I am employed with a library system, my title is a circulation clerk. I have had MS since before my employment began with the Library in 2012. I recall that even in my initial job interview,I couldn't come up with an answer to a pretty easy question. I knew both managers that were interviewing, so that's probably how I got the job. I know in my heart that that interview was borderline terrible. Now I know, 4 1/2 years later, that beginning interview was foreshadowing a small piece of the cognitive issues that have plagued me ever since, in personal life as well as in my during my employment at the library. They aren't horrible constantly, but I'm afraid I have permanent cognitive damage from recurrences over the years. I'm 32, and was dx'd in the summer of 2011 with what the neuro described as a very agreesive form of RRMS. I owned my own café when I first had symptoms appear. It was the worst; tingling arms and legs, walking unsteadily, optic neuritis in BOTH eyes, speaking and writing like a 5yr old... emotional lability issues, upper-torso banding, and lastly, fatigue. This initial flare lasted over two months. That's ALL of the long-winded intro! Thanks for reading this far! Through medication and mostly taking control of my health by strictly adhering to a healthy whole/not processed diet and exercising regularly, I do well for the most part. I still have random flare ups. I have leg tremors when I go down stairs, so I don't go down stairs. The cognitive issues persist on the regular now. I have good and bad days. As of 4/2014 I had a flare up that caused me to leave an all employee meeting in tears over another easy round the room question that everyone else had to answer! I fled the meeting to the bathroom crying when it was my turn. I think I said "I'm sorry, I'm really nervous..." tears streaming... After that, I cleaned my face up and made it through the rest of the meeting. I then caught my manager and disclosed that I have MS. I also disclosed it to my circ coworkers. The clerk team was very helpful after this and helped me when I got a flare up. I didn't feel afraid to ask for their clarification on an issue. Or help with how to do something I hadn't been trained on, or had been but couldn't remember precise procedures for. It was a great support team, mostly. I am a positive, productive, nice person, qualified, flexible, we'll liked, silly, customers love me, and I've had great yearly reviews until this last year with my new supervisor. Within the past year, some immediate coworkers have stopped being helpful when I ask for their help. Instead, they ridicule me and even email my supervisor for any little mistake I make. Mistakes that other people in my position make regularly and face no write ups, or verbal warnings for. My supervisor wrote me up recently and on that write up, she included all of the past years' verbal and written warnings. I am human, I make mistakes sometimes. I own up to mistakes when I make them and proceed to correct my future actions. With the exception of one write up, all of these write ups are based on here say from my fellow clerks. Nothing my supervisor directly witnessed. I know I'm being singled out. It is not fair at all. I am going to go speak with my supervisor's boss, the library manager on Wednesday. I emailed her requesting to have a discussion with her. I am very nervous. Scared I'll mis-speak or have to much anxiety to plead my case! I'm just wanting her to hear my side, I don't want special treatment or any outrageous accommodation, other than Coworkers that will help me when I have a question rather than verbally ridicule me in front of customers or worse email my supervisor implying that I'm incompetent. She's a newer manager at my library branch, and i also know that she has an auto immune disease, so maybe she'll have some first hand understanding of what I'm going through, ... and who I am! I hope I was clear writing this. I am confused right now from all this stress. I love my work and hope that I can find some way to not lose my job over gossipy coworkers and a supervisor that won't take me seriously. I know some of my ADA rights. I know that I can't requeat an accommodation that creates an undue hardship for my employer. I just would like to have support from coworkers when I have a question. Or even reassignment to a different branch. it is a very large library system. Any thoughts and/or advice is welcome. Thanks for reading!
I think you said it well, "I dont want special treatment or any outrageous accommodation...... " It is a great sentence that sums it up well, including also reassignment. If you speak from your heart, about you, the honesty will be appreciated. Perhaps, this manager will discuss with your coworkers the legal rights of the disabled/less able/more challenged. Perhaps also, your coworkers are stressed about their own situations too and forget that they also are professionals.
I too had the same issues when interviewing. I had a great opportunity to intern at the Straz Center in Tampa, FL doing IT work which I had just graduated college in. I sat therein the chair and when I was asked simple questions that I knew the answer to I seemed to not be able to speak the answer. When I left I knew that I would not be working there. I then applied for a job with another IT company. During the interview I knew all the answers and that made me feel good. I know that this should not have been said but I told the company that I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 while in the Army. I was told that ehy would call me in a week as they had other applicants to interview. I waited for the week and no call so I instantly knew that I was not going to get the job. Then on 4/6/2015 I received a call and I was told that if I was interested they would like to offer me the position. I had the fear that because I had MS my co-workers would treat me different. Now 2 years later everyone has accepted that I have MS even though I have fallen at work several times and I stress to them that when I fall it is not their fault and I will never collect workers compensation because me falling is not their fault. When I started I could walk like a normal person and over time it has gotten progressively (sorry if I misspeled that word) and they have been very supportative and have made my desk closer to the door to make it easier to walk with my cane and when I have had to use my wheelchair I have people asking if they could help me.
Hi Alice84, I'm glad you reached out with your situation. I'm glad that you have requested a meeting with the Library Manager and can understand why you are nervous, I would suggest preparing for the meeting with a list of items you want to cover, concerns you have, etc that way if you get nervous you won't forget the main points you want to talk about. We have some information on our website that discusses employment issues, including disclosure and accomodation that might be helpful to look at, you can find this information here:
Additionally, the National MS Society has MS Navigators experienced with MS related benefits and employment concerns. Please do not hesitate to call 1-800-344-4867 to speak with this team.
Good luck at your meeting tomorrow and hang in there!
MS Navigator Ashley
Sorry that happened to you. I have had many poor experience. For that reason I do not self disclose but, I do have an advocate. I would document what is happening to you. It is illegal! As long as your performing your job with accommodations. You can file a complaint with the state if you can't get resolution. I would recommend you have someone file on your behalf if at all possible. In my case things got real ugly. For a lot of complex reasons. Stay strong stay in in the fight! Your far from alone. You could also look to see if you have a disability advocate group in your area! Good Luck
Hi Alice, I highly recommend that you write down your major talking points. Easy, big font list form, with short phrase examples. Stay on point - you are being written up for things that others are not. It's unfair a potentially hostile work environment that needs to stop. If you have a union rep, you might ask them to come with you. Good luck.
Just wanted to update that I followed up with the library manager, then HR who gave me FMLA paperwork - and at last, got it signed and sent to the HR department!!! I AM PROTECTED!!! :-)