|Running out of sick time
Jul 5, 2006
My company has a PTO policy that says if we use more than our allotted PTO (includes sick time) then we will be subject to disciplinary action up to termination. I don't use my sick time excessivly, but since finding out I am HIV+ I do tend to stay home when I am sick to facilitate a faster recovery and to avoid other bugs. I am concerned that I will run out of PTO this year. Would I be protected under ADA if I were to take a few extra sick days without pay? What do I do to make sure I am protected? I already told my employer after missing two weeks last year because of a hospital stay that i suffer from a chronic illness. Is this sufficient?
| Response from Ms. Breuer
Your protection under the ADA is triggered by your request for a reasonable accommodation. You're asking for an exemption to a workplace policy based on your disability, and it's a reasonable request. But you have to take the initiative.
Ideally, your health care provider writes the note that requests the accommodation. Your diagnosis should NOT be part of the note. To see a couple of sample letters, to go http://www.bkohlenberg.com and click on "services." Under the section on requesting an accommodation, you'll find a couple of sample physician letters.
Don't tell them your diagnosis. If you tell them you're a person with a disability, that language triggers your coverage under the ADA, but only if you tell someone who should know what that language means, such as the director of HR.
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