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Coping in the workplace with the serious illness of a fellow employee

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#1 Guest_Jude the Grouch_*

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:10 AM

Coping in the workplace with the serious illness of a fellow employee. If a worker is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, they are under no obligation to tell their employer unless it has started to impact their ability to do their job. New Brunswick Business Journal. 04/12/08. (Also see: Disability)

#2 Sweet


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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:54 AM

What terrific info, thanks!
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#3 truman


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Posted 21 April 2008 - 09:01 AM


Interesting article. I did keep it a secret until it became too much. I confided in my roommate and fellow employee who kept the secret and began helping me with my workload. When it all became too much and I had to have the amputation, I did tell HR. There was one in the office who would peek through personal items of the higher ups and would blab about this and that. In addition, after I told HR, I would find certain individuals coming up to me expressing their sadness over my medical condition. So much for confidentiality! The only one who kept my secret was my office roommate.

It is what it is...........

#4 Kamlesh


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Posted 21 April 2008 - 05:13 PM

There is a fine balance here. My HR advised me not to share with my management as under new HIPPA rules in USA it is not required. However, I have been very fortunate to have supportive management. When they understand my complex health issues, they have been more than accommodative to support my needs. Without their support, I could not have managed full time job. I am at more than a decade away from getting Medicare healthcare insurance, enjoy working, and have obligation of two bright kids in college looking for my support. So I have a plenty of reason to work. I would love to stay home, but it is not practical at this stage of life. I simply try to find inner strength to keep going as long as I can.

Well, when so many issues are stacked against us, once in a while finding supportive environment helps.
Kind regards,


#5 JJ-Knitter


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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:40 PM

This article is written by a lawyer in one of the Canadian Maritime Provinces - I'd be extremely careful, no matter where you live, to do more research on your labor laws regarding this matter before coming to a decision that can have such far-reaching consequences.

My own gut feeling (no GI issues referred to here LOL) is that no matter what you think your protections are under the law, once you have given "negative" health information out, you have placed yourself at some risk. What's better? Not saying anything more than you absolutely have to (and any time sooner than you absolutely have to) or fighting it out in labor court?

Relying on confidentiality in a business setting also sounds a bit iffy to me.

As my ma-in-law used to say, even paranoids have enemies.

#6 barefut


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:43 AM

Thanks for this thread Judy and all who replied.

I have often wondered if I did the right thing or not in disclosing my scleroderma to my boss.

#7 janey


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Posted 23 April 2008 - 04:17 AM

The last time I had a job where I worked out of the house, I did end up having to disclose my physical limitation to HR. I was hired on when the company was in the process of moving. It was an educational museum that was moving to a bigger space. Because it was non-profit, they required employees to do "whatever was required". I had to tell the HR director that I would NOT be able to assist with moving objects, painting, or many of the duties that were needed to be done. He completely understood and asked if I could find something that I could do. (The work I was hired to do was on hold until after the move.) So I ended up assembly 2000 stools for the exhibits and classrooms. It got boring, but I could do it sitting down and at my pace. Most of my fellows employees didn't care and those that did were dealt with by the others and basically told to "back off".

There are some situations where you have to disclose it, but if you don't - as my mother always said, "What they don't know won't hurt them." :)

Big Hugs,
Janey Willis
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