Job accomodations plus pain when sitting

Has anyone applied for disability accommodations in your workplace?

Before I knew I had EM, I hated working in an office because I would have pain in my legs and feet. I thought I had arthritis in my sacroiliac and that was the reason I was having pain all the way down to my feet. On the NORD rare diseases website it says: “Many affected individuals find that symptoms worsen with a dependent (or “hanging down”) position. Accordingly, episodes may potentially be avoided or reduced by elevating involved regions.”, which applied in my case. I didn’t have a standing job so I never knew how much my feet hurt to stand on them til now.

I now work for Walmart. I work a 5 hour shift and it is very painful but I need the money. You would think it would be easy to get accommodations for a disorder so painful but wow, it is not. I do have the medical records of where the doctor says, “The cause of her symptoms fit well with Primary Erythromelalgia”. That seems so non-commital to me. He also goes onto say, she can’t work as a cashier but she does well otherwise. OMG, I wish. Where did he get that at, that I am doing well? He is a neurologist, why can he not understand that Erythromelalgia means a lot of pain. I am 63 yrs old, btw.

If you have a diagnosis of EM, you should not have to fight to get accommodations at work. I had a reduced schedule for 3 years and now Walmart is forcing me out of my position if I don’t go to a 9 hour day. I would die. I can’t even get an office job because if I can’t sit with my legs in the chair, I am miserable.

Mostly just venting…but also was wondering if anyone had gotten accommodations or if you also have pain when your legs are hanging down in a chair.

Question: Do you have full range of motion (ROM) at your knee and hip? If you do, you could simulate a nondependent foot position while seated. That would involve combining hip flexion (approximately 110-130 degrees) with knee flexion (about a 155 degree angle) while in a seated position. In short, you’d be placing the sole of your foot on the seat with your heel towards your buttocks. That position puts the femur in a near vertical position and requires blood to flow against gravity to reach the foot. Alternating one leg up and one leg down in said position should provide relief similar to having your legs up.

It does require full ROM at the knee and hip though and that is something at 63 years old you may no longer have. Obesity can also limit ROM.

It’s not that I don’t have range of motion but most employers won’t let you sit like that. And being in a dress also eliminates that position. :slight_smile:

If you get a doctor’s note stating it is medically necessary, an employer is required by federal law to accommodate it. If they will not, you can file a lawsuit against them under the Americans With Disabilities Act. A modest accommodation like that is exactly the type of thing the ADA was designed to force. Walmart knows they have to make accommodations for disabled employees.

That is my issue, I really can’t get a doctor’s note stating the accommodation. I no longer have health insurance, so all I have is the medical report of when I was dx’d in 2017. According to what I am reading and understanding is…as long as you have a documented disability, you do not have to have a doctor state the specific accommodations but you must have been dx’d with that disability. For instance, the TEA website lists types of accommodations that someone with EM would benefit from and schedule changes are on that list.

I’m hoping I’m reading and understanding it correctly. I read it on the ADA website but I could be missing something.

These are questions best answered by a lawyer. There are a number of free legal aid services for lower income families. The American Bar Association provides a service like that for simple legal questions here.

Thanks Carter…:smiley:

A letter from a doctor is not enough.

You probably need to apply for FMLA, your HR department will have all the information for you. Although, since you work part time I’m not sure how the FMLA rules apply, I’m only well versed on FMLA for full time employees.

You typically must have been employed for one year before you may apply for FMLA and the paperwork does require a doctor’s signature.

Check with HR about ADA requirements as well, your employer may need to make reasonable accommodations for you to continue working, although, again, I believe it’s different for full time and part time work. Check with HR.

azurelle

1 Like

You are eligible for FMLA leave if you’ve worked 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, and have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. Even if you qualify, FMLA leave is unpaid unless it runs concurrently with sick leave, vacation, STD, etc.

Your entitlement to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA doesn’t depend on length of employment or how many hours you’ve worked. Unfortunately, an employer like Walmart will probably require more than a doctor’s note or past medical records, but as others have said, you should check with HR.

There are few, if any, simple legal questions or answers when it comes to the ADA, but regardless, www.avvo.com is another legal resource you may want to check out for information. If you decide to consult a lawyer, you can also try www.nela.org.

You can also try the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at www.eeoc.gov for both information and if you want to enforce your rights under the ADA (assuming Walmart is violating them, that is). One thing to keep in mind if you want to talk to a real person at the EEOC is that the EEOC was closed during the government shutdown, so if that happens again, that option might be temporarily unavailable. Your state might have an equivalent agency, however, depending on where you live.

Your employer should have a form for your employer for your doctor to fill out. Also, check to see if you qualify for disability retirement from Walmart. If you are in that much pain, that might be a option. If you do get disability retirement, as soon as you stop working, file for social security. Whatever you have filled out, make sure you print out and attach the description os EM. Good luck!