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Reasonable accomodation
Apr 25, 2003

My employer considers me an "exempt" employee. I currently am out on unpaid leave. The problem I have is that I requested my employer to transfer me to a location closer to my home. This is a retail environment, with many location closer to my home. My current commute is 4-5 hours daily total time. I have explained that due to fatigue I would like to be transfered closer. I did not receive a direct answer to this request, and have taken leave due to fatique, and tasks that involve physical excertion (I don't have too much flexability to sit and rest when tired most of the time). I shouldn't complain of health concerns, as I have a viral load of 450, and am undetectable...but the diarrhea, and fatique are getting worse, and I am missing medication at times due to my schedule. I just would like to have less of a commute, and am not getting a response. I requested a transfer, from my immediate supervisor several months ago, and told him I was covered under ADA. Nothing was done. My position requires support management, and over the past year, those positions have not always been filed by my employer, forcing me to work, what I feel is too many hours (at times, 7 days per week)...with the commute, this just ads to my stress. I took leave two weeks before my one year anniversary, explained to the HR dept. that I needed time off, and my diagnosis, and was told that I could "make up the time I was missing", but right now, I only qualify for six weeks unpaid leave. My health is more important than my job...BUT, I would like to continue, and take some time off, to get things back to "normal", and lose the commute time...I explained to my employer, that I am "tied" to the state where I reside, due to medication, as it is provided through the state...they just don't seem to respond to my direct questions...Is requesting to transfer "reasonable"? It is to the point that my position is suffering, as well as my health.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Several questions:

1. Where is your provider in all this? Have you submitted a request in writing for reasonable accommodation that states what your functional limitations are? (for example, must have a rest break every ___ minutes) Please make your doctor your ally by drafting a reasonable accommodation request for his/her signature. Rather than stating what the problems are (fatigue, diarrhea--your employer doesn't need to know what the problems are), state your needs in the form of a clear request. Needs a shorter commute. Needs frequent breaks. State your plan for making up any time that the breaks would require you to replace. 2. Have you submitted a written request for accommodation to HR? YOur immediate supervisor has no training in reasonable accommodation or the ADA. Cite the ADA definition of a reasonable accommodation in your request, be very professional about it, and give the recipient a reasonable amount of time to reply (10 days, for example). If you do not hear within that time, your employer may be stonewalling, in which case you need to call your local office of the EEOC.

It sounds as though you are "tied" to this state because of the ADAP program. You may be less tied than you think. Look up the ADAP coverage in other states, just to get an idea of what the impact of moving would be.

3. Have you discussed the fatigue and diarrhea with your provider? There are strategies for managing both.

A 4-5 hour commute? Is the job worth that?

Yes, your health is more important than your job. But let's try to keep both! Please write again if you have further questions.

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