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Lost employment due to meds. Any suggestions???

Keeping FaithKKeeping Faith Posts: 6
edited 11/27/2012 - 3:12 PM in Chronic Pain
I have been a chronic back pain patient since 2008. I recently have ran into an issue that i am not sure how to handle....
I have been a sub-contracted employee for almost the last three years. Recently, the company i have been sub-contracted by has chosen to hire our entire department on directly. Well to hire us on directly, of course they wrote us a letter with our offers, we all had to have background checks, drug screens, and the pre-employment physicals. I was completely honest on my condition, medical history, medicines prescribed, etc.I made it thru with flying colors until it came to the physical.....I passed the physical just fine until the caregiver looked at my medicine list.... He saw the word Methadone and Loratab....Methadone for maintenance and Loratab for breakthrough pain......Well, it all went to crap from there.......

For 2 1/2 weeks is was put on a a leave. I called a couple of times a week and even drove to his office a time or two awaiting the results of my physical to be phoned into my employer so i could return to work. I was losing wages this close to a holiday and it was really starting to get to me. 2 1/2 weeks just seemed to drag.

Then finally i received the call i had been awaiting. Or i thought! I thought I was returning to work but instead it was HR informing me that my offer for employment was being retracted! The HR officer said the company chosen caregiver said i failed my physical and that I was a "PERMANENT SAFETY RISK TO SOCIETY"! What kind of comment is that! I was polite believe it or not....i even ask him how i was a threat in an office. He claimed there was dangerous equipment just right outside my office door. Hmmm thats correct, OUTSIDE my office door.I then proceeded to tell him that i knew he was just following HR protocal and that i enjoyed working with all of them the 3 yrs i was there....Now i have no insurance, no income, and no job and chances are this diagnosis will follow me in my other job searches... Ugh!

Anyway to make a long story short, i have since went to two other doctors to take phyiscals for my own justification and have passed them all.

Now here comes the interesting part. I have went to the caregivers office twice asking for a copy of my medical records so i can find out what justification he has for failing me on my physical and guess what..... both times his office has REFUSED to give me a copy of my records! Wonder why that wont give me a copy? I think its because he based his diagnosis either on my meds list or he was mad because i kept calling for my results.

Please help! Where do i go from here?



  • Denial of employment because you're taking prescribed medications does not seem appropriate. Depending on how many times you called, they may believe that you're wound a bit too tightly, but I do understand the anxiety. In most states, your medical information is just that -- yours. You might check the local laws, but I believe they Have To give you a copy.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I guess it all depends on how you want to take this. I don't know you or your employer so take this with a grain of salt. The damage may already be done at your former employer. However, if 2 other physicians don't think you are a permanent safety risk to society, then the physician who said that might be liable. I wouldn't know though. I'm not an attorney and I am not suggesting you should take that path. I can only speak for myself. Your story caught my attention because I am also having issues with my employer that lead me to believe they have it in for me. Because of this, for the first time in my life, I feel the need to retain an attorney that when needed will speak for me from now on. Good Luck!

  • Keeping FaithKKeeping Faith Posts: 6
    edited 11/28/2012 - 4:46 AM
    Thank you both for your comments. Yes, I agree that the damage probably is already done and I think that I may have to consult an attorney. I am not pleased about the need of a consult because I am not that type of person... However, I do feel that something needs to be done whether it be to this "closed minded company doctor" that spent less than 3 minutes of his time with me or the company that I worked so hard for. I may be bias but i honestly cant comprehend how i was clarified as a safety risk in less than 180 seconds... forgive me if i am wrong but isnt there some sort of neurological exam that i could have been given to prove otherwise??
    Dont get me wrong, i loved my job and the responses i received from several of the employees it seems everyone is extremely upset as to how i was let go BUT the HR dept has rules to abide by BUT i also dont think they acted appropriately either. During the 2 1/2 week wait on the doctors response, I had asked to be sent to another caregiver and i was denied that request. Do you think if any of the company reps were waiting without pay that they wouldnt have asked for the same request? I just think that people shouldnt be judged by what medicines they take unless it can be proven otherwise. Just think about it,,,, im sure you can appreciate... You or I both have pain. We take meds for it and we can deal with everyday life, take it away and we are miserable. Cant think straight, etc. Then YES we may possibly be a safety threat. Same applies for a diabetic... they cope fine while on meds, take them way.... what do you get? Once again a possible threat to. Soooo, do you think a different illness other that pain would have been denied employment too?
    Sorry I'm going on and on.... im still in shock and it kinda hurt my emotionally too.
  • as a teacher, i have been totally upfront and honest with my school and district with my meds. I have a file of accommodations in HR and last month HR and my union came to my class and said there was a complaint regarding my takin gof meds. i do not take them in front of students and if i do take them at school i am very discreet. well no surprise came from a teacher with whom i have major conflicts with. they wanted me to get a note from my pain ddr which i did and it said that i could work under my meds with no problems at all. i guess they came in to check me because this person said i was drugged up and could not do my job. well after checking me, they went to my principal and told her they did not see any problem. basically i believe your meds are your own business but i could be wrong. in fact my dr told me to tell my work after he wrote the note to f,,,,off. it was none of their business. well looking back i would not tell anyone about my meds now if i could. i think that is the best course. if you have to take a urine test as part of your employment, that is another matter.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • paininohioppaininohio Posts: 240
    edited 11/28/2012 - 6:59 AM
    This kind of thing irkes me to no end. In my own personal opinion, I would contact an attorney or at least file a claim based on discrimination of a person with disabilities, especially since you have been doing the job for the previous 3 years with no problems. Personally I wouldn't wait too much longer. I wish you the best of luck!
  • think you have a long road to fight on this one. If I read your story correctly you are in effect changing employers and a new employer doesn't have to offer you employment. It would be the same as if you walked off the street, filled out a app and tried to get a job. There is no employment discrimination because you were not employed by them.

    As far as your records go you should be able to get a copy of them. Were you handed a sheet dealing with your privacity when you took the test? I believe by law they have to tell you how to get your records. Maybe contact your states insurance commissioner and file a complaint. Doesn't look like your going to be working for this new/old company so I would start making some big waves.

    Life as a spiney can suck and things happen to us that have absolutely bearing on anything we have personally done. This wasn't your fault but you are caught up in something that is going to be very hard to straighten out.

    If I am wrong on what happened to you please accept my apolagy and ignore my post.
  • Perhaps the HR persons story was a smoke screen and they did not want to take the potential financial burden of carrying you on the group insurance policy? That's another possible scenario. Regardless, I'd go after the records from the so called failed physical first. They should give you a clear indication of where the resistance came from and who to focus on. Of course, you must decide whether or not the effort and money is worth it. Sometimes cutting your losses and moving on is the best and hardest thing to do.
  • I just lost my job of ten years for Loratabs , I got mad at the drugs and myself and tried to go cold turkey and ended up in the hospital really sick , I think its wrong that people judge us for havin g to take our meds..
  • I believe all responses have been correct to some degree. Thats what i wanted is other peoples suggestions. I knew my own opinion would be bias because i am the one living it. (which im sure all of you have had the same and/or similar issues)
    Im just unwilling to go down without a fight. I have not contacted an attorney YET but i still may do so... By the way, i went to the medical facility at my use to be job and signed a release for my medical and personnel file. I dont think they wanted to but they did finally give me a copy. When i looked at the medical it didnt state the words like they were given to me. I was told i was a PERMANENT SAFETY HAZARD TO SOCIETY. The medical file only had a restriction marked that stated "no safety sensative work due to meds". That is an entirely different statement. I have since contacted the SENIOR HR officer at this place and they have actually requested a meeting with me on Dec 6th. Wish me luck everyone and thanks again dearly for all of your responses.
  • keepingfaith, please let us know how it turns out. Hopefully the senior person will have seen the error of their ways and realize that you are not a safety risk and hire you after all. regardless, GOOD LUCK!
  • That is the angle I would work. And I would work it very aggressively. They can't fire you for using prescription medications period. That is illegal. The company was obviously very stupid.
  • Just giving you all an update. I made the meeting with the HR dept for them to verify how an office job was considered "safety Sensitive" and all they had to say is... Well, we have to think of this as a whole... Its a manufacturing business and we may have to ask you to walk from here to there and since you are unsafe we cant do that. Just another excuse...In the 3 yrs i was there it never bothered them. Only difference now is I would be using their tax payer indentification number instead of the employer i was contracted by..... Hmmmm!
    I have consulted an attorney so i guess I will see what he has to offer for advice....Next issue, I just soooo hope that he will work for possible settlement because it will be next to impossible to pay him since i no longer have a job.... Wish me luck!
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