The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal to fire any employee due to disability. According to Aaron Hotfelder, J.D., University of Missouri School of Law, “employers covered by the ADA (those with 15 or more workers) must offer to make reasonable accommodations of your disability as long as it will not cause them ‘undue hardship.'” One woman says that her Human Resources department has re-defined what her “disability” should, and should not, be.
“I work in a traditional office setting. I generally adore my job and it’s in the field I studied in college,” the user known as “Sleep_Logic” wrote on Reddit’s “Antiwork” forum. “I make passable money and my coworkers are generally nice.. even if they’ve been drinking the Kool-aid a bit much.”
She continued: “I have a mental health disability (bipolar) that I was up front about when I got hired and have done the proper ADA paperwork. HR is aware of it and I work hard to keep pushing and keep them in the loop if I trip up. So far they’ve been a blessing. It got so bad earlier this year I took FMLA leave and they were gracious about my return and accommodations. I’ve had a lingering feeling that kindness was running low.. until today when it was confirmed..”
The woman — who said she sometimes works from home — noted that HR put her on notice for using vacation time or working from home adding her performance is, “generally outstanding.” They now want her to come into the office all the time.
“Barbara proceeded to then tell me that based on my paperwork I’ve been diagnosed for over three years now and at this point should have my disability under better control,” she wrote. “She said I need to pick and choose my battles and stop always choosing the easiest route. That I’m not strict enough on myself and perhaps I need to increase or change my medication, or ‘at least consider taking them more regularly’. She then went on to say I need to be more serious about my self care so that I can be a ‘functioning member of society’ (Implying I’m not already??).”
The woman said her boss was present through this uncomfortable conversation, which only hurt her more. She sought out the internet to ask if she’s “being too sensitive.” Readers didn’t hesitate to share their support and/or offer a little advice.
“Time to contact the Department of labor. That’s in violation of the ADA. Remember, HR is not on your side, they are there to minimize companies liability,” lefkoz said with a top comment.
RubyTheBitchWitch had the same idea saying, “Hey guys! I’m a lawyer and I do advocacy work around workplace rights. I can’t give legal advice on a forum like this, so this isn’t formal advice in any way. But you should talk to an attorney locally. These issues rarely get better and your story does cross some ADA boundaries. We need serious employment law reform but you should get some support asap. Call your local bar association and ask for some referrals to employment attorneys.”
“TELL THIS STORY TO AN EMPLOYMENT LAWYER ASAP,” mikelieman wrote.
“As long as you’re just as productive, I don’t see why they care. They also shouldn’t be telling you how to handle your disability, they wouldn’t say this to someone with a physical condition. (I mean I say that but knowing American work culture, they probably would),” VampireAchilles said. “I don’t think you’re being sensitive. They were being condescending and patronizing. They’re employers, not doctors. Most likely your working from home makes other employees want to as well, because it’s better for everyone’s mental health and they just. Can’t. Have. That.”
The post amassed more than 45,000 upvotes and 3,900 comments at the time of this article.