Workplace harassment and discrimination

I get so frustrated dealing with all of the different problems that go along with having a chronic auto immune disease. People just do not understand the daily struggle. My work environment has become so very hostile due to my absences for dealing with flares and restrictions due to the disease. Though I have ‘protection’ through FMLA and the ADA, I feel like I am being harassed and bullied by management. Anyone else deal with this situation and can offer advice?

Hi aberry,

your situation sounds terrible. But I suspect you aren’t alone in your plight. I currently have a very supportive “big boss” who is more supportive than my supervisor. Not long ago, though, I had a very unsympathetic boss who made things quite difficult. My rheumatologist was incredibly helpful in writing copious letters and notes fully explaining my disease, treatment, fatigue and pain. In those letters he would note that my supervisor ought to expect frequent and also unexpected absences as he worked to arrest the symptoms of my disease. This, somehow, seemed to placate my rather stubborn boss.

I do hope others will chime in to offer their stories and maybe provide some suggestions for you as you work through all of this. Wishing you well.

Well I’m prolly not very encouraging in this regard but here is my read. Your supervisors and colleagues may very well understand more than you think. Which means you sometimes have step back and understand when you are not there, THEY are responsible for picking the slack. As most organizations are running pretty slim these days, they are already pretty maxed out on work load and now have more to do when you are gone. Of course there is going to be some resentment.

Your attitude when dealing with them is really important. Yeah you can take the attitude “I have ‘protection’ through FMLA and the ADA” and what I can do I do so get over it." First of all, its not true. FMLA comes with some serious rules and has to be applied for and conditions met. ADA only gives you the right to accommodations. If you can’t do the job, they can reassign you or fire you in a lot of cases. Not only that those protections for y\you doesn’t help your coworkers work loads or frustrations a bit. They have been carrying your load when are gone. They really expect you to carry it and even ease their load when you are there.

Your attitude is the only thing that can change their attitude (along with some education - do they even know what PsA is? Personally I would stick with the acronym PsA not “chronic auto immune disease” although it may be more descriptive, it actually makes you sound like a nutcase sitting on the Pity Pot (sorry but its true.) NEVER medicalize your disease to friend family or colleagues or describing you current condition to your doc.

Its critical that they know you are more frustrated than they and you HATE it. When are you there you need to be not only on top of your game and more than willing to go above and beyond as you are able. Let them know in words and action how hard you are fighting this thing. Be a friend to everyone. believe it or not over time your positive attitude will rub off. Coworkers who once gave you dirt looks or made snide comments will suddenly be saying "here let me help you with that…

I am raising two grand children with very severe disease levels (One PsA the other with Lupus and a severe Liver condition) They miss a lot of school. Invariably the first thing that happened when they got back to school they were hit immediately by one or more of their teachers with their “make up work” Imagine if as employees we had to do that. BTW I finally showed up at school with the kids Doc and me on my shiny new scooter, with my mobility (and immobility) aides for a come to Jesus meeting. The Dean who was the worst just returned from Paid Maternity leave (teachers here have a really good union). Guess who I went after first? After all she saw on average 6 kids a day, so for the next six weeks it should reasonable for her to see 12 kids a day to catch up… Anyway the situation improved immediately on all levels when Like Jane, they finally understood (the doc was excellent.) Now I even get emails asking if its okay to send a homework assignmemt home when they are doing well just to be sure it isn’t to much. They have gone overboard the other way. The kids attitudes have everything to do with it. I’m sort of a no sympathy if want to be treated normally you have to act normally kind of parent. It breaks my heart sometimes to push them as hard as I do…