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Feel like I am being discriminated against

I have had ACDF at c5-7 several years ago and had Failed.Neck Surgery. I have permanent nerve damage att he root at c7 which causes radiating pain down both arms. I also have herniated disk at c4/5 and spinal stenosis. I have been on narcotic pain meds for 3 1/2 years and try my best to keep it to a minimum. I had a fall several months ago and so far they have detected 2 herniated disks in the lumbar region, bone spurs covering the facet joints in several areas, arthritis and DDD, arthritis in the hips and pelvis. I also suffer from radiating pain down both legs and numbness and tingling in my feet and toes. I am awaiting the results of another MRI and an appointment for an EMG.
My condition has been chronic for over 3 years and this latest fall has made things much more difficult. here's the problem. I have always been honest with my employer regarding my medical issues. When I returned from my surgery there were limitations regarding weight lifting but that was about it. Due to the nature of my chronic pain, there were times where it was necessary to take breakthrough pain meds at work. I have asked many times for accommodations in my work load because I do much more than any of the other people there. I have more knowledge and skills which makes it almost difficult to expect them to take over some of my tasks, but everyone has to learn sometimes. I have always received Highly Effective evaluations and she has indicated that she is more than pleased with my work. Every time I asked if we could talk about change in the way we do work or changes they could make to ease some of the stress on,e, I have gotten the brush off. Before I left for summer break (I work in the school system), I was surprised when my boss and her boss came in to tell me that they were concerned for me and wanted to support me. They wanted to look at some options in that regard, but I would be getting a letter from the superintendent about the procedure. Well a few weeks later I get a letter telling me that I have to get a physical examination to determine if I was "fit for duty". This was gut wrenching but I had to do it. I had no choice. Their doctor determined that because I could not bend, lift or stand for a long period of time, and because I was on chronic narcotic use I was not fit for duty and was a safety hazard. I still don't know what my options are and am so stress out that my pain is sky high. Advice? Thoughts?


  • A member here Terror8396 retired from the school system this summer. He isn't around much at the moment because of the summer break but if you search back you'll be able to find some of the struggles he went through. I know they ended-up putting some accommodations in place for him (special chair etc) & they were aware of his narcotic medications. He continued working until 'normal' retirement.

    Hopefully someone else can be of more help. I just wanted to make you aware of his situation in the hope it will reduce your stress. I know he struggled for a while & had meetings with personnel but it all got sorted. Chronic pain & stress are a horrible combination. I really feel for you. Stay strong & fight for your rights ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I would suggest getting a lawyer to discuss your options. Sounds to me like you are being forced out. Keep records of everything.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 07/20/2014 - 7:31 AM
    For your responses. I remember Jon but I don't remember his struggles. I just remember he had very strong feelings about what every one else was going through. After 31 years and great evaluations it is so crappy that my boss won't even answer my text asking if I have a job or if I will get a paycheck on the 31st. I feel like employees who get accused of criminal acts get treated better. They continue to get paid while on trial! I just feel so betrayed!
  • its very common when you have a disability even amongst other with disabilities ,I hope your situation resolves itself
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,849
    and IF you are in the Union, I would talk with a Union representative first. Explain your situation and let them tell you what you need to do. The Union might make it unnecessary for you to retain a personal lawyer. But that you wont know untl you have those conversations.

    Keep in mind that almost any work place can define the rules they expect their employees to live by. What might sound as if you are discriminated against, the system can identify all the things they did to help you and there is nothing more than can do. Its a tough situation. Thats why I mention Union.

    But as Sarah stated, keep records, records of everything. If you have emails, save them, print them, just make sure everything is in writing.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Since all my meds were prescribed and within prescription ranges on the test i was permitted to go back to work, It has not been easy. i have been told if i take meds at work i will be sent right back to medworks and am not permitted to take them while working hours. i still take them. Without work im unable to perform my job. So far , fingers crossed nothing has happened. This happened Jan 30th,. There were no offers to accommodate to make my job easier, personally I think they are just trying to find a reason. My health has deteriorated greatly since the begining of the year. will i end up being forced out more then likely
  • Well I am in the union and they have been awesome. Still up in the air,waiting to resolve by next week. I will give u an update.
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 07/28/2014 - 7:04 AM
    Susan & Tired of the Pain. Good luck with all of this! As chronic pain sufferers we often get broken & depressed. It's exhausting just dealing with the normal everyday things that others take for granted. We don't have all the organizations & pressure groups that other conditions have. Our pained voices are often a whisper while others shout & scream. We get lost in the politics, loose our meds, our jobs, our rights. We have to stand up (on wobbly legs) for ourselves because no one else is. I'm so sorry. Stay strong for all of us! ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I have been told that I am on paid leave until further notice.
  • if there is any consolation, at least it is paid leave. I am not making light of this situation, it stinks.......and you shouldn't have to deal with this, and I am hopeful that you can find a good resolution for you.
  • Yes, I am much happier knowing that I am on paid leave. I have heard nothing else. I have received sick days in my account so if I need to I can go on medical leave instead of retiring. I am supposed to get a call when they are ready to meet with me and review options. I think they have painted themselves in a corner because I do not believe they have just cause to cancel my contract. We shall see.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    call the americans with disability act. They will advice you. I was cleared by the phy. to return to work but my boss wouldnt give approval. She made me burn all my vacation for the year, this was January before I finally got fed up and called ada. within 20 minutes I kid you not out of the blue she calls and tells me to return to work. I was lucky i work in a fire at will state and thought that is what they were trying to find something on me to fire me for. I dont think they expected me to fight back. On a good note at least your being paid. Good luck and give them a call
  • I am really happy that I am getting paid. I think they know she screwed up and are trying to figure out what to do.
  • Just my opinion, but it sounds like they are having closed door sessions trying to figure out how to get out of a mess they made. I had an ex colleague from my former employer who was illegally fired and she took them to court for all they were worth. She won, too, an undisclosed amount. Of course, every situation is different but I was so happy for her to get the justice she was due.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • I have the same opinion and have a plan if they do not offer me some accommodations that will help me. I got my second check yesterday, so that is a whole month. I did contact the union again but they didn't seem in a hurry to resolve this so I decided to just sit back and collect my checks as long as they want to deposit them. I am not pushing this any more
  • Last Thursday night, I received a hand delivered letter after office hours telling me that me leave was over effective immediately. I was told to make an appointment with the director of Personnel as soon as possible to review options such as sick leave, personal leave, etc. I called the next day and got an appointment first thing this morning. I met with him and the union President and was told that the only thing he was prepared to discuss was leave. He knew nothin about accommodations or other jobs that mint be available. He would not say no accommodations; he just said that he would have to discuss it with the assist. Superintendent. I have an application with union for an attorney, but I haven't heard anything. about it. I am confused, frustrated, pissed off, and depressed all at the same time!
  • I'm sorry. You need an advocate from the ADA.........Americans with Disabilities office.....contact them. They may be able to help you and the attorney from your union with this situation.
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