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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: NV

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Nevada

    Hello, I am 22 years old and have been at my job for 4 years 8 mo. I work for a large beverage distribution company.


    I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorder. I've suffered from this since I was I child but had been able to manage it about 90% of the time with medication. When I have severe episodes I am completely debilitated, I shake, can't drive, speak, concentrate etc... My main trigger is stress but they come on sometimes for no reason.

    March of this year I was having several episodes a week after dealing with an increase in stress at work. I finally told my bosses (the owner already knew) about my condition but things got worse so I went to the Doctor and was placed on Intermittent FMLA (I've only used 8 days total in 8 months). Again, things got worse, I was merchandising and everyone was required to call in after finishing their stores to see who needed help. On several occasions I would call in and be told everyone had already come in and gone home. They would call everyone except me to see if they needed help.

    My anxiety increased and as an accommodation I was placed in the Graphic Design department where I had worked part time off and on doing print jobs. In order to place me there full time they made the graphic designer my supervisor, gave him a raise and also made him the supervisor of a different department. He still does all the designs and I do all the placement and print jobs. We had always been friendly and had no problems until this change.

    He now harasses me every chance he gets. I'm not allowed to turn the lights on upon arriving at work (for at least 30 min) unless I want to get screamed at so I feel around in the dark to turn on my computer. He got in my face screaming that I was running the department into the ground but refused to tell me what I was doing wrong when I asked him, it triggered an attack so I called the GM and used my FMLA and left early. I was called by the owner and told that I had to return to work right away. The next day my supervisor yelled at me for missing work saying I just do as I please. He regularly makes condescending comments and particularly likes to mock me and say "if you want my job just go ask John (the owner) you get whatever you want anyway." I've reported him and nothing happens. I recently heard him tell another co worker that he should download pornography to my computer and tell then tell the GM I did it. I've heard him call me a co*# sucker among other things. He carries a a gun in his car and drinks on the job. I'm terrified to even go to work anymore, I am actually physically afraid of this man and fear for my safety.


    Is there anything else I can do? I can't do this anymore. I could see if I was some punk kid who was irresponsible, I assure you I am not. Thanks in advance for any insight to the situation.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    It appears the company has bent over backwards to accommodate you. It also appears your disability has overcome your ability to work there successfully. I suggest you find another job or request your doctor increase your anxiety meds. The "well" is getting poisoned but it appears you are the one poisoning it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,245

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    It doesn't sound to me as if he's doing this because of your disability and/or accomodation. It sounds as if he's doing this because he was forced to make room for you (which, btw, was more than they were required to do - they are not required to create a new position for you) and is mad about that.

    When you reported all this to HR, what did they say?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    They to;d me I just needed to "deal it". We don't have an "HR" position. It's a good ole boy company with an owner and asst GM who does payroll and the GM. We are the only 2 in the department. If he's angry because he was moved, knows about my disability but continues to create this kind of work environment , is that not against the law? He alone has made my attacks worse not better. I get that he's mad about being moved, he was however given a choice. Even though he is obviously angry about being moved can he still direct comments about "just go ask so and so, you always get what you want", how is that not directed at me due to my disability. Is what he's doing to me perfectly legal?

    Thanks again for your input.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,245

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    Just how large is this "large" beverage distribution center that doesn't have an HR?

    I'm asking for a reason. Please note: I am not asking how many people are in your department - I am asking how many people in the company.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    cbg has a good question.

    Although your new boss isn't a nice person, there aren't any laws that state he has to be.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    We have about 100 employees. Yes it's crazy, no HR!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Is it legal for them to call me and tell me I have to go back to work when I left using my intermittent FMLA? Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,245

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    I wouldn't call that large, and that's about the minimum for which the Society for Human Resources Management considers that you need even one full time HR person, but never mind, it's large enough for this purpose.

    No one promised you a workplace free of stress, free of any kind of negative atmostphere, or free of people being mad at you. No one every promised you a rose garden, as the saying goes.

    "ZTR has a disabilty - therefore I'm going to give him a hard time" - illegal.

    "I liked the job I had and because of ZTR, I have to do a different one - therefore I'm going to give him a hard time" - legal.

    Remember, your employer has already gone WELL beyond what the ADA requires of them. They created a new position for you and they bumped another employee out of his job in order to do it. The ADA does not require that they do either of those things.

    Just saw your updated question. FMLA does not give you the right to just walk off the job. It's unclear whether you notified the GM that you were leaving for reasons attributable for FMLA or whether you just said, "I'm leaving" and left. If the first, then that's legally questionable, though I very much doubt that a single instance under the circumstances you describe will be actionable. If the second, then yes, they were within their rights because they did not have reason to think that it was protected time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    Seems to me it's worth considering that you don't rely on medication, but also talk with professionals about how to deal with stress (and that susceptibility to stress can be caused by other things ... things that may be causing your anxiety disorder).

    Not sure why they'd have to also make the graphic design person supervisor of a different dept. (except to justify an increase in money that they didn't have to give him in the first place regardless of how many jobs/duties he was assigned).

    I wouldn't presume that it is your disability that has caused this change. It may be that he didn't want to supervise anyone, let alone another dept. He may be having marriage or personal life troubles. Sounds like he has severe "issues" that have nothing to do with your disability, but rather you're a handy/convenient target.

    If your medical cert says that you may need to use time off due to a manifestation of the serious health condition (whether it was specifically named or not), and that this condition isn't something that will go away within the next six months, then it is what it is. If your GM knows why you left, then they aren't entitled to demand you come into work. You're free to file a complaint with the federal DOL.

    You're free to contact the police if you fear for your safety, and put the company on notice that you do.

    "I can't do this anymore."

    If that's true, then you quit and file for unemployment benefits stating that you believe it's a constructive discharge situation because the employer won't do anything about this person's behavior. Your health is more important than a job.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Harassment After Disability Accommodation

    Thank you all for your input! CBG, I did inform the GM that I had to leave due to panic attack and was using my FMLA. This unfortunately was not the first time they've either told me to come back or tried to dissuade me from using my FMLA time on record. Thanks again for your input.

    Foster, thank you as well. I get additional help from my GP and I went to weekly therapy sessions for three years, just went to every other week for financial reasons. I don't just rely on medication and only take the xanax when absolutely necessary. There are other medical issues that factor in but they are being treated as well. My medical cert says I may need up to 8 hours per week either in a complete day or shortened day as necessary. This past week was the first time I considered getting the authorities involved. Unfortunately it just may come to that or as you said, I just quit. Very sad, I really like what I do. Thank you again for the input.

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