Tell the Boss?


Posted by Geri Arts , Dec 04,2001,13:46   Archive
My sister is in a situation at work. Hope you guys can offer some advice because she is walking a risky path. She was diagnosed with blepharospasm in March, 2001 by a neurologist and has received two botax treatments since then. The effects only last a short time so her condition is not yet under control.

The problem is in her missing work. Usually two days in a row when her eyes are shut down. She writes blepharospasm on the absence sheet when she returns to work but some of the employees are starting to talk. So far, she's used up all her sick days and annual leave.

I found out from someone who substitutes for her when she's out, that everyone has noticed her eyes getting droopy etc. but the two administrators (who are new) dont't really know the situation. I advised her to write them separate letters and explain her situation.

Would this call too much attention to her medical condition? CAN SHE BE FIRED FOR HAVING BLEPHAROSPASM?

Most likely she will eventually go out on disability. (She's in her middle fifties) but right now she needs to hold on to her job for income. She's single with no dependents.

I know this question is more personal than the advice that is sought on the web-site but if some people could just relate their experiences with having blepharospasm in the workplace and/or leaving on medical disability, I would appreciate it very much.

Hope to hear from you, angels!

Big Sis




Recommend Current pageAuthor Profile
Replies to this message


Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Tell the Boss? --- Geri Arts
Posted by Lynn Yarbrough , Dec 04,2001,14:16 Top of Thread Archive
Your sister is fortunate: she at least has a name and a diagnosis to give to her condition. I worked for 30 years without knowing what on earth was going on, except that twice I had been told that it was a psychosomatic condition. Talk about misdiagnoses.

My suggestion to her would be to be completely open about her condition to everyone, and to get and give out BEB literature at every opportunity. No, it's not something to be proud of, but it's a real condition with real limitations, and her boss needs to know what's going on. If s/he then decides to fire your sister, sis will have a good case for both disability claims and a lawsuit. But if she tries to hide it, her chance for legal redress goes out the window.

We are still a long way from public awareness of our condition, and the social conciousness of its effects. Being open, honest, and aware goes a long way toward changing things.

--- Lynn




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- Lynn Yarbrough
Posted by kathy , Dec 05,2001,05:29 Top of Thread Archive
why would someone have to be ashamed of it? it's the other people i know that should be more than ashamed, not me.



Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- kathy
Posted by Lynn Yarbrough , Dec 05,2001,11:29 Top of Thread Archive
For many, the shame is in running into door jambs and doing other clumsy things that normal people don't do on the job, and not being able to explain it without getting even deeper into embarassment.

--- Lynn




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- Lynn Yarbrough
Posted by kathy , Dec 05,2001,13:32 Top of Thread Archive
well, that's very true.



Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- kathy
Posted by Kelly Saffell , Dec 05,2001,14:37 Top of Thread Archive
I was very ashamed of what I had for years and chose not to talk about it much. My boss was also a friend and knew as soon as I did but I did not tell most of my employees and even friends for a long time. I guess they wondered but noone asked. Something "normal" would have been easier to explain but I had something that caused me to "look funny" and I was ashamed of my appearance (still am to some degree.) I was only 26 years old, former homecoming queen and most beautiful, and I was humiliated.

Kelly in Dallas




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- Kelly Saffell
Posted by kathy , Dec 06,2001,05:44 Top of Thread Archive
THAT'S a pretty sad story. i think most of we women at least are concerned about the effect this has on our looks. aging is hard enough without some disfiguring disorder to make it worse!



Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Re: Tell the Boss? --- Lynn Yarbrough
Posted by kathy , Dec 08,2001,17:10 Top of Thread Archive
this issue is really bothering me. it is other people who i have told early on that i had this thing that not only refused to acknowledge it but told me to hide it. i thought about this for awhile and said to myself that this was wrong. those that have used me as a scapegoat for their own mental problems had better face up to this NOW.
sorry, lynn; just telling the truth.



Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Workplace notification ...

Re : Tell the Boss? --- Geri Arts
Posted by Moderator-JB , Dec 04,2001,17:14 Top of Thread Archive
Geri:

Yes, immediately and in writing, she should notify her superiors of her condition. Start a paper trail and keep copies. If notified, they dare not fire her without running the risk of crossing the ADA (Americans With Disibility Act). After that, if they do not modify her job situation (which most company's do not or cannot) they must allow her to go out on disibility from the company.

I actually think my employer was relieved when I said I could no longer work under the flourescent lighting of the office and had to leave because my eyes closed down at work and I had to be driven home. The boss is the one who signs off on the recommendation for STD & LTD (short and then long term disibility). A person with Blepharospasm is a negative and a liability to the company. If your sister were to fall and hurt herself while at work, the company could be held liable.
Another liability: while trying to keep your eyes open, your work output falls - another thing the management does not want to have happen.

Judy




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Tell the Boss? --- Geri Arts
Posted by Carol Brown , Dec 04,2001,17:51 Top of Thread Archive
Hi Geri

Well, I certainly have to respond to you about this as it really hits home. I retired from state employment in 1993 and was able to get out on an "early out" thanks to our Governor. I was a word processing specialist. I was having problems with my eyes, but didn't know what was going on. All I was told was that I had "dry eyes". I never said anything to my boss, supervisor, and anyone. Call it pride or what, I don't know, but the situation became so bad, I knew I had to get out. Our Governor came to my rescue with the "early out" for state employees who qualified, so I went for it. After I retired (I was only 53) I applied for social security disability. Well, forget that!. Because the doctors only thought I had dry eyes and because I never said anything to anyone at work, I was turned down. It wasn't until 1996 that I was diagnosed with dystonia and then in 1998 I applied for social security disability again. I received my award letter about 6 months later. I didn't need a lawyer this time. Why? because I had good reports from my doctor, plus the SSA administration now accepts dystonia as a disabling disease.

My advise to your sister is to talk to her superiors and co-workers about her condition. Have it documented that she talked to them. You can get out on a disability. Good Luck!

Carol Brown in Naselle, WA where we had a snow storm this morning. Oh my!




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Tell the Boss? --- Geri Arts
Posted by Cynthia , Dec 04,2001,18:21 Top of Thread Archive
You have already received excellent replies to your questions.
When I was diagnosed several years ago I took copies of a brief description of the disorder and handed it my immediate superiors and said, "This is what I have, so if you see me walking around with my eyes closed, that's why." I just work part time and have never had to miss work because of an "eye shut-down". though sometimes they have been pretty uncomfortable!!
I'm sorry for anybody who has to cope with this order and hope that your sister will be able to continue to keep her job.

Cynthia in IL




Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile
Re: Tell the Boss?

Re : Tell the Boss? --- Geri Arts
Posted by kerry horton (KERRY HORTON,kerry horton), Dec 04,2001,19:42 Top of Thread Archive
Hi Big Sis:
In addition to all of the great responses so far, I think it is a tremendous relief to just "get it out there." No more worrying about what people "might" be thinking. Who needs that grief?
Good luck to your sister.
:) Kerry in CT



Recommend Original Message Top of Thread Where am I? Current pageAuthor Profile