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Complicated: health impacted by shift work Florida

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  • Complicated: health impacted by shift work Florida

    I'll try to be as concise as possible...

    I am an Admissions Rep for a University. I followed a former boss from the university where I was working in July of 2009, so I have been with my current company for about 8 months. He was recently laid off. There have been about 15 people laid off since I've been there (only 22 or so remain...not counting faculty). I did not realize the extent of the financial dire straights they were in or I would not have accepted the position. I share all this in hopes of conveying the full picture of what the current climate is.

    To the point...
    When I was hired by my boss (who is no longer there), I was told I could work a 7:00-3:30 schedule M-F and work a Saturday every 7 weeks. I took this offer due to medical issues, though I vaguely disclosed them at the time. I am 35, had a heart catheterization last year, due to long-term results of a battle with an eating disorder. Now, under new management, they are telling me that i have to work a schedule that varies:

    T: 11-8
    W: 10-7
    Th: 11-8
    F: 8:30-5:30
    and every other Saturday for four hours (with four hours off on the Monday following my scheduled Saturday)

    I should have known from the beginning when there was no HR Department, no information regarding employee benefits, no employee handbook, etc. that I had entered the Twilight Zone. I do not have this in writing from my former boss.

    Now, eight months later, our vacation was taken the second week of December, our promised raise did not occur, and everyone is walking around shell-shocked in pure fear of losing their jobs.

    All of that I can deal with... the problem is my schedule. This isn't an attempt at garnering sympathy, nor is it me playing the trump card. I KNOW myself. I know that in order to live a healthy lifestyle and manage my eating disorder, I need as close to normal a schedule as possible. Having had a heart attack, I cannot risk getting ill again because my sense of structure has gone out the window.

    My question:
    What rights do I have if any? The writing is on the wall for everyone there... I imagine I could lose my job any day. Should I get a letter from my cardiologist stating that erratic working hours would not be advised? If they let me go for being unable to work what they are asking of me, would I be denied unemployment benefits? Should I wait it out until I eventually do get the axe because the place is a sinking ship and work what they are stating that I must...even with the knowledge that it will jeopardize my health?

    My biggest concern is the schedule impacting my health... and if facing unemployment (God forbid!) I need to at least qualify for unemployment benefits.

    I could really use some help on how to play this. Yes, I will be looking for new work, but until I find some, I must make this work for me as best I can.

    Any advice you could offer would be so very very appreciated.

    Many thanks,

  • #2
    I am only offering an educated guess here. I hope others will chime in on this one.

    It is my understanding that there should be some accomodations by the employer providing it does not cause an undue burden to them.

    Tough one. Personal experience, a large internet provider who was formerly located in Tucson, AZ had an employee who suffered from severe allergies and chemical sensitivities. Therefore because it was not a financial burden to them they provided the employee a "clean cubicle" basically a cubicle with a plastic protective shielding. This employee was the only person allowed in or out of the area to accomodate the disability.

    I am certain that others will be able to give much more clear advice in this matter.
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.


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