repercussions at work re: letter from Doctor

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  #1  
Old 05-26-10, 06:37 AM
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repercussions at work re: letter from Doctor

My employer is requiring me to stand on hard pavement for a minimum 6.5 hrs but up to 10 hrs and within approx. a 5 foot sq. area (actually, it's state law but we have a new manager who is going by the book). It can be excessively hot and humid with no shade and at times I am breathing exhaust fumes.

We have been allowed to sit till yesterday. Yesterday, they decided to start going by the book. I've work here for 6+ years. This new rule applies to everyone. I've been able to do this assignment only because I was allowed to sit at times other than just my 2 - 15 min. breaks and 1/2 hr. lunch. Now that we have to stand and never sit except for the breaks, I cannot do the job without damaging my feet and legs. There are other assignments they could give me other than traffic control.

Anyways, I am going to see my foot specialist on Thurs in hopes of getting a letter stating I cannot stand for long periods of time or something to that effect.

My concern is repercussions at work when I bring this letter in. Should I be worried? I talked with the receptionist at the doctors office and she said they do write letters on behalf of their clients. I'm praying they will for me. I'm 57 yo and have foot problems, toe problems and have suffered several accidents with many broken bones (ribs mostly) in the last ten years and all but one at home. The one at work, I stabbed myself in the hand trying to cut a nylon tie and was on Worker's comp for 6 weeks, not fun.

I stood today for 7 hours and my feet and legs are SCREEMING at me. Can they say I am refusing work if I bring a letter? We do have a Union but it's weak to put it lightly, really no help. Will they have to respect the letter from the doc? I cannot get another job with a pension at my age.

This is a good employer. They are not trying to be unfair. I am just unable to do the work with the now enforced rule. I have worked at another Rd. Comm. and both, the one I'm at now and my previous employer, allowed us to sit even tho the law did not. Now, I cannot do this job but there are other assignments they could give me besides traffic control. I'm concerned about the repercussions of a letter from my foot Doctor.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-29-10, 09:52 AM
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Employment law is complicated. I'd get the advice of an attorney who specializes in labor law cases.

In my area, the county bar association will arrange a half hour with a lawyer specializing in the area of the law you are concerned with for $50 --- a bargain!

You might try calling your county bar association and seeing what they might offer or suggest.

Are your represented by a union? If so, I'd be talking to your business agent or union officer about your situation.
 
  #3  
Old 05-29-10, 11:59 AM
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My Union rep finally called me back and said to play nice for starters and present my case on Tues. Also said, ADA (American Disabilities Act) allows for accomodations if employee is capable of doing at least 70% of work duties. This flagging takes apprx. 3-4% of my duties during the year and there are daily work sheets to verify. She said if they don't accomodate me, then we will increase our pressure.

My doc wrote a simple letter stating I need to sit now and then. I saw a labor law lawyer on Thurs. and he said I could most likely present a case for ADA and wrote me a form letter "Request for Accomodation" which I won't present till needed.

I hope our new manager will show me some empathy.

Thank You!
 
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Old 06-04-10, 07:35 PM
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Past practice

The employer has changed your working conditions from what they were by now requiring everyone to stand. By allowing everyone to sit and do the job they have created a "past practice" concerning your working conditions. Legally they cannot change working conditions without a mutual agreement between your bargaining unit and management. Your union rep should have jumped on this the moment the rule was put into effect.
 
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Old 06-04-10, 08:20 PM
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Thank You. I agree the Union should have jumped on this but it's very weak union. Unions today, IMO, are nothing but big business and only put forth effort if they believe their bottom dollar is going to be directly affected. This is pennies to the union. We have 19 union members here.

The manager has referred this to their attorney's. I gave her the 'Request for Accomodation' letter written for me by the lawyer today. Of course, I have not mentioned going to a lawyer. She said it's going to take time as they are evaluating the work required of me now, in the past, and in the forseeable future. I don't think there are hard feelings.

She is going by the book is all as she is brand new and has intentions of going by the book from now on. Yesterday we had a meeting and they handed out "Work Rules" which we all have been given a copy of before but because of what has happened in the past few weeks she said, management wanted to make sure we each have a copy and required we sign a receipt that we received them.
 
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Old 06-09-10, 05:49 PM
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Working with your union rep is your best choice. Any union with a contract has some significant ability to negotiate on behalf on employees, and union reps should have reasonable amounts of experience and expertise to use on your behalf.

So I'd see how far you can get with that help.
 
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Old 06-09-10, 05:55 PM
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Are you a flagger? If not what is the nature of your work?

Are licensed or certified to do your job?

Around here you need a state license to flag, and there may be state rules regarding relief, breaks or whatever to insure that flaggers remain alert.

When I was a gas utility employee, work crews took turns flagging to maintain alertness and minimize fatigue. Any chance of that kind of thing being practical?
 
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Old 06-27-10, 08:14 AM
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I know this is late, but have you filed a workers comp claim for your foot problems? Filled out a OSHA 301 form? I deal with workplace injuries every day at work. I am a Occupational Safety & Health manager.
 
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Old 06-27-10, 08:47 AM
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Management will always receive mandates from the disconnected upper management to make the work force "look alive" or whatever they are doing. And the labor force will always return to doing what actually works as soon as the executive who created the mandate finds another hobby.

I'm not saying rules should be disregarded. I'm just saying don't fret. If standing for hours on end effects you physically, you as a union member can be accommodated without fear of repercussions. Where I work, the employees with medical restrictions are not without job security.

What kind of repercussions are you wary of?
 
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Old 06-27-10, 11:03 AM
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We are a very small work force and our one foreman checks on us often during the day. I would not dare disregard his instructions but I understand what you are saying.

No, this is not work related injury. It is a condition I have lived with since 1989. But June 1st, managment changed the rules and I filed a Request for Accommodation thru the ADA. They submitted it to their attornies and they said to get an Independent Medical Evaluation done. They secheduled me an appt. with an insurance doc. last Friday. I went and saw and amongst his many bullet fired questions requiring one syslable responses, he asked how many sick days have I used for this condition. I stated one day, June 2nd (they would have had me flagging that day and I simply was in too much pain from the day before to go in). He finally spoke to me, rather than at me, and asked what was I doing there. I gave him a short explanation (I was wore out from the grilling) and he appeared to understand. He asked me if ???? would work and I cannot remember exactly what he said but I said my doc said this and gave him a copy of the doc note. He took notes and said he would have it early this coming week to my employer. I think he realized I was not looking for disability or worker's comp but just to be accommodated with my condition.

I'm waiting now for the results of this evaluation. I will post back. Thank you everyone.

Oh, I cannot stand for hours, therefore, would have to refuse to do my job if assigned to flagging again resulting in losing my job. They are accommodating me (easy to do) until the results are in.
 
  #11  
Old 06-27-10, 04:38 PM
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Just a FYI, it is a workers comp case if your current job has aggrevated a pre existing condition that was not work related.

Hopefully everything works out for you! Remember, you only have one body, so take care of it!
 
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