|back at work but...
Sep 19, 2005
I returned to work in the past two years. I am now a school teacher. Last year, two 'community-acquired' illnesses (MRSA and bacterial pneumonia) required one hospitalization and made my life miserable for months. I requested a transfer to another school in the city; my request was denied. (I didn't provide any reason; I was eligible for a voluntary transfer, but very few were granted this year) When school started, I asked my doctor to write a letter saying that I had an 'immune deficiency disease' and my transfer request was medically indicated. Do I have any legal grounds to fight for a transfer and how should I deal with this? I'm afraid I'm going to get sick again and want to do everything I can to prevent exposure to something that will knock me down again.
| Response from Ms. Breuer
It would be difficult to prove that one teaching environment exposes you to more pathogens than another. Kids of all school ages are notorious germ-sharers, and it only takes one kid with something you don't want. That could happen anywhere.
Rather than focusing on your employer and a transfer, which probably would have only psychological benefit, you could focus on talking with your doctor about the precautions you can take, the prophylactic medications that might help you and managing the risks as well as you can to avoid illness.
Remember, too, that exposure to pathogens comes through other venues--for example, sloppy food preparers. That's why I think the emphasis here belongs on what you and your doc can do to strengthen your armor against a germy world. An employer has to consider your request, but I'm not aware of anything that would force your employer to grant it.
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