Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Florida : Questions about Narcolepsy, the ADAAA and what employer did not do

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    13

    Question Florida : Questions about Narcolepsy, the ADAAA and what employer did not do

    Its been a while since I have been here, but I have been recently given a firm diagnosis on whats been going on, I have severe narcolepsy. My narcolepsy consists of excessive daytime sleepiness and REM attacks (REM is when I fall into quick sleep states and lose control of muscles; ie cognitive dysfunction, speech slurring etc, different than cataplexy b/c I am not falling down rather my eyes are shut and the whole body wants to sleep) Narcolepsy in itself is a neurological auto-immune disease that results in the immune system depleting cells that control the sleep/wake cycles, short term memory and the bodys fat buring abilities. It is the same part of the brain that other diseaes like Parkinsons and MS targets.

    My narcolepsy will be a lifelong situation as there is no cure or permanent fix, only hope is that most Narcoleptics by age 60 show a reduction in daytime sleep attacks. With narcolepsy comes other dreaded side effects such as depression/anxiety when the sleep wake cycle causes sleep deprivation. Up until now I have had FMLA which protected me, unfortuantely my sleep attacks were becoming so severe I have exhausted my FMLA. However, in 2011 one of my drs submitted a note requesting ADAAA accomodations for some of the side effects of narcolepsy. I was told not to worry about it, it would be handled, HR has a copy of it on file. Well, sure enough I am told it was never submitted to corporate for approval last year and they need an updated one. Now I am out of FMLA protection (some time may roll off, but in the meanwhile it affects my dependability) and the form was never submitted to corporate. That's just the tip of the ice berg. My HR has other notices that they have on file with clarifications stating I am protected under the ADAAA from several different doctors and none of them were ever submitted to Corporate. I am constantly told, either they will do it, and then other times the notes are not good enough, and the drs rewrite them and then they are never submitted anyway. I have contacted several times to corporate directly only to be referred back to local HR. I am furious and feeling that this is creating a hostile work enviornment for me, because other than the accomodations being requested I am very successful at my job.

    In the meantime my dr is going to submit another note under the ADAAA asking for slight schedule modification, later start time (not too much diff than my normal schedule), asking for consideration to combine breaks and lunches to also be allocated as a short scheduled nap time, and the ability to allow an additional hour a day to nap (outside of breaks and lunches incase i need to eat a lunch) and asking my employer to consider allowing me to stay an hour later to make up the time as a schedule adjustment. On top of all this, my employer told me that I had FMLA time that I could use, when I didnt which is why I am out and its going against my dependability, they are going through the books now saying they made a "mistake" and are adjusting my times. They also cannot tell me when these adjustments are from. They'll say things like, last pay period, and when I ask for proof of dates they say we've called corporate and waiting for a response, then 6 months goes by and they completely forget to keep me updated and say oh we never heard back from corporate.

    Our building has recliners/chairs/sofas so there is the availability to lay down during the day. Its just simply walking away from the desk and being allocated the schedule adjustment to do it. My employer said that as long as the dr sends in the note under ADAAA they can backdate the time to withdraw the dependability marks up to the most recent FMLA paperwork for the condition. Of course, I am worried since I have been lied to before that this wont happen as promised so I have been fighting hard to stay at my desk until the paperwork is in and approved by Corporate. I feel asleep several times during the day into what is called automatic behavior with some REM eye shutting. The worst part is my health is at risk because if I have a sleep attack that I cannot control and my head hits the desk or I fall backwards out of my chair I could risk injury on the job. I do have enough notice from my body to be able to get to the areas when I feel the sleep attacks coming because I get a warning sign of muscle looseness. Does anyone have recommendations?

    So my employer is aware from all my medical documentation : ADAAA notes were sent in 09, 11, and now 2012 as well as concurrent FMLA documentation. Some drs had to send in the same paperwork 3-4 times because it wasnt good enough for my employer.

    Narcolepsy w/ vision loss and a neuro eye disease
    Sleep Apnea
    Anxiety
    Depression
    Severe IBS

    With the combination of my medications and the accomodations I will be very successful at my job.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    I read through the post. This is not a hostile work environment. HWE has a very specific definition under the law. It seems from your post that the problem is a paperwork issue and lack of follow up by HR.

    You are under the mistaken impression that if a doctor declares you to be under ADAAA that your accomodations must be granted. That is not the way it works. The company must work with you to try and find accomodations which work best for you and the company. It doesn't have to be what you requested. For instance, you find it reasonable to be allowed to sleep on the company's sofa or recliner. The company may not see that as reasonable. Depending on the placement of the furniture, the company may want it used by others or feel that it is in to open a spot thus putting you on display when you sleep.

    Your schedule change request may be reasonable in one company but not another depending on the work environment.

    Can you arrange a meeting with someone at local HR to address your concerns and get a clear roadmap of what needs to happen to move your request along?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    5,730

    Default

    my dr is going to submit another note under the ADAAA asking for slight schedule modification, later start time (not too much diff than my normal schedule), asking for consideration to combine breaks and lunches to also be allocated as a short scheduled nap time, and the ability to allow an additional hour a day to nap (outside of breaks and lunches incase i need to eat a lunch) and asking my employer to consider allowing me to stay an hour later to make up the time as a schedule adjustment.

    What constitutes a reasonable accommodation is always job and situation specific. For example, if you work on a production assembly line, it would be easy to envision this would not constitute anything approaching reasonble. Or if you work in customer service answering busy phones all day, then the accommodations requested would not be do-able either. On the other hand, if you are an "individual contributor" working solo on projects without urgent deadlines, then these accommodations may be feasible.

    The way this works is that your employer is required to enter into an inter-active process with you to work together to explore potential accommodations and then your employer determines what's feasible, if anything. They do not have to just accept the accommodations you/your doctor are requesting.

    If your employer fails to enter into an inter-active process with you, then you should file a complaint with the federal EEOC and/or see an employment law attorney.

  4. #4
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    13,960

    Default

    I'm not sure what role "corporate" plays in any of this but it seems that either your local office handles accommodations or the corporate office does. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor and someone from HR who can authorize accommodations to review what you actually need.

    Typically the employer needs to know that condition, how it affects you, how frequently it affects you, and what might mitigate the effects and why. A general note that says you need a modified schedule isn't going to cut it.

    It is going to be a rare workplace that can accommodate 2 hour long breaks/ naps in addition to a modified schedule. I've had narcaleptic employees before and had very different results depending upon the job. I imagine your employer is going to need to know how frequently these attacks occur and whether or not you have any warning. If you just suddenly fall asleep on a daily basis, that is going to be very hard to accommodate and daily naps may not be the answer.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Thanks for the responses, I understand work is not obligated to meet the exact accommodations but rather enter into discussions to see what is possible and what isnt. I have been told local level HR takes in the requests, dr notes and such and then hands them to corporate for a review and corporate responds what their approved accommodations would be in response to my condition and my original requests. The issue i have had at the local level is that hr local didn't hand in my last request to corp, told me don't worry about it, it sat in their file for a year and now I'm out of fmla, their response, oh we didn't need it reviewed because you had fmla.. The problem is, if it would have been reviewed by corporate some type of compromise might have been done to meet some of the request which would have prevented how bad my situation is now.

    I do work on the phones, and there are about 300 staff members local who do the same exact job, plus my employer has 9 other call centers nationally that have same hours, across the board there are at least over 1k employees who do the same, and my employer has the ability to put others on the phone during peak times which they do now. In the past the EEOC was involved and agreed its not an undue hardship to pull me off the phones for an hour or so if necessary because of rolling calls over plus the several hundred staffed locally. Also my employer makes schedule adjustments for those attending college with 2 to 3 hrs off the phone and they can make it up in the same pay period or request permanent schedule adjustment. So in the past the EEOC concluded if they have the availability to do it to non disabled persons no matter the reason the availability to do it for people with medical needs is there and wouldn't be an undue hardship.

    In the past they did allow me to combine breaks and lunches and then I was told without a reason it couldn't be done anymore, but now they said they'd do it again under the ADAAA with a dr note. Florida being a very friendly at will work state I just feel exhausted because the last 4 to 5 years I been in discussion for accommodation and none officially done or even reviewed at the corp level, which is what's supposed to happen the very first time. I think my employer is hoping I give up requesting accommodations from exhaustion or go on long term disability unpaid for several months until the time frame is met for approval, but I'm completely capable of working and hold some of the highest stats in my department. My biggest req is scheduled naps and later start time.

    The rest area they have, has closed doors so no one would see me resting, and is majority of the time 75% free, 1 out of the 4 chairs are used at a time. I am not expecting the employer to meet 100% of my request but the request that do not cause hardship would be reasonable.

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    13,960

    Default

    Allowing you to take the time you need under FMLA IS an accommodation. If that met your needs, then they did what they needed to do. Why would they send it to the corporate office? Now that some time has passed and there may have been changes in your condition (or an official diagnosis) and the previous accommodation is no longer available, they need updated info from you and your doctor to start looking at what else might be possible.

    12 weeks is a lot of leave especially when taken intermittently and in most cases totally adequate to meet the needs of an employee who needs a slightly altered schedule. Whether modifying yours the way you want is reasonable or not is up to your employer. Working around 9 weeks of a college course is very different than "permanently" altering someone's schedule in a somewhat unpredictable way.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Thanks for the response, yes the fmla is intermittent and on a rolling one year period, so for example I'll have time rolling off next pay period. My diagnosis of narcolepsy is permanent and is auto immune neuro disease so I wish I could say there's a cure but there isnt. If I understand correctly at least from my own research as long as FMLA is filled out correctly, which my dr has done plenty of times, it's required under federal law, where as ADAAA accommodations is a process of negotiations with the employer to see what a reasonable accommodation is. As for the 9 week college course adjustment, no, the adjustments can be done permanently for them if they choose so, or keep on taking more credits. I understand your point of view on it, and if for example was for a 9 week period is one thing, but it goes further than that. My employer will make those exceptions for any employee nationally with a college adjustment request. Which is why the EEOC felt a schedule accommodation would not cause an undue hardship.

  8. #8
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    13,960

    Default

    And it might be that your employer can adjust your schedule going forward. I'm just pointing out that it isn't a given that the schedule you are proposing is automatically reasonable because they adjust other employee's schedules who need different amounts of time off for other reasons. Hopefully it works in your favor but you are comparing apples to oranges so be careful. Any time you do take off need not be paid so keep that in mind as well.

    Yes, FMLA is guaranteed under federal law if you qualify but time off can be a reasonable accommodation. Just because that time also qualifies as FMLA does not mean it suddenly doesn't qualify for ADA purposes as well. Time off met your needs. They granted it. They don't have to offer you something else just because the time was under FMLA.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,637

    Default

    You have mentioned the EEOC several times. Did you file a complaint with them that was settled? If so did the settlement detail what must be done? If not what are you quoting for the EEOC?

Similar Threads

  1. ADAAA Maryland California Hawaii
    By Sabrina Michelle Garner in forum HR Forum for Employers, Managers, & Human Resources
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-06-2011, 09:46 AM
  2. Nicotine Addiction - ADAAA eligible Indiana
    By Dandi54 in forum Discrimination Laws
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-16-2010, 08:56 AM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-03-2009, 07:00 PM
  4. Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-15-2007, 09:14 AM
  5. Florida-Employer Responsibility/Liability RE employee health issue Florida
    By kathiea0257 in forum HR Forum for Employers, Managers, & Human Resources
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-25-2006, 12:58 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

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