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umcane86

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 #1 
Our company policy is that you can telework up to 66% of your time, but our department only allows 1 day per week. Since I had a baby a year ago, I have been allowed two days a week... which has been a blessing since my lupus flares have been awful (CRP and SED rate were both almost 10 times above what they should be and I have been on steroids for the last month). My boss recently told me I would need to go back to 1 day a week out of fairness for the rest of the staff. I said I could get a doctors note and am going to the rheumatologist again next week. HR told me once we get the note we can see what, if any accommodations can be made. The two days a week makes a huge difference as it allows me to rest, not sit in traffic with the sun glaring in and work with minimal distractions (which helps when I have really bad brain fog). 

Any advice on what I should say or do to help convince HR to allow me to continue to telework multiple days a week? Or anything the doctor should mention in particular to help my case? I know they do not have to abide by a doctor's advice/note...I am really stressed out about this (which again doesnt help the lupus).
Robinj

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 #2 
Are you already covered by FMLA?
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umcane86

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 #3 
Yes, I am covered by FMLA. I used FMLA when my child was born, when I went back to work they let me begin the teleworking 2 days a week.
Robinj

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 #4 
Ahhh. So have you used all your 12 weeks?
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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
umcane86

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 #5 
yeah
Robinj

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 #6 
Normally you cannot apply again until a year is up from the initial leave, but since this would technically be a separate issue, there may be some recourse. That would be if you have an official lupus dx. You can try calling the US Dept of Labor for more info:

For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and /or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

On the other hand, if you are a valued employee, I would like to think you can plead your case as you did here. "The two days a week makes a huge difference as it allows me to rest, not sit in traffic with the sun glaring in and work with minimal distractions (which helps when I have really bad brain fog)."

I know how HR depts can be. Have you asked your co-workers how they would feel if you were allowed to continue? Might help your case if they are supportive as well. 



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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
lupuscommunity

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 #7 
I would stress the increased productivity that can be generated by you being able to work from home two days a week, which allows you to recoup from the stress of your commute.  Also by having less stress, there is less likelihood that you will flare, and maintaining good health status means less demand for more expensive health care, lost productivity, etc.  I would stress the economic benefits of the company, but don't over exaggerate them.  If you lose credibility they will be less inclined to cooperate with you.  At the same time, you should always do whatever you can to increase your productivity or at least do whatever you can to make certain that your lack of physical presence in the office is not a detriment to your other team members (not that you are not already doing this).  You might proactively check in with other team members when you are there to learn if there are any issues that are not being addressed with you directly when you are out of the office. Just reaching out to them and expressing your continued commitment to the overall success of your department's objectives will go a long way to building confidence that you are putting in 100% effort while you are working from home.   
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wings65

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 #8 
@lupuscommunity - excellent advice.
Robinj

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 #9 
@Wings. I would agree to a point, however, the reality is that most of us common folks working regular jobs are replaceable. Sorry, but , it is what it is.
The perfect world is that every company really cares about it's workers, but the truth is they don't. Bottom line is the mighty dollar. Good? No. Truth? Yes.

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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
Cakelady

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 #10 
I agree with Robin I was in a speciality field and when I got to sick to work I begged to work from home and I was told no. It's kinda funny this question came up today because I was up at 12:20 am California time thanks to a high dose of pred. Anyway there is not much on at that time so I decided to go looking through my emails and deleting things etc.

I ran across a picture of Robin much to her horror:) but I ran across the emails to and from my work. My boss and I were real close one of us always had to be there so I knew when I started having seizures and had to miss work that a lot fell on her. But I did ask to work from home and plenty of times I took work home in the past. We also had several other people working from home several days a week so I did not think it would be an issue. I had been atmy job almost 20 years with that university and in the field itself longer. I was shocked and hurt when they told me no. To further it I could not understand why coworkers were not returning calls or emails and management told them they were not allowed to contact me.

Just be very careful. I was very sick and I should have had someone help me and work to help me keep my job. For me it turned out ok. My employer had LTD (long term disability) and STD (short term disability). I have to prove each year that I am to sick to work so the have to subsidize my SSDI. In that respect I am lucky.

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Robinj

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 #11 
Yup Where I am  now, if you have an issue with a co-worker, it cannot be anonymous. It must be confrontational.
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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
KLMJSM

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 #12 
Lupus in the workplace was one of the biggest challenges I have had with this disease. Every individual, employer, and state (Right to Work State?) is different, so I am NOT offering advice on this. But I will share some of my experience if it helps.

I was in sales and most managers didn't care that I had SLE as long as I hit my sales goals, which I did. Then one day they hired a new division head who told my sales manager to find out more about "that Lupus thing." She quizzed me about the disease and how it affected me. I tried to be "clinical" in my answers, but in the course of the conversation I said that my sales territory required minimum traveling and that helped me a lot. Traveling for business was tiring and stressful and brought on flares. Also, we had some flexibility in working from home, which I did when I needed more rest. (Working from home helped everyone with productivity because of horrendous commute times in my community.)

Shortly after that conversation, they told me they were changing my sales territory to a national footprint. It would have put me on the road constantly, traveling from coast to coast. (coincidence? I didn't think so.) I consulted an attorney who specialized in ADA cases. He said I could not keep them from terminating me because companies can find creative ways to terminate just about anyone. But he told me I could make it harder for them and he told me what to do and say. Following his advice, I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with my HR rep. I did not refer to the conversation with my sales manager or the proposed change in sales territory. Instead, I was there to inquire about the ADA and how it might help me continue being a productive employee. We discussed acommodations in general and she asked what I thought I might need. I told her about the travel and working from home and she thought that was reasonable. She took copious notes and ended by commenting on how well I had succeeded in balancing my medical condition with work requirements thus far. Basically, what I did was go on record as coming under the ADA.

End of story: 1. Another sales position, comparable to the one I had but in a division with only local sales territories came open, I applied, and got that job. So I don't know what would have happened had I stayed in the original position.
2. The Division Manager was ultimately fired. (Yay)
3. I ultimately retired from that company on my own terms after 37 years.
4. As noted in my first paragraph, we are all individuals in our own situations, so what happened to me may not apply to others. For one thing, I worked for a large, publicly traded firm. As such, it was perfectly reasonable for me to approach HR as I did. It was not perceived as a threat to my direct line of management. This may not be possible in a smaller company. Second, I have been very blessed that my Lupus symptoms were manageable to the extent that I could work a full-time job. Many people with Lupus are not able to do that and my heart hurts for them. I can only imagine how hard that must be.
5. I think the advice posted above from the Lupus Community Administrator has a lot of merit.
6. Finally, a comment about driving in the sun. If you haven't done so already, consider getting your car windows UV treated. (You can do that also for your home if you have a lot of windows and a lot of sun.)

Hope this wasn't boring and I hope it helps someone even a little.







umcane86

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 #13 
Thank you all for your advice! I really appreciate hearing the different perspectives and what y'all have faced from your jobs. 

I've been working from home for over a year, two days a week, with zero complaints from any superiors or people i conduct business with. I check in frequently with my boss and am always available on our internal messenger system. I've never had a bad review or complaint while teleworking. From what I understand from one of my coworkers, the real reason they are requesting me to come down to one day a week, is because 2 or 3 people in my department said they didn't think it was fair that I was allowed to telework more than they were and complained several times to management that i was receiving preferential treatment. Hopefully the note from the rheumatologist will be enough to suffice because the work from home days truly make a huge difference and if theyre taken away, I am not sure what to do. I hate using my disease as an "excuse" and while I am fairly open with my boss about my general medical condition, I hate having to go in to details and get "special treatment". 

From what I gathered, from all of your comments, the best course, when talking with HR, is to discuss how i have succeeded in balancing my work requirements and medical conditions thus far and how the multiple work from home days have aided in that, how continuing to allow me to have the flexibility it leads to increased productivity and less of a health care cost to the company. When y'all talked to HR did you go in to detail about symptoms other than being vague, ie: fatigue or light sensitivity, raynauds/cold sensitivity etc. I really dont want to have to go through a whole checklist of everything, it makes me uncomfortable talking to people I work with about that....
Robinj

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 #14 
I would explain instead of antibodies attacking bad cells they attack good ones too. So for you that means (insert major symptoms).  I would definitely touch on how the sun effects us ( increases disease activity). Lastly reiterate that being able to continue to work and do a great job as well is very important to you. I would offer to explain that to co-workers as well. They probably just don't know much about lupus.
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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
Robinj

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 #15 
I think keeping a good relationship with Co workers is important. We all know how nasty jealous people can be. And many times unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Just saying
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When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. 
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