Don't Know What to Do

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Newswoman, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    I'm dealing with yet another situation at work. Please be patient. This is a long post.

    For my time off, I decided to visit my family in North Florida. I couldn't find a decently priced plane ticket, so I opted to drive nearly nine hours. I felt fine, I just had to rest the entire day after the drive. Unfortunatly, I attempted to drive back to Southwest Florida on Sunday, but I was able. During my visit, the sleep disorder resurfaced and I became extremely fatigued. I was supposed to report back to work on Monday, but couldn't. I foresaw this problem and spent two days looking for a plane ticket. That stressed me out so much that I just opted to drive back home instead of dealing with the stress of finding a ticket, dealing with crowds at the airport, renting a car to get around when I did get home, etc.

    My supervisor never gave me a phone number where she could be reached if there was an emergency. I searched for hours on the internet to find her number, but I guess it's unlisted. I even tried to look for the phone number of a mutal friend so I could call the friend to get her phone number. That failed as well. So, finally, I e-mailed her (and her boss), and explained the sitution. Since I had access to the internet, and a lot of my job requires me to do research on the internet...I said I could telecommute and e-mail her my work. To ensure she received the e-mail, I called the office before my shift was to start. She refused to allow me to telecommute, and put me on sick leave. Furthermore, she stated that we would, "discuss my assignments when I got in on Thursday."

    I'm pretty astute, and I have a bad feeling about this. As a matter of fact, I've begun looking for other jobs. What really irritates me about this is that I liked the job. I didn't have the stress that came from working in television news, but this still allowed me to stay in the field of communications. My job isn't stressful, but SHE is making it stressful for me because of her unreasonableness. I've only been on this job for four months, but I considering resigning because of her. I hate this because I'm a fighter by nature who doesn't like to be bullied. I'm one of those people that if you push me, I'll push you back harder. I don't believe in breaking and running from anyone.

    I'm not taking advantage or trying to get out of working here. My supervisor demanded that I report for work even though I was coming into work with less than two hours sleep (I've done this for nearly two months). My fibro has NEVER affected my ability to get into work. Most days I was EARLY for work, beating her into the office. I am also the top producer in the office, doing more work than her. There were even days when HER boss told me that I could go home because I looked sick. I didn't. I stayed so that we could make deadlines. In fact, I've NEVER called out sick. If I was sent home, it was because my supervisor or her boss asked me to go home. I'm a good worker... in spite of the the illness.

    Now here's the rub of the situation. I was first given permission by my supervisor's boss to work from home two days out of the week. Somehow, my supervisor (who agreed to this first arrangement), got involved and changed the plan. She told me that I couldn't work from home two days out of the week, but I could work at home for one day because of "performance issues" (which is crap, by the way). This is illegal (according to ADA). My so-called "performance issues" were because I came from a different work culture than her (she worked in newspaper, I worked in radio and television). Had she asked questions, she would've found that out. Other issues were directly related to the fibro, which she knew about BEFORE I even went to interview for the job.

    Now that I'm through venting, I want to know what you guys think. Some of you have been in similar situations, and I would appreciate any insight you can offer (as much as you can considering). I don't want to leave my job, but I can't handle working for someone who is making my life a living hell.

  2. healing

    healing New Member

    Newswoman, interesting that we are in the very same field! And that we have been in the same situation. Here's what I have learned after three (count 'em) difficult female bosses: If your boss wants you to leave (and it appears she does), then go. When you are sick, fighting and stress only will make you worse -- much worse. The important thing is your health and the peace of your soul. There are many other jobs out there, perhaps not all in your field, but I've always believed that God writes straight with crooked lines (the meaning holds whether you are religious or spiritual or not)...Hold on to what is truly important. You can be *right* -- and flat on your back in bed.

    I would, once a new job is in hand, tell the higher level supervisor, who may surprise you (but don't count on it) by offering a better situation elsewhere in the organization. But you aren't going to change your direct supervisor's mind because you are going to continue to take time off for health reasons and she simply isn't supportive.

    I think a lot of dealing with FMS/CFS is being realistic about the limitations we live with and along with that is being realistic about the situations we live with. This is one of them.

    My best to you. It isn't easy, but it gets better once you distance yourself, and you can walk away knowing you did a good job and it's their loss.
  3. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    My husband has worked for long periods at every place he has worked
    for the last 35+ years. He always says if you do exactly what they ask
    for at "least" the first six months,
    you can pretty well write your own
    ticket after that. By then they know
    you, know they can depend on you and
    you have at least some sway. It's worked for him I know. Four months
    seems short, especially with issues
    already. :)
  4. Nancy

    Nancy New Member

    As a former supervisor (now on disability due to FM/CFS) I know it can be difficult for both the employee as well as the supervisor. Often "Management" puts the pressure on the supervisor to keep production going...no excuses. Also, they may not be sympathetic to anyone with illness....it's awful but true. However, the ADA act will protect you since you have a sleep disorder. since the ADA covers any illness/disability that affects a "life function", which includes sleep, you would be protected from harassment or dismissal. You would need to have a letter from your doctor stating that you have a sleeping disorder and are seeking protection/assistance from the ADA act. They would have to accomdate your handicap by allowing you to adjust your hours, etc...whatever would help you keep your job while trying to manage with your sleeping disorder. I know my husband had to do this...his doctor also added to the letter that the added "stress" from his supervisor was actually aggravating the sleep disorder! Wow...they stopped dead in their tracks. The Americans with Disabilities Act is something the employers do not want to mess with....rightly so! So, this is something for you to follow up on...trust me...it works! The reason the law was passed was just for this type of situation...your fatigue from lack of sleep (life fucntion) keeps you from working a regular schedule without adjusting it. Hope this helps! Nancy
  5. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    ...but just barely though. Thanks for all your replies. DebraBee...I'm still around. I just haven't really felt like typing anything lately. I had a migraine that last for three days, in addition to the sleep disorder...NOT FUN!!!!

    Anywho, I've decided to answer my supervisor's less than nice e-mail. I've done a lot of research on ADA and EEO law (my mother is a former EEOC counselor) in order to provide proof in my response. I found some interesting facts, including that basing my reasonable accommodation on job performance was definitely illegal. I wrote a preliminary reply to her e-mail that needs to be toned down a bit since I was quite pissed off when I wrote it. In my response to her e-mail, I also included several defintions (i.e., "reasonable accommodation," "undue hardship," "disability," etc.) so there's no doubt (unless you're a complete tool) that what I'm saying is legal and valid. I'm having several people look over it (including my mother, and a friend who's a supervisor and deals with ADA issues on a regular basis). An interesting point was brought out to me, my supevisor and her boss are apparently ignorant,and don't know that ADA covers "hidden disabilities." So when I requested to telecommute two days out of the week, they didn't feel they had to comply because my disability isn't "apparent." My cousin, who is one of the people I'm having look at the e-mail, told me that I should've informed them that fibromyalgia is covered under ADA. Personally, I think that's crap. I told my supervisor, BEFORE she wrote the infamous e-mail, that my illness was recognized as a disability. If she chose to ignore me, then that's her problem. If they wanted to know what illnesses are covered under ADA, they could've reasearched information just like I did...but it's an interesting point nonetheless. My purpose for the e-mail is to show that had I not been nice about this, I could've sued...but obviously I can antagonize them.

    When I finally get a new computer (my old one died on me), the reasonable accommodation issue will come up again. Since I don't have a computer, I can't telecommute (yes, I could demand that they pay for one, but I need a personal computer anyway). I have also decided to ask my rheumy to write me a letter to provide medical proof of my illness. If they refuse my request after all this, then it may be time for me to see a lawyer.

    By the way, nothing was said about me taking off work last week...although my bosses are tip-toeing around me. I think my e-mail to them asking for a "reasonable accommodation" freaked them out. We'll see what happens after I send my next e-mail. I'll keep everyone posted.
  6. Vicque

    Vicque New Member

    Hi.....My name is Vicque. I read your article with much interest. If you have not seen my post asking for your voice to be heard in a book I am writing on FM/CFS/GAD/MFS, I would urge you to do so. I have been an LPN for 12 years, and was a CNA for 5 years prior to nursing school. I am 38 years old. In 1994 I was the victim of a head on roll over car crash. I had a closed head injury, among multiple other problems. DX with FM in 1995 along with other things, I have to let you know that being in the work force with these chronic illnesses is beyond describing. I do not want to sound like I was "Super Nurse", by any means, but my nursing career was my life. I had even started the process of going on to RN school, which I could not complete due to this DD. I know first hand the discimination that can come on in the work force once they find out you have one of these diseases. Being a nurse, and I guess most places you would attempt to apply for a job, ask not only for a drug screen, a section asking you what "disabilities would prevent you from preforming your job",. Numerous times I lied afraid to write down my FM. And several times did not return back to an interview knowing that I took pain meds and would have to explain my drug screen. No one wants a nurse on duty taking pain meds, and understandable to a degree, except you are unable to make them understand that taking your pain meds is the only way you can function at a level to be able to work. My meds did NOT cloud my judgement,(tolerance built up in the system makes them out to be the same as taking your daily vitamin). This last job I had that ended in Sept, after working for a nursing home that did allow me to work with the FM and my meds. It was an exception or they were really desperate for nurses. I did have a understanding DON who I was able to be completely straight with. However, the tables did turn. I lasted on the job for 6 months. They were so short of nurses that I would end up working 16 hours a day, and even worked 21 hours one time, which on the way home from that 21 hour day ran off the road on my way home from exhaustion and no sleep. This will be addressed in my book, of the medical field not regarding one's abilities and judgement after a 12 hour shift, just to keep a nurse in the building due to underpay. No regard to your physical wellbeing. I see that this is surely what has happend to you. And yes they do eventually find ways to get rid of you when they want, especially when they know your medical condition. Rare to find someone who will employ you on lighter loads, and less hours to allow you to maintain a quality of health that will keep you in the work force. I have not worked since, and feel as I am a failure to my family, my income did COUNT tremendously! We have had to sell our home, and will be moving in the next few days. I feel responsible for that as well. I only want you to know that I would love a response to my posting on the book, when you feel up to it. It is your voice and mine that has to heard. I am not a quitter, and will write every health magazine in the country, oranizations, state reps, talk shows, and will keep bugging them until we are heard! My thoughts are with you, and I pray that with your education and strong abilities in the work force that you will NOT hang your head down in defeat but look for ways as I am for public awareness. You have that ability even more so than others. My e-mail is countrygirl2364@yahoo.com if you ever want to write and keep up with your difficult road your on. I have found that TRUE friends are few and far between when they find out what ails us. And as you have read on the message board, we can look so normal to others that they doubt our situation, and nothing we can say or do at times can validate what we go through 24/7. I would love your input...Peace and Best of Luck.....Vicque
  7. LauraLea

    LauraLea New Member

    Unfortunally employers DONT have to be understanding. I made the mistake of telling my old boss about my illness and he used it against me every change he had.

    I just feel that no job is worth fighting for anymore, life is too short and too painful to be stressed out about a job. I learned the hard way after fighting and fighting and then getting fired.

    It's NOT worth it. I'm a fighter by nature too, and that's part of the problem for me. I use to put too much effort into everything, and what for, just to get fired?. Not anymore, don't get me wrong I like what I'm doing now but it's not my life....

    It's up to you, but I think you should save the fight for more important issues like your health care.

    Take care
    Laura
  8. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    I understand what you're saying, but dignity is just as much a part of my health as anything else.

    In life, you have to know when to back down and when to fight. In this instace, I NEED to fight because this involves my self-esteem and my dignity (not to mention my money and my health insurance). Nothing depresses me more than when someone decides to go on a power trip on me, and I sit there and play dead -- not defending myself. These people think they have the power to choose what my health options are...and they have the audacity to do this when they haven't even educated themselves as to what the illness is. Not to mention that they don't know what the law states, even though they're in management positions. It's like my mother always said, "You never allow anyone to take your dignity from you." I don't ever allow anyone to have control over my body...or any other aspect of my life for that matter. I already have to kow-tow to this illness. I'm not going to do so to for an ignoramous.

    I let a lot of things slide in this situation because I wasn't healthy enough to handle them. If I went with my original instinct, I would gone post haste to an attorney a long time ago. This would have caused more stress, made an awkward working environment more awkward if not hostile, and thus made me sicker. I am attempting to handle this sitation as diplomatically as I can, but there isn't anything anywhere that says I have to let myself be a doormat just because I'm sick.



  9. Newswoman

    Newswoman New Member

    I forgot to tell you that I feel for your daughter. Everyone I've ever talked to in the business hated working for B_LO. They said that its managers are some of the worst in the broadcasting industry.