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  • Question - please help. Hawaii

    For about 2 years I have put in over 10 -15 hours a day and weekends with this internet computer related company due to the way projects were managed. Deadlines were made without checking with the production team so most of the time we were rushed into getting things done.

    Now to my question: I was hit with 3 major projects that would usually take 2 weeks for each project to complete total of 6 weeks and was told it all needed to be done in a week. After putting in some major overtime I successfully hit the deadline and my employer was happy. One of my 'other' files that took me 2 weeks to create were damaged due to another employees negligence, thinking my boss would be kind enough to tell me you got another two weeks to re-create it, he said finish it in a day. At this point I noticed my fingers twitching and some numbness in my wrist, but because I didn't want anyone to think I wasn't able to produce I didn't say anything and shook it off.

    A few weeks ago I was hit with another 'rush' project that needed to be done in a day, this time I felt sharp pains in my elbow and noticed whenever I moved my neck up or down a sharp pain would shoot to my shoulder then to my elbow. I tried to shake it off for the week but on the following Monday had to tell my employer about the problem.

    I just recently found out that I may have a hernieted disc in my neck and have 2 degenerating discs in my lower neck which is causing me a lot of pain; just sitting at a computer desk is difficult. (typing this post is killin' me!)

    I have filed a workman's compensation and please don't get me wrong, I love my job and I have no problems with the company I work for however, because this is what I do for a living and now that my career has just taken a turn for the worst, I am seeking more than just workman's comp insurance.

    So my question is, is this a good idea and do I have a good chance at getting some kind of compensation for all the hard work I have done for this company?

    Please someone help me, I depended on my income for the sake of my family's welfare and now everything has be taken away, I need to get some legal advice on what I should do. Thanks.
    Last edited by inked; 09-01-2006, 09:16 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by inked
    For about 2 years I have put in over 10 -15 hours a day and weekends with this internet computer related company due to the way projects were managed. Deadlines were made without checking with the production team so most of the time we were rushed into getting things done.

    Now to my question: I was hit with 3 major projects that would usually take 2 weeks for each project to complete total of 6 weeks and was told it all needed to be done in a week. After putting in some major overtime I successfully hit the deadline and my employer was happy. One of my 'other' files that took me 2 weeks to create were damaged due to another employees negligence, thinking my boss would be kind enough to tell me you got another two weeks to re-create it, he said finish it in a day. At this point I noticed my fingers twitching and some numbness in my wrist, but because I didn't want anyone to think I wasn't able to produce I didn't say anything and shook it off.

    A few weeks ago I was hit with another 'rush' project that needed to be done in a day, this time I felt sharp pains in my elbow and noticed whenever I moved my neck up or down a sharp pain would shoot to my shoulder then to my elbow. I tried to shake it off for the week but on the following Monday had to tell my employer about the problem.

    I just recently found out that I may have a hernieted disc in my neck and have 2 degenerating discs in my lower neck which is causing me a lot of pain; just sitting at a computer desk is difficult. (typing this post is killin' me!)

    I have filed a workman's compensation and please don't get me wrong, I love my job and I have no problems with the company I work for however, because this is what I do for a living and now that my career has just taken a turn for the worst, I am seeking more than just workman's comp insurance.

    So my question is, is this a good idea and do I have a good chance at getting some kind of compensation for all the hard work I have done for this company?

    Please someone help me, I depended on my income for the sake of my family's welfare and now everything has be taken away, I need to get some legal advice on what I should do. Thanks.
    When you deal with workers compensation, you are dealing with them, and not you work (as far as payment goes), this is why employers pay for this, so they can't get sued directly, unless they did something negligent, which it sounds like they did not. Workers comp pays you a percentage of wages lost (70 percent I think), and for gas to get to and from appointments, and for medications, also for medical bills you recieve, as a result of this injury only. If you can not return to your work, they could offer reemployment assistance (they offer an incentive for another company to hire you) or vocational assistance, which includes help with job placement and training. This is only in Oregon, and it may vary from state to state. When you are considered to be medically stationary, if you have permanent disability due to your accepted injury, your insurer may grant an award for you permanent disability. It is not the same as recieving a large award for a car accident. They have set amounts that they will pay you for certain degrees of disability, and for certain body parts. Once again, this is in Oregon, it may be different in your state, but you get the basic idea. Good luck!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, turbowray is partial correct. The problem I'm seeing is that you didn't have an accident at work which caused the herniated disks. Just experiencing symptoms of a medical condition while at work does not entitle you to benefits under WC. You didn't herniate a disk and certainly didn't get degenerative disk disease sitting at a desk and meeting a deadline.

      While you may have been under stress to meet these deadlines, the fact that you did, does not entitle you to anything special now that you are needing to take off work. You don't get bonus points for doing your job. You can't sue them because you had to rush to meet deadlines. Sorry, the law does not recognize a tort for any such thing. The law does grant you the right to leave your employment at any time, absent a contract that stipulates otherwise. This includes the right to seek employment with more realistic expectations and better compensation. You don't get to sue.
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        duh

        Originally posted by ElleMD
        Well, turbowray is partial correct. The problem I'm seeing is that you didn't have an accident at work which caused the herniated disks. Just experiencing symptoms of a medical condition while at work does not entitle you to benefits under WC. You didn't herniate a disk and certainly didn't get degenerative disk disease sitting at a desk and meeting a deadline.

        While you may have been under stress to meet these deadlines, the fact that you did, does not entitle you to anything special now that you are needing to take off work. You don't get bonus points for doing your job. You can't sue them because you had to rush to meet deadlines. Sorry, the law does not recognize a tort for any such thing. The law does grant you the right to leave your employment at any time, absent a contract that stipulates otherwise. This includes the right to seek employment with more realistic expectations and better compensation. You don't get to sue.
        I feel stupid now, I was trying to read the small print, and saw neck problems and sitting at a computer hurting it, thank you for pointing that out. I don't think you can rupture a disk sitting at your computer. (can't believe I missed that). I'm going to bed to get a looong rest lol!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ElleMD
          Well, turbowray is partial correct. The problem I'm seeing is that you didn't have an accident at work which caused the herniated disks. Just experiencing symptoms of a medical condition while at work does not entitle you to benefits under WC. You didn't herniate a disk and certainly didn't get degenerative disk disease sitting at a desk and meeting a deadline.

          While you may have been under stress to meet these deadlines, the fact that you did, does not entitle you to anything special now that you are needing to take off work. You don't get bonus points for doing your job. You can't sue them because you had to rush to meet deadlines. Sorry, the law does not recognize a tort for any such thing. The law does grant you the right to leave your employment at any time, absent a contract that stipulates otherwise. This includes the right to seek employment with more realistic expectations and better compensation. You don't get to sue.
          So how did this happen? 10 years ago I had a neck x-ray due to mild carpal tunnel in my left hand and my x-ray came out perfect - nothing wrong with my neck. Now this problem is with my right hand, the hand I use primarily to do my work.

          Are you saying that 'RSI - Repetitive Stress Injuries' has nothing to do with my neck problem? Also, it wasn't the project manager or supervisor telling me to work harder but the president of the company, was I supposed to tell him no and potentially get fired for that?

          Here's an article I found online:

          "...Degeneration of a disc is simply a breakdown and wearing away of the disc, which serves as a cushion between the vertebrae of the spine. Discs are a gel-like substance, comprised of over 90% water and are norm ally strong and durable, however, when placed under uneven pressure and compression for years they can easily give way.

          So what causes all this uneven pressure? There are several factors such as excessive body weight and years of physical stress... however, the biggest cause is always a combination of muscle imbalances.

          Muscle imbalances create uneven pressure and wear and tear by pulling ligaments, bones, and joints out of place... especially, the pelvis and spine. For example, extended periods of sitting leads to an imbalance between the hip flexors (muscles in the front of the hip/upper thigh) and the glutes... and this imbalance pulls your pelvis and spine out of place. "


          "...repetitive stress injury or repetitive strain injury(RSI), injury caused by repeated movement of a particular part of the body. Often seen in workers whose physical routine is unvaried, RSI has become epidemic since computers have entered the workplace in large numbers. Many RSIs develop when the sheaths that cover muscle tendons swell and press on nerves. Constant typing can cause one form of RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, a sometimes disabling pain and tingling in the thumb and first two fingers. It is caused by swelling and pressure on the median nerve passing through the wrist. Other common problems are rotator cuff injury, from overuse of the shoulder; tennis elbow, inflammation of a tendon in the elbow from overuse of the forearm; and back injuries from repeated heavy lifting. A 1998 report by the National Academy of Sciences in the United States called RSI a serious national problem, with financial costs ranging up to $20 billion annually."


          Thanks for the quick response!
          Last edited by inked; 09-01-2006, 09:26 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            What I'm telling you is that overworking your wrist, assuming that you have, doesn't cause degenerative changes to the neck and back. I'm also telling you that you are really going to have a fight cut out for you to demonstrate that it was the sitting at your job as opposed to off the job that caused the degenerative changes. Hasa doctor causally related it? You are always welcome to file the claim ubder WC, I just wouldn't hold out hope that it will be approved. An x-ray from ten years ago really doesn't make a whole lot of difference. The fact that you had carpel tunnel 10 years ago while not at this job does. While it doesn't defeat a claim for RSI/carpel tunnel in your right hand now, it does suggest that it isn't entirely from work. But that is for WC to sort out.

            In any event, you can not sue over this. It doesn't matter who set the deadlines and how unreasonable they may have been. You still can not sue them and you have no right to additional compensation for your efforts.
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ElleMD
              What I'm telling you is that overworking your wrist, assuming that you have, doesn't cause degenerative changes to the neck and back. I'm also telling you that you are really going to have a fight cut out for you to demonstrate that it was the sitting at your job as opposed to off the job that caused the degenerative changes. Hasa doctor causally related it? You are always welcome to file the claim ubder WC, I just wouldn't hold out hope that it will be approved. An x-ray from ten years ago really doesn't make a whole lot of difference. The fact that you had carpel tunnel 10 years ago while not at this job does. While it doesn't defeat a claim for RSI/carpel tunnel in your right hand now, it does suggest that it isn't entirely from work. But that is for WC to sort out.

              In any event, you can not sue over this. It doesn't matter who set the deadlines and how unreasonable they may have been. You still can not sue them and you have no right to additional compensation for your efforts.
              Thanks ElleMD. One more question:

              What if my doctor made a recomendation on my working conditions, for example, what if he said that due to this injury I will have to spread the work out throughout the day to minimize the constant use of my right arm. Does my employer have to honor that, and can I get fired for my doctor's request?

              Comment


              • #8
                The basic fact is that you WERE compensated for rushing to meet the deadlines. You got a paycheck.
                HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
                How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
                (unique up on him)
                How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
                (same way)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mommyof4
                  The basic fact is that you WERE compensated for rushing to meet the deadlines. You got a paycheck.
                  So what about the off-time requests to work from the president of the company? I never got a paycheck for that, just more work for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    were you exempt or non exempt?
                    HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!
                    How do you catch a very rare rabbit?
                    (unique up on him)
                    How do catch an ordinary rabbit?
                    (same way)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mommyof4
                      were you exempt or non exempt?
                      I believe non-exempt because when I did make a comment if I was going to get paid for all this overtime they said no but we can give you time-off, the president said it's as good as money but I was thinking I can't tell my mortgage company I will be paying you with my time-off.

                      I had no choice but to take the time off, so I was compensated for that, but throughout the 2 + years I've been working for this company this was the 1st time I ever was offered something for my overtime work. If I added all the hours of overtime I put int since employed I'd probably get a year off - LOL
                      Last edited by inked; 09-01-2006, 10:08 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Were you paid by the hour that you worked or did you make the same salary no matter how many hours? Usually time off can not be substituted for OT if you are in fact you are non-exempt. They may give you time off so that you do not reach more than 40 hours in a week so that they do not have to pay OT, but you can not bank the extra hours you work to use at a later date. That is a wage and hour issue though, not a WC one.


                        As for your first question, it isn't that your employer can fire you for making the request, and it isn't that they must comply with the doctor's recommendation. Assuming your employer is large enough to require compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, they may need to look at the possibility of making an accommodation if your condition reaches the level of a disability under the act. A doctors note that just says you need frequent breaks is not enough. Even then, your employer would only be obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation, if there is one, that would allow you to perform the essential duties of your job. Not the one your doctor recommends or that you want. It isn't at all clear that you qualify under ADA but you can find out more info on that here www.eeoc.gov/types/ada.html
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ElleMD
                          Were you paid by the hour that you worked or did you make the same salary no matter how many hours? Usually time off can not be substituted for OT if you are in fact you are non-exempt. They may give you time off so that you do not reach more than 40 hours in a week so that they do not have to pay OT, but you can not bank the extra hours you work to use at a later date. That is a wage and hour issue though, not a WC one.


                          As for your first question, it isn't that your employer can fire you for making the request, and it isn't that they must comply with the doctor's recommendation. Assuming your employer is large enough to require compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, they may need to look at the possibility of making an accommodation if your condition reaches the level of a disability under the act. A doctors note that just says you need frequent breaks is not enough. Even then, your employer would only be obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation, if there is one, that would allow you to perform the essential duties of your job. Not the one your doctor recommends or that you want. It isn't at all clear that you qualify under ADA but you can find out more info on that here www.eeoc.gov/types/ada.html
                          Thanks ElleMD - you've been a lot of help!

                          Comment

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