What are my rights regarding ADA, workers compensation or possible class action suit?

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What are my rights regarding ADA, workers compensation or possible class action suit?

I am a full time employee of a large company that had undergone a restructuring

almost 3 years ago. I received my cancer diagnosis prior to the restructure and had

2 accommodations. It was recommended to me by my direct supervisor to have my

doctor remove my schedule accommodation in order to be considered for a position. I complied and was offered a position which I accepted and was happy with my new assignment. The company has since made dramatic changes to the structure; they began causing not only me but my fellow employees unachievable work expectations unmanageable litigious case loads. The stress from trying to manage case loads of upwards of 250 claims, calls, varying degrees of injury and property claims, and litigations has created an environment of constant chaos and stress. Results are posted daily, questioning in front of others and unnecessary embarrassment from not being able to meet the unrealistic expectations is a daily occurrence. Additional undue stress triggers the tumors in my body to release hormones that cause me to go into a crisis. I have talked with my management about my accommodation and to please take this into consideration when reviewing and displaying my results. I have been told my accommodation doesn’t matter and I should be taking more calls that are not related to the claims I am assigned. I need to do my fair share, which I do my best to comply with at the expense of my own assigned claims. I have requested a shift that allows me to work, balance life and remain healthy, I was assigned a permanent shift that is not conclusive with that. I have placed a new ADA accommodation request for my previous schedule and have not had a response in 3 weeks. I have watched my co workers develop stress related illnesses, have unnecessary surgeries, become medicated to cope with the continuing pressures and heard of one of my co-workers passing away. My doctor’s have told me the additional stress is triggering my symptoms and if continued will have an adverse effect on my health. I have been open and honest with my employer, I am able to do my job and manage my work, but being expected to also

do the work of others because the company will not hire replacements is not a me

problem it is their problem and continuing to subject the remaining employees with

constant pressure to do more is unrealistic and unmanageable. We have sacrificed our families, health and are giving our all, just to hear we need to do more. I am 49 years old, I have cancer, and I am the sole support of my family. I do not know where to turn because it has reached a point where my health including my sanity is in danger. I don’t know where to turn. Please help me in navigating my next steps. I just want to do my job as it was originally presented to us when we as a company began this restructuring. I should not be told I have to transfer out of state of leave the company and I am not the type of person to go out on disability when I am able to work. I have journals, emails, notes and other documents to support me case.

Asked on December 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a reduced schedule is not a reasonable accommodation which an employer is required to make. A "reasonable accommodation" under the law is a change in procedures or the provision of some assistive device, which is not too expensive or disruptive for the employer *and* which lets the employee do his or her full job. Common example involve allowing more frequent bathroom breaks or snack breaks for, respectively, employees with IBS or diabetes; providing voice recognition software and/or larger screens for visually-impaired employees; letting a cashier who would normally stand but who has some leg/foot problem sit instead; etc. However, allowing a reduced schedule or lesser workload, while things that an employer could voluntarily choose to do, are not things they must do, because by definition, to have a reduced schedule or lesser workload is to NOT do your full job, and can be quite disruptive, as the employer must hire other people to cover your workload or hours, or else have other employees (who may already be overworked) cover your work, too. 
More generally, there is no cause of action or compensation for work stress or stress-related illness: in employment at will, as U.S. law is, the job can be as long, as hard, as stressful, etc. as the employer wants, and the employee's only option is to seek other employment. There is no duty on employers to limit stress or workload, and jobs can, legally, be quite frankly unreasonable or even impossible.
Based on what you write, you do not appear to have any legal rescourse against your employer.


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