Has anybody else been fired due to FM/CFS?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by steach, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. steach

    steach Member

    Hi Friends-

    Right now, I am soooo humiliated and feel pretty worthless. I have NEVER been terminated/fired or asked to resign from a job.

    I took a summer job teaching in a girls' residential facility- 40 hours per week. I really thought I could work a full week for a few months. I was wrong.

    Prior to taking this position for the summer, I was substitute teaching a few days a week and that was a "full plate" for me. I decided to take the summer job to have a summer income.

    A few weeks ago, I had a flare-up with the discs in my back and my doctor wanted me off work for a few days. When I returned, I was still taking the prescribed pain medication and was not feeling totally alert. I spoke with my supervisor and told her that I didn't feel that I could work the rest of the day and do my job properly- she "wrote-me-up" for being honest and up-front with her. I had called-off a couple other times due to flare-ups.

    I have been feeling soooo horrible and sleeping all the time (when I could) before being fired.

    Because of starting in June, I was not eligible for FMLA. It was such a struggle every morning to get up and get ready; a struggle just to make it through each day.

    Before FM/CFS, I was dependable and extremely professional. This makes me so angry with myself.

    Anybody else ever been through this? How do you recover your self-esteem?

    Any ideas, suggestions, comments?

    How do I explain this situation to school districts where I am applying to substitute?

  2. kitteejo

    kitteejo Member


    Please don't blame yourself. At the very least you were out there tring to make a living, give yourself some credit.

    Employers have a business to run and they can't run it if the employee is not there or doing their job properly.

    If you had been a long time employee you may have had more sympathy.

    I worked with my CFID and FM for four years in a highly stressful job. Before I was ill I worked between 50 and 60 hours per week. After I became sick it slowly went down to 40 or less. I was salaried so that was a problem. My boss was very understanding as I was giving it my all but when he left the company the new boss eliminated my job and I was laid off. I did last 9 months with him. Haven't work since.

    Take a break with some time off and than try another job. I would suggest part-time if you can find one.

    Good luck,

  3. kitteejo

    kitteejo Member

    Oh I forgot to mention that I am still very angry and hurt. So your not alone there.

  4. dinda

    dinda New Member

    Hi Steach

    I sub at my daughter's school. I haven't told them anything about my fibro. If I'm having a bad day I just tell them I have something else today or offer to sub for a half a day. I can usually get through a half day on a bad day for me if I sub in the afternoon. If I work one day a month or twenty days a month they don't say anything.

    Try not to let that person get you down. She/he obviously don't know what we go through. Just remember what goes around comes around. Have a great day.

    I'm not sure where that little smiley guy came from on my post. It's still early for me. lol[This Message was Edited on 07/16/2008]
  5. brainfoggy

    brainfoggy New Member

    I was a workaholic too, watched other people cut corners while I always went above and beyond... the company I worked for was nasty and when I got ill they immediately fired me. It was a relief, but yes I felt defeated and like a failure.

    What you WANT to do and what you CAN do are different after illness. A 40 hr work week sounds impossible for you right now, but I admire your determination. No one really gets it besides the people who suffer from the same things. It is frustrating that people have no ability to understand but I always tell myself I wouldn't get it either if I were a normal again...

    All you can do is keep trying. Maybe you need more time for recovery or try something else that requires less hours. Getting better is your first priority. I wouldn't mention any health problems to potential employers.
  6. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Hi there!
    Don't be so hard on yourself. You know that if you were physically able, you would have done the outstanding job that you are accustomed to doing. You don't have control over how your body responds!

    It's normal to be angry over your limitations. We're all experiencing that. BUT remember, it has nothing to do with your self-worth!

    Since it was a short-term position, you do not even have to mention it to your next employer.

    I wouldn't be angry at this employer - as mentioned, they do have a business to run. I'm sure that they do or would like to be sympathetic - but don't always have the 'time' to develop relationships with their employees etc.

    Pick yourself up and dust off your pants. You tried something - GOOD FOR YOU! That should boost your self-esteem! You're obviously not a person who says 'I can't', but one who says 'I CAN'. Be proud of who you are.

    I've been in a position recently (not fired) but not 'at the top' where I am used to being. Yes it stinks, BUT I know who I am inside.
    Move past this... You know who you are inside as well. =)

  7. labrat

    labrat New Member

    Hi Steach
    I also was terminated from my job due to CFS. I worked for the Federal Government and they called it "removed from my position due to the medical inability to perform..." Basically I was fired while I was on FMLA because I was sick. I did get disability from them since I had worked there for several years. Just so you know that you're not the only one this has happened to. I was very depressed about it at first, but so exhausted that I didn't see how I could work anyway.

    You have to realize that the reason you can't work is your medical condition and not an unwillingness to work. Easier said than done. Please try not to be so hard on yourself.

    It sounds like you were able to work part time subing. That might be the best route to continue. At least your health won't suffer so much.

    Years after my job removal, I tried to work full time and lasted for awhile, but in the end I had to resign due to CFS. I'm not proud of that either, but I had to take care of myself so I didn't get sicker. Now I can work part time.

    The most important thing is to take care of your health and not worry about others who don't understand that you are ill. Take care and REST.

  8. Hootie1

    Hootie1 New Member

    Sorry to hijack this post but I've been wandering was was up with you.

    I am also on Fed'l Disability and have applied and was denied for SSDI on 2/11/08. Hired an atty and am awaiting a hearing, but am hoping for an on the record instead (lol).

    I erased all of my earlier long posts about the FERS disability. At the time it made sense, but now I wished I wouldn't have.

    I am so nervous that I won't get SSDI... do you think the Fed'l approval helped for you? Did you get turned down the first time.

    I live in PA so there is no recon stage.. just denied straight to the ALJ.

    I'd love to hear from you.
  9. labrat

    labrat New Member

    Hi Hootie
    Yes, I remember your posts about FERS and disability. I received my Fed disability(from OPM) right after I was terminated, most likely because the govt dr who reviewed my case said my condition was chronic and severe. But I don't think this helped my SSDI case other than I could say I lost my job due to my health. I also provided SSD with the info from my employer about my firing. In my case, the Fed disability was much easier and faster to get than SSDI, but I know yours wasn't fast at all.

    I did have to go to a ALJ hearing to get my SSDI approved and had a lawyer. All the backpay I got went back to repay the Fed disability.

    The good thing about the Fed disability is that the review form is short. I got it last yr (after being on disability for 3yrs). They only ask about work, earnings, and a want letter from your doctor stating your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and if you could do your previous work.

    Good luck with the SSDI process.

  10. mariellenl

    mariellenl New Member

    Was your employer aware of your disability when you were hired? If they were then terminating you is illegal under ADA. They were legally bound to make reasonable accomodations, which includes shorter days or days off when needed.
  11. steach

    steach Member

    I didn't have anything in writing about the FM/CFS to submit to the employer. I was waiting to get in with my PCP for a required physical.

    There was one question on the application about a disability, "Can you perform the job duties with or without accommodations?" and I checked "yes".

    I know that most places have a waiting period to be eligible for FMLA and I was just there a little over a month.

    I called my immediate supervisor on Tuesday to ask if my hours could be reduced to part-time: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday- instead of five days per week. She said that she would be having a meeting with the director and would call me; I didn't hear from her. I called her yesterday morning since I didn't hear back from her on Tuesday and she said, "With your health conditions, you can just stay at home and rest."

    I know it is discriminatory but it wasn't like I had 15 or 20 years with this employer. It was a summer teaching job and I'm not going to push the issue- I don't have the energy.

    When I was teaching in a state penal institution for over 8 years, they refused to make accommodations after I was diagnosed. I did fight that and accommodations were made, however, I paid for the "fight with city hall" and they made my job miserable.

    Substituting will be my best route to go and I am also in the process of getting my own tutoring business started from home. I have already attended zoning board meetings and obtained my business license. If all works out, maybe I can just work from home.

    I just wish that I could be a "normal" person.

    Thanks for the info.

  12. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Just speaking in general - not about Steach's particular situation.
    Employers are being discriminatory if not hiring because of a disability. Once hired they have to make reasonable accomodations - but that does not include giving more time off than another employee or what their policies are.
    The accomodations are meant to help people perform their job.

    They are not doing anything illegal by terminating someone for absenteeism without documentation (doctor's notes etc.)

    Some employers are much more tolerant - not as strict about time off, some are much more understanding and empathetic. A lot depends on the job the person does, if someone else has to fill in, take over the work not being done etc. Also the relationship between employee and employer definitely plays a part.

    We're in a catch 22. I would hate for us with Fibro to not want to be employable because employers automatically think we're going to miss work.

    I am only writing this so that people don't think they are being wronged - unnecessarily.
    NOW - sometimes, many times they are - and in those cases, stand up for what's right, for what you're entitled to!!