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Problems With Long Time Job


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#1 koko42604

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:02 PM

I was diagnosed two years ago. I was getting in trouble for sleeping at work but i couldn't figure out why. I had to get documentation to protect my job. A few months ago, i couldn't afford my appointment for my meds (nuvigil) to be refilled. So, not smart on my part, but i went without. I've had quite a few attacks at work that have been seen. One if my coworkers actually took a picture of me on a break napping that went viral. I was reprimanded because us not an acceptable break and next time I'd be fired. The animosity of things coworkers say behind my back is just insane. the last attack was seen by my supervisor, who made me go on an involuntary medical leave because i am a liability. He thought the narcolepsy was a temporary thing when he was informed the last time. I have even been denied a raise because of my sleep attacks. I was told it isn't fair to my coworkers if i can sleep and they can't. :( Now i have my nuvigil back, i got it about 4 days ago. but they want to push me on an fmla. Any advice on how i can convince them to let me back to work? I've been there for seven years and i don't think this is fair. Sorry for the lengthy post.

#2 Arrow2

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

Koko -

 

The only thing I can say for sure is that I know EXACTLY where you are at. I don't think your situation is fair either. I am sure this situation will sound familiar to others here is well. My compassion and empathy won't help fix your problems, but maybe it will help a little to know you have them.

 

You will probably get a lot of advice on what to do. My advice is to call a lawyer. Not one of those you see on TV for disability with "no payment unless we win", but a regular lawyer. At this point, you are looking for information (I think), not actually filing a case. Two weeks ago, I did a google search for "employment law lawyer" and the name of a fairly large city near me. I found a site that looked "normal." They had a form you could fill out online to briefly describe your issue. It said a lawyer would call you the next day. Well, the next day I got a call from an actual lawyer specializing in disability accomodations in the workplace. In 15 minutes, she helped me sort through what were legal issues and what were not. It helped me greatly. It was free -- it is essentially marketing for them. The lawyer was glad to help me and there was absolutely no pressure to form any kind of ongoing legal relationship.

 

15 minutes with a lawyer won't solve anything, but it may help clear your mind a bit and help you decide what your options are and what actions you might consider taking.

 

Good luck.



#3 koko42604

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

It really helps to know there ARE people out there that know what this is like. Thank you for being proof of that. As you, and everyone else on this board know, is hard to get people to understand. I actually never even thought about a lawyer, that's a great idea. My Dr isn't being very cooperative giving me what my job is demanding, so im going to definitely try that. :)

#4 ZombiePrincess

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:52 PM

Hi koko. I'm sorry to hear you've had such a terrible experience; I'm afraid Arrow2 is right that this kind of thing is not uncommon for ppl with N. I know your story sounds a lot like mine a couple years back. Not that things are all better now but they are better. My boss pushed me for years to file for FMLA. Her assistant had filed FMLA after being diagnosed with some major Celiac issues and it allowed her to take intermittent leave as needed when flare ups occurred. I was resistant to filing FMLA because I knew I would have to go thru the whole getting-diagnosed-with-N process and I wasn't exactly excited about that. My mom was diagnosed when I was young so I had already had a couple doctors tell me they thought I may also have it and wanted me to get tested but that would mean I had to admit it to myself. Well, it got so bad that I almost lost my job so I finally agreed to get tested and sure enough, I have N :( ! Actually it was a good thing that I officially had paperwork and a doctor willing to help me file for FMLA because it has basically saved my job. We filed for the intermittent leave option so now when I don't hear my 8 alarm clocks, I can call in and say "I'm going to be in late due to FMLA issues" or if I feel a sleep attack coming on in the middle of the day I can tell my boss "I'm going need some time away due to FMLA issues"! My boss doesn't exactly like that I can pretty much take FMLA time whenever I need it but she at least recognizes that I have a legit medical issue and that I'm protected by FMLA either way. Ironically I work in Mississippi which is a state that can fire you without an official reason so I know that FMLA paperwork or not, my job isn't truly safe, but I feel more secure knowing that there is a paperwork trail documenting my medical issues. I also hope having the paper trail will help my claim if I do ever need to file for disability. 

 

Hope this helps! Let me know if you want to see copies of my FMLA docs as an example to file for the intermittent leave option for yourself! 



#5 koko42604

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 01:41 AM

Zombieprincess, thank you for the input :) it is sad to see that it is a common thing. I'm realizing it more and more being a part of these boards. Its comforting though knowing that I'm really not facing it alone. I was pushed to fill out the fmla paperwork. Well.. It was filled out for me and they demanded i get it to the Dr do he could full out a health certificate. I'm not sure if it is for intermittent or not. I should really look into that. do you know how i can find that out? I just came back to work actually yesterday. Along with a lecture about my "incidents" and if it happens again something needs to be done. Being a factory worker, it's definitely not accepted. Even though all i do is trim excess material off of parts and ship them. My state is the same way. We sign or lives away when we start a job so employers can fire people with little or no reason. Honestly, it's getting old. The harassment, the people that wait to see it so they can run to the supervisor. I'm sure everyone on this board can relate to that. Having a reputation as a really lazy person doesn't help on the professional front. Although the only ones that really know i have N are the people that need to do i can protect my own butt. Now i do work graveyard shift. Which definitely kicks my butt even harder. My Dr isn't happy with it, but he understand my situation. Having three kids kind of puts a damper on getting a better shift at this point for a number of reasons. I felt better than i had in years while i was home. Nowhere near perfect, but that's ok with me. The working life doesn't really allow time for a ridiculous amount of sleep.

#6 DeathRabbit

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:53 AM

You might just try surreptitiously dropping in words like "lawyer", "discrimination", and "lawsuit" into these convos. Some people, when they think their ass is about to be in a sling, will suddenly start to become much more accomodating. It's not uncommon for managers to be fired for bringing the company legal trouble, regardless of how the suit turns out. So they can turn a little green at the mere mention.



#7 DeathRabbit

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

I don't like encouraging people to be dicks, but I think it's often times the only option, since most business tend to treat their employees (or customers for that matter) like long-time enemies with which they have an uneasy armistice agreement. Of course, I think the lazy American attitude towards labor is also partway to blame for the status quo, but it's only being perpetuated by business because who wants to bust their butt for a manager who'll let them go at a moments notice, then go home and get the best sleep of their life.



#8 Arrow2

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:39 PM

The motivation to fill out the FMLA forms is to make sure you try to get your job protected under the "Family and Medical Leave Act." Essentially, FMLA protection make it less appealing (or at least more complex) for your employer to fire you to do N and related symptoms.

 

Like zombieprincess I was reluctant to get FMLA forms filled out. I'm not sure why but I think it was because it would "formalize" that I had a health issue that I was unable to just deal with on my own. In the end, I did it because I figured out that everyone knew anyhow and filling out the forms helped protect my job.

 

I was told by one member of my health care team that one of the main drivers behind the initial passage of FMLA was to accommodate people undergoing chemotherapy and make sure their job was protected. Someone undergoing successful chemo would likely need a big chunk of time off initially, followed by intermittent time off during recovery. FMLA is used for tons of different things now, but the chemo example helped me understand the two different types of leave under FMLA. 1) an extended leave (up to a certain annual limit) to deal with an issue that requires a bigger chunk of time and 2) intermittent leave to deal with continued recovery, dr appointments, etc. 

 

In the case of N, the idea of filling out the forms is to tie the needed leave to the medical condition (which is where the Dr's medical certification comes in). I don't think the forms mean anything if a health care professional does not provide the certification... Once the forms are complete, in theory the employee is protected from being fired solely due to missing work due to the condition and according to the general schedule outlined in the forms. I think you can still be fired if you are simply unable to perform your job, even with FMLA and other accommodations.

 

Personally, I really like the way ZP refers to "FMLA issues" when communicating that she needs to miss work due to N-related stuff. Easier (and for me, less embarrassing) to say than "tired, or foggy or..." and it also reminds your employer that you have some protection (kind of what DeathRabbit was getting at).  

 

If your forms are already filled out, you should just be able to look at them to see if they are for extended or intermittent leave (or maybe both).

 

Hope this helps -- it helped me to write this stuff down. Caveat: This is just my understanding. I just started learning about all this a couple of months ago so I could have a bunch of stuff wrong....



#9 ZombiePrincess

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:10 PM

Attached File  fmla.2010-2011.pdf   620.21KB   4 downloads

 

Attached File  fmla.2011-2012.pdf   2.01MB   4 downloads

 

Attached File  fmla.2012-2013.pdf   2.08MB   6 downloads

 

Hey all. I've had a couple folks message me about using my FMLA paperwork as an example to file for intermittent leave so I've uploaded them above.

 

The most important part of filing for intermittent leave seems to be filling out the "Part B: Amount of Leave Needed" section. I have always thought that number 7 which asks "Will the condition cause episodic flare-ups periodically preventing the employee from performing his/her job functions? Yes or No?" would be the appropriate part to complete but every time my doctors helped me file, they instead completed number 6.

 

I've personally filed for FMLA three times (initially with my primary care doctor and subsequently with my sleep doctor) and each time my doctors agreed to file seeking intermittent leave but for whatever reason, they chose to fill out number 6 instead of 7. Number 6 says "Will the employee need to attend follow-up treatment appointments or work part-time or on a reduced schedule because of the employee's medical condition? Yes or No?" My doctors selected yes. Number 6 also asks "Estimate treatment schedule, if any, including the dates of my scheduled appointments and the time required for each appointment, including any recovery period" in which my primary care doctor filled in "3-4 times yearly office visits with MD; sleep study evaluation". I was initially concerned that this would limit exactly how intermittently I could use FMLA leave but when I handed the docs into my Human Resources dept, no one questioned it. Actually it has worked out much smoother than I expected and HR seems to have just filed the docs as if they didn't have any other choice but to submit to the medical expert who confirmed I do have a legit medical issue that they are not allowed to specifically reprimand me for.  


Some helpful links I found:

According to this link (http://www.fmla101.c...fmla-leave.html) employers are supposed to acquire a medical certificate (which I believe is the FMLA form I’ve attached) and sometimes even ask for a second opinion. This link directly from the US Dept of Labor (http://www.dol.gov/w...ployeeguide.htm) provides all kinds of info and answers for FAQs.



#10 koko42604

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:16 PM

Thank you guys for the help with fmla. Very much appreciated :) i think i may be in a spot where i have no choice but to do what deathrabbit was saying. Need to figure out how, because to be honest i am definitely not assertive in any way shape or form. Had my opportunity today. All i could do was give a glare because i was so amazed at what i was hearing. The shop manager told me he had people keeping an eye on me "for my safety" these people came up with some bat *BEEP* storythat I'm away from my desk at least 15 minutes every hour. He asked around the shop too. there was a mix up in my quota for a day last week and now I'm being accused of fishing numbers. he thinks i look exhausted and like i could fall asleep any second. According to him this scares the hell out of him because i work with scissors and me driving home. Very seriously considered walking out and not looking back. Then responsibility kicked in. :-\ wish there were classes to learn to be an asshole O:-)

#11 DeathRabbit

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:41 PM

Well, sounds like it's time to knock some heads. The key to being a dick is to convince yourself you don't give a *BEEP*. Doesn't mean it has to be true, you just gotta get fake yourself out long enough to get your boot up their ass (figuratively speaking of course, actual violence would be a dumb idea). Plus it's sounding like its quickly becoming a situation where you may not have anything to lose anyway. Just gotta put slap down a pair of Jacks and try to convince em the other three cards are Aces.



#12 koko42604

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:41 AM

Yeah, i think it its getting to that point. Thank you deathrabbit for your support. Honestly i didn't even know where to start. hope can work myself up to saying something before its too late. For a while i was afraid of things getting awkward. Ha, already there so that fear is void now. Although a literal boot in the ass is still a good thought :D hopefully i have luck and can bluff my way into being treated normally again. well, at least them seeing past the N and seeing me as just a worker again. Fingers crossed

#13 koko42604

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:44 AM

Well, off to hr today. Tried having a sit down with my shop manager. Figured out a child care situation so i could go back on second shift. Explained how third shift was affecting me physically and requested the switch. Well, that was a pipe dream. So much for being up front like i was asked. Apparently he can't "reward" me for bad behavior. Being late three times since I've been back because i can't wake up. Doing nothing got an hour and smoking a cigarette right after i get there (I'm not allied to clock in for am hour because of how early my bus comes) and random rumors that don't even make sense. Even tried saying it would be a problem with only two people on third shift. Yet there's only been a third person on the shift for about six months. There was about a year and a half that there were only two of us. And this "reward" involves a pay decrease that i would so be willing to do considering the circumstance. If my "behaviors" continue i was told that maybe its time to move on. So time to put my game face on. Things are going to get ugly. :/

#14 showitme2

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 02:29 PM

Yeah Bro I feel for you.. I was employed at my job for 8yrs.. Suddenly dianosed with narcolepsy, employer placed me on short term disability , then my fmla ran out , now on long term disability.. My advice would be to contact a lawyer. If you make your employer aware of your disability you can request for job accommodation. Maybe allow for short naps. You would think that being employed for the same employer for multiple years that they would attempt to accommodate a tenured employee. But it;s the total opposite the employer is going to look out for their best interest, saying you may be a safety hazard to yourself and others.  I feel that since it's still little known in mainstream society about narcolepsy employers tend to get away with blatant discrimination..  Denied for SS# Disability, don't qualify for assistance from unemployement services because "of my disability in which you have to be physically able to work..

Get ready your employer's gonna ask you to take a form to your doctor to see if you can do your essenstial duties..

That's them preparing thier case that you are unable to perform the essenstial duties of your job and place you on disablility or just get rid of you..

We need our own political party... I'm very upset, due to my disability I lost my job, and can't get any assistance from any gov't angency... My employer wants me to officially resign which will take away all health benefits.... COBRA ... here I come

 

Talk to an lawyer..