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Employer doubts my ability to work due to fibromyalgia and medications? I'm flummoxed!

May 03, 2016 5:00 PM

I understand the concern about safety and well-being in my capacity as a teaching assistant. I'm planning to provide a list of prescription and non-prescription medications I'm taking.

A remark was made about my "judgement" regarding "marijuana" because I recently tried a CBD patch (overnight, not at work). How THAT became a concern for management is beyond my pay grade! They have some people working there who are alcoholic or recreational drug users! Where is any worry about any of THEIR performance or judgement?

I used 1/4 (one fourth) of a patch or approximately 2.5 mg of product overnight to test pain relief on a "normal" pain level day. There was no discernable reduction of pain and no advantage to relaxation or sleep over the 12 hour period, so the rest of the product was discarded. I never even tried marijuana in high school, for crying out loud. This is ridiculous!

I have never abused nor been addicted to any substance. I have never used tobacco products and I rarely consume alcohol (perhaps 5 drinks per year) and have not even been intoxicated since 1972. I am not taking any narcotics of any kind, except for Ambien, prescribed for insomnia and only 3 or so times a MONTH. You know... I'm beyond flummoxed. I think I'm beginning to get angry!

Fibromyalgia has not affected my attendance at work to date and I don't foresee that happening. After the fibromyalgia diagnosis, I explained to my co-workers that I am in daily, constant pain and they have expressed sympathy on days when I let them know I'm having exceptionally bad pain, but none have complained to me about any detrimental effect on my work performance. Also brought into question were my alertness, cognitive ability, strength, and reaction time in caring for children! I believe my capabilities are equal to most average 60 year old women. I don't think it's a great idea for anybody over 50 to be repetitively picking up 25 or 30 pound children.

If I could have, I'd have told them to "stuff-it" and walked out, but I need the income. Now I'm told I have to take a health form to my doctor and have it filled out and signed before I'll be considered for the next semester of work.

I should just tell the doctor to report me as disabled and see if I can get disability rather than wait for the employer to say so -- I don't want to go through all the rigamarole of bothering to keep the job when they have such a condescending view.

Should I just let it go and inform them I won't be coming back next year or stand up and fight to keep this job that I really like? Has anybody else run into this kind of thing?

Sad this evening, GrandmaD

May 03, 2016 6:12 PM

Oh GrandmaD, I am so sorry! I have been going back and forth with my job. I think it depends on what side the sun shines. Sometimes they are supportive then on the other they want to help me apply foe disability when I haven't said I want to apply for disability. They can be pretty mean and treat me like I am disease infested and if I look at them too long I can give them what I have or something worst. I do not want them deciding for me. Because like you I like my job. I do admit it is getting harder. And I have fallen asleep during staff meeting....it is too long and boring. I struggle everyday...and I do not know what to do. I just know I want it to be my decision and I do not want to be pushed out because I know I will regret that for the rest of my days, Maybe someone else can give us better insight. I know I wasn't much help to you. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ†˜๐Ÿ”ฎ

May 03, 2016 7:20 PM

GrandmaD, do you have anyone who you think would like to get you in trouble or gone? Any form of mj is illegal here in GA. Are you in a state where it's legal? Not that it's anyone's business at work, but if it's not illegal and/or your doc was ok with it, and you used it at home, I'd say get a lawyer if they fire you. Or go to the labor board. I'd fight to keep my job if I were in your shoes. I'm 54 and due to many medical conditions since I wasn't out for surgery in 2010 (FMLA leave at that), I'm unable to work. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss it, miss being with people, miss being active, & hate my inabilities. Hugs & prayers you will win on this! ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™๐ŸŒผ

May 03, 2016 11:38 PM

GrandmaD, I agree with flappyslady. I was wondering whether this may be a "fishing expedition" for some unstated reason. Hiring an attorney is the "right" thing to do but that is stressful, time and finance consuming. You'd have to decide whether it's worth that in order to keep this particular job. I'm sorry you're going through this craziness. Gentle hugs and encouragementโ˜บ๐Ÿ‘

May 04, 2016 1:26 AM

I'm very familiar with the rationale they're using and it is necessary for them to act. They're looking at legal liabilities that could bounce back at them so I'm sure it isn't entirely personal. They're looking to ensure there's no glaring liability in keeping you where you are. It would help your case for your Doc to write a letter of fitness to perform the tasks the job entails thus removing their concerns for the children. If the proceed to remove you after that you may have an EEO complaint that you should file if removal efforts take place after medical assurance to the contrary. You may also have an age discrimination complaint as well. Should removal proceedings take place immediate filing of an EEOC complaint may convince them to cease and desist with proceedings. If they persist you may have a hearing of arbitration where you could then dictate your terms to remain employed or receive some type of assistance and/or severance. Hope this helps! Robinsage

May 04, 2016 3:56 AM

Thank you all for your comments. I'm not worried about keeping the job. I don't need the negativity of the management. I will miss the positivity of the children, though. I'll finish out the semester and look for another position.

May 04, 2016 4:10 AM

I think you're using wisdom in that decision. The management will treat this issue like a dog with a bone-likely they will be uncompromising and singular in their approach to a solution and if you have no favor with them, their administrative guns will be against you. So in both the long and short runs, your better getting a letter of reference from and allies you have there and looking for a more supportive environment. Best of success to you! I too, dearly love kids!!
All the Beat,
Robinsage

May 04, 2016 11:14 AM

It is too bad you have to leave your current job, and I am sure the kids will miss you! If you do leave, you should be able to get another job in the same feild, assuming you want to. They can't discriminate against you for a medical condition, age, or otherwise when hiring. Be discrete about who you tell about your diagnosis to, and slow about it. If a new employer/co-workers see your quality of work, and then they realize you have had fibromyalgia the whole time, they may even have more respect for how you do your job. Your current employers are probably scared that it will affect your work. What they probably don't understand, is that it was probably affecting you more when you weren't getting help for it. It is similar to an employer being upset that an employee is seeking help for a mental illness, when that is actually a good thing, and they should be relieved that the person is getting help, not upset about them being medicated. Lol

May 04, 2016 5:10 PM

Oh yeah, I have to have my doctor fill out a statement of health insuring that I can pick up children and move furniture, equipment, that I'm of good mental health, free of disease, serious mental or emotional handicaps and physical defects.

Hello? Who else had to have one of these forms filled out by their doctors???

May 04, 2016 9:31 PM

It's called a functional abilities form at my employer. WSIB requires them when you injure yourself at work, but my company made them for "accidents" outside of work as well to protect themselves if you re-injure yourself.....so then it is a pre-existing condition. The doctor gives an all clear to return then he(or her) is responsible if something happens. It sucks but I understand that they have to protect themselves. In Canada it is a human rights issue if they don't let you go back to your job with reasonable modifications or allowances. If you have a union it would be a good idea to inform them of the probl ms you are encountering. Also get everything in writing so you have a paper trail.

May 04, 2016 10:44 PM

GrandmaD, I'm so very sorry that you are going through this nonsense. If they knew anything at all, CBD is the part of the marijuana that helps with pain and contains no THC so there is no chance of getting high or disoriented when taking it.. Also, it is legal in all 50 states and you can get it mail ordered to your home with no prescription. It is said that it doesn't come up on urinalysis either (although I'm not certain if that's true and that's why I won't try it). If your employer is not asking you for any lists of your medications either OTC or prescription then I wouldn't give it to them voluntarily. There is no need to give them further ammunition to give you a hard time. I hope that this gets better and you don't have to deal with it any more. Be certain to keep a journal of everything that transpires with dates, times and who it involved so that you have a complete documentation of everything in your possession. Sending you my best wishes, reassuring {{{Hugs}}} and prayers that everything works out in your favor. ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐ŸŒป๐Ÿ˜Š

May 05, 2016 8:29 PM

Thank you all for your wonderful insights and well-wishes! :-)

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