Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: How to talk to my boss about my disability rights

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    23

    How to talk to my boss about my disability rights

    I need help! I have multiple sclerosis. I disclosed this info, and much more, when I got hired. I have had a couple flare ups over the last few months that have made me pretty miserable. In the year I have been at my job, I have only missed maybe a handful of days due to my disability. Aside from that I see my neurologist every couple months and my pain specialist every month. This has never been a problem in the past. About 5 months ago, I had a full on exacerbation that caused major brain fog and memory loss. I was having trouble at work because of the confusion and made a couple big mistakes. I openly spoke to my boss about what was going on and he was pretty supportive. With med changes I have been able to recover quite a bit and haven't had any issues since. Or until... I work in an office and in the open space between our offices, they installed cubicles for the reps to work in. My office is the only one that got a cubical right outside my door. Of course this brings noise and congregation. Here's where things are going down hill. I went to my boss and told him I needed to close my door because the noise was becoming a huge distraction for me. I told him that part of MS is difficulty focusing and concentration and that having the door open is becoming a problem. He said he couldn't let me keep my door closed because then everyone would want to close their doors. And that would be unfair. I was so frustrated! I even said the words "reasonable accommodation". He acts like he has no idea that he HAS to make SOME accommodations. I just took it upon myself to rearrange my office so that my back is to the door. It helps. Well other things have come up and now I'm in a position where I need to maybe start working from home every now and again when the flare ups come around. My supervisor says it's no problem at all but the final say is his. She asked him about it and he said no way and barely let her finish the sentence! Now I have to talk to him about all this and I don't know how to go about saying "hey buddy, I have rights!" without saying "hey buddy, I have rights!" and sounding like I'm threatening him. Ugh! I'm sooo frustrated!!! Any advice on how to have "THE TALK" with my boss????

  2. #2
    How large of a company is this? Is there an HR office? Do you have an EEO officer? Are you working with the state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation? There can be sources of support in this struggle.

    You may have to educate your boss about how the ADA protects you in your need for reasonable accomodations. You can get information about this from the Dept. of Labor website. I would also encourage you to contact the ADA compliance person at your local Independent Living Center (ILC). They should be able to help you.

    At some point if you are not getting anywhere, you may need to seek legal counsel. Good luck.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    23
    I think we might just be at that 50 employee cut off. It's a small company that distributes medical supplies for surgeries. So a lot of "employees" are really independent contractors. And we have a HR person. They actually already have been sued once for wrongful termination of a person with a medical condition. I don't know weather or not they won or lost that case.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    2,522
    Blog Entries
    1
    I was so embroiled myself subsequent to my 2009 injury. For free advice, and perhaps ultimately for representation, you might contact the MS society; perhaps they also could offer materials to share about potential effects of MS, their effects on working, and the interplay with the ADA. There may also be a free disability rights organization in your state. I also would check into your state version of the law, which often is (and perhaps only can be) more stringent than the ADA, and may have a different employee count applicability..

    In the absence of any real input from a lawyer among us, I will offer: the noise accommodation seems to me extremely clear-cut. Maybe speaking with the nice boss, acquainting her with the law, and seeking her advice / intervention with the big boss might work. I find one of the most critical points to convey is that the law does not pursue equal but rather effective treatment. If they continue to press the issue about consistent policy, perhaps suggested that it could be their policy that any employee with a disability that results in her being distracted by environmental noise may keep her door closed. If they continue to have an issue with differential treatment, you might suggest more forcefully that the purpose of the law is not to require equivalent treatment but rather to mandate differential treatment when appropriate.

    In regard to working at home, I would suggest lining up your arguments about how your job is perfectly amenable to being performed off site See if anyone can do a Westlaw search to find caselaw in your district. I'll pm you with the cases I've found. If you don't hear from me by Monday, please shoot me a reminder.

    ETA: an air cleaner or white noise machine itself might assist in drowning out the distracting noise.
    Last edited by Random; 11-09-2011 at 11:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    23
    Random- thank you so much for your help and advice. It's so frustrating to even have to convince my boss to treat me fairly. I don't want a gold plated toilet seat, just an equal playing field! I'm going to check into the info you gave. Btw I'm in Arizona.

Similar Threads

  1. Hating the boss is a disability
    By dan_nc in forum Work, School, & Money
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-13-2010, 08:00 PM
  2. Disability rights
    By EitanWaks in forum Work, School, & Money
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-26-2007, 08:06 PM
  3. FUN*RUN for Disability Rights
    By Leo in forum Funding, Legislation, & Advocacy
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-13-2007, 01:26 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-04-2002, 08:04 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •