs, N
  4. Dara

    Dara New Member

    hope you have a good lawyer and go for everything you can. How ridiculous, a $7.00 item and they wouldn't do it. I'm pretty sure they will try and accomodate me since it is a school district I work for. They waste their money on everything else, so why not?? Let me know how you do on your lawsuit.

    Dara
  5. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Sounds like you've already gotten some pretty good advice, but I'd like to add two points.

    1. If at all possible, get a written job description for your position. One "out" that employers can use is that they aren't required to hire or retain an employee who can't perform the "essential functions of the job" even with an accommodation. If the written job description indicates that you must be prepared to work any hours at the boss's request, you *may* be out of luck (though that's still not definite, as there could be other ways of arguing that this isn't properly an "essential function of the job.") But if you are able to perform the job functions described in a written description of your position, even if you need some accommodations (e.g., the start time and no required overtime), then I think you're in pretty good shape.

    2. If you work for a public school district, you should be aware that the U.S. Supreme Court has been whittling away at many of the protections in the ADA and has held, for example, that states *cannot* be sued for monetary damages in federal court for violating Title II of the ADA (the section requiring state and local government to follow Title II non-discrimination law). You still could sue to force the school district to comply with the law and let you keep your job--with accommodations--but without the threat of monetary damages, the pressure to comply with the law won't be as great. Also, you should check to see if your state provides better protection than the federal ADA. In California, we recently enacted legislation that put into state law the protections the Supreme Court had taken away at the federal level. So if you live in California, you're better off suing in *state* court than in federal court, if it comes to that. I know you're trying to get back to work, not file a lawsuit, but knowing your legal rights can help you in negotiating with the school district.

    Good luck.

    --Laura R.M.

  6. Stephs811

    Stephs811 New Member

    Dara,
    Here's the number for the patient advocate foundation they are very helpful.1-800-532- 5274 info need for them to maybe even contact them on your behalf.
  7. Dara

    Dara New Member

    for the information. I am going to print off the ADA regulations and go from there. If I really thought I could just go back to work and be able to keep up with the pace I would do it, I'm not very good at being assertive with my needs. But, I just can't see that happening just yet. I have found out that I can extend my leave of absence for up to another six months, but I will not be guaranteed that I will be able to have my old job back. Not sure which way to go, I just know that if I were to go back without the extra six months extension, I would be going back in about three weeks and the winter mornings are what almost drives me insane with the pain and fatigue.

    Dara