What to do with unsympathetic employer?


Question from Ann64: What do you do if your employer is COMPLETELY unsympathetic to your situation and will not make reasonable accommodations, such as taking an extremely autistic boy out of my classroom, or hassling me to make my appointments so they are the least intrusive to the class. Yes, she used the word intrusive. There is more stress placed on me due to my job than the cancer itself.
Answers - Barbara Hoffman Sometimes talking directly with a supervisor isn't sufficient, because the supervisor doesn't understand the law pertaining to accommodations, or is just unsympathetic on a personal level. In that case, it's usually better to go to someone who supervises your supervisor, and in a teaching situation it sounds like that would be a principal or someone above the principal level who could help facilitate some sort of discussion so you can exercise your right to reasonable accommodation. If that doesn't work, the next step is involving an advocate — perhaps a union representative or attorney. When you get to the stage where an attorney is involved, it becomes more adversarial. Teachers are in unique situations because, on the one hand, you're entitled to reasonable accommodation. On the other hand, physical presence in the classroom is an important part of your job. So you may need to negotiate some combination of physical leave from the classroom with the reasonable accommodation, i.e., changing students from your classroom to another classroom. But as long as you're capable of performing the essential functions of your teaching position, you're entitled to keep it with those reasonable accommodations.

On Wednesday, September 19, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Working During Treatment. Barbara Hoffman, J.D., Irene Card, and moderator Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. answered your questions about the legal, financial, physical, and emotional aspects of working during breast cancer treatment.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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