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  • Strange doctor note California

    Hello,

    I received a note from a doctor for an employee that reads as follows:

    "Mr. XYZ is experiencing neck pain, muscle spasms, back ache, and numbness that radiates to the arms directly. This is aggravated by conditions at work, including air conditioning, freezers, heat sources, and workstations. Please evaluate and treat Mr. XYZ as appropriate."

    Since the note does not state that his condition is CAUSED by conditions at work, but rather AGGRAVATED by it, I don't feel a Work Comp claim would be necessary?

    There are no accommodations that can be given to the person - he is a Sous Chef. He has to work where he works; go to the freezers, be in the air conditioning, next to the stoves and at the work station.

    The note also does not restrict him from working either or to take time off on disability. I have left a message with the doctor's office asking them to clarify their statement but who knows if they give a response.

    What would be the most appropriate response to the employee? He does have a history of being un-happy with work (not just here but at his other job also) and getting stressed, but this is our high season and having him out on any kind of leave would leave us in a huge bind.

    Thank you in advance for any input on this.

  • #2
    Please evaluate and treat Mr. XYZ as appropriate

    (Soak in cooking sherry, and it will tenderize him. )

    In plain English, the note is telling me that the guy is allergic to working. He needs a less stressful job, or something to mellow him out. He is in a fast paced and stressful occupation. He should have known that when he went to school.

    There must be a thousand others in the unemployment lines just begging for a chance at his job. I have a nephew in CA that is finishing up at the CIA, and looking for a job.

    Comment


    • #3
      To me the note does sound like he went to the doctor complaining about something non-specific, and the doctor saw through the BS, and is not giving him any type of leeway. Or even suggesting any treatments for him!

      I will speak with our GM and will suggest to him that we speak with the employee and ask him if a) he is receiving treatments like medication, stretching, physical therapy, chiropractic etc. and b) what is it that he would like us to do to accommodate him.

      But before I speak with the GM, I would like to make sure we're covering our bases and also being fair with the employee.

      Comment


      • #4
        I realize that you are serious about this issue, and should be. I was raised in the food service industry, and it is a fast pace and dynamic environment. One mistake, and someone can get seriously hurt. You need eyes in the back of your head, and wings on your feet.

        It is not a place for someone with a brain cloud. (Joe vs the Volcano)

        It sounds like you have a understanding of the situation, as well as an intelligent and more than fair way of facing it. I would look into calling the employment office, and see who they have ready to work in that field.

        Everyone can be replaced.

        Comment


        • #5
          "Mr. XYZ is experiencing neck pain, muscle spasms, back ache, and numbness that radiates to the arms directly. This is aggravated by conditions at work, including air conditioning, freezers, heat sources, and workstations. Please evaluate and treat Mr. XYZ as appropriate."

          The only appropriate thing you can do is speak with MR. XYZ and tell him that he cannot do his job unless he is able to go into the freezers, be in the air conditioning, be next to the stoves and at a work station - and that the ball is in his court to determine whether he can perform the job he was hired to do or whether he needs to find another line of work where he won't be subject to routine restaurant kitchen conditions.

          Your employee is trying to make his problem your problem. Put the decision on what to do back on him, where it belongs.

          Comment


          • #6
            P.S. I used to be head of HR for a manufacturing company that made motors. This reminds me of the occasional employee who would come in with a doctor's note stating he or she could not work with or around metal, as it caused an allergic reaction. There was NO JOB in the factory anywhere that didn't involve being near or around metals - heck, even a lot of "office jobs" involved that. The employees in question had to decide whether to go find a job in some other industry. There was nothing we could do to accommodate them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Remember Beth, You are dealing with California. In many cases there, the employees problem just became your problem unless you make sure that all the details are covered. Strange laws that place has!

              By putting the ball back in the employees court, the OP has given them an ultimatum.

              Perhaps he can become a Sous Chef at a Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Cafe. No pressure there!

              I lived there for 36 years

              Comment


              • #8
                I worked in a frozen food factory. One warehouse employee brought a note stating he could not work in temperatures of less than 68 degrees.
                When told we can not accomodate that he insisted we let him work on the office, even though he had no pc skills, no HS degree or any admin experience.
                He eventually quit to go work in construction where the temperature never drops below 68

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by angel_28 View Post
                  .He eventually quit to go work in construction where the temperature never drops below 68
                  In California, maybe. Where I live, I've seen construction crews out in weather in the 30's as long as it wasn't snowing. My friend in WI says they have two seasons. Winter and construction.
                  I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here in MA we say you can tell when it is spring by the construction crews on the streets.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's warmer today but it was 16 here yesterday when I was out & I saw construction crew working on bridge overpass for trains to go under. I know they are behind schedule - maybe that is why.
                      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First sign of spring in our house is when the equipment truck leaves Fenway Park for Ft. Myers.
                        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by angel_28 View Post
                          I worked in a frozen food factory. One warehouse employee brought a note stating he could not work in temperatures of less than 68 degrees.
                          When told we can not accomodate that he insisted we let him work on the office, even though he had no pc skills, no HS degree or any admin experience.
                          He eventually quit to go work in construction where the temperature never drops below 68
                          I do miss working in a warm rain.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This has now become a worker's comp issue. The doctor's office actually called me back! And gave me information!!! The EE had gone in and told the doctor that he feels everything he is experiencing is because of the work conditions. That's why the doctor's note was so vague. He did order the EE to get an X-Ray. Luckily the medical group the EE went to is one of the preferred providers for our Work Comp. So after we spoke with the EE, it was clear that we had to get this issue out of our hands through the proper channels.

                            But I don't think he will get more than just some treatment because his reasons for the pain are shifty and he keeps changing the stories. In one minute it's because of the return air from the hood (yeah it's cold when it's cold outside but weather is getting warmer again towards the mid 70s), and the draft created by it, the next minute he's too hot because the stoves and double broiler, and then he's again too cold when he has to go into the walk-in. We did explain to him that he is more than welcome to dress appropriately for the work conditions. I.E. Wear heavier socks if your feet tend to be cold. Wear a neck warmer (a lot of chefs and cooks do) to keep your neck warm. Etc. Etc. This is the second time he's tried this. He's worked here for over 10 years, and was the first employee of the owner, so there's a lot of loyalty back and forth, but now even the owner has seen the light.

                            This EE's tenure will come to an end after the busy season is over. Until then, we need him, and need to ensure he feels like we're taking him seriously. Which we are.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GotSmart View Post

                              Perhaps he can become a Sous Chef at a Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Cafe. No pressure there!

                              That's a coincidence, one just opened up right around the corner! Maybe I'll prepare his resume and send it in. Or just go by him some "medicine" and mix it with his brownies... It'll mellow him out.

                              Comment

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