Posts Tagged ‘disability’


HR tutorial on handling Depression at work

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

New from your friends in the legal-averse HR industry: a webinar for HR folks on how to avoid granting (un)paid leave or making federal law mandated accommodations for people with mental disabilities called depression.

Session title: “Depression in the Workplace”

A rational person would think the session would be led by a psychologist, but nooo, it’s an attorney from the Eyres Law Group. Of course, if you or I non-attorneys professed to opine on subjects delving into the application of laws, we would be accused of an illegal act. But attorneys believe mental health and psychology are something not requiring any training or specialization.

The webinar topic list is upsetting, given what we know about the trauma that workplace bullying causes. And the fact that 49% of bullied individuals suffer clinical depression for the first time in their lives at the hands of an abuser at work!

Look at these webinar goals:

• How to tell if a depressed employee is “disabled” under the ADA’s mental impairment definition (WBI: the only thing worse than attorneys playing psychologist is HR doing the same. Yikes!)

• Whether depression is generally a “covered” disability if it’s the result of an underlying medical condition or due to an emotional trauma (WBI: which, of course, would never be caused BY the workplace)

• The medical inquires, limited examinations, and documentation you may legally request that the employee provide in support of a need for leave as accommodation (WBI: here’s where employers hire their own hack shrink who conducts an “independent” medical exam guaranteed to conclude that the problem is not real, these medical professionals rarely practice outside employer panels)

• How to respond to erratic attendance and persistent tardiness, including when to raise potential FMLA leave as an option (WBI: FMLA, in most cases is unpaid leave forcing workers to stay on the job against their physicians’ advice)

• How to successfully manage intermittent leave for chronic depression and curb potential FMLA abuse related to depressed workers (WBI: yes, abuse of unpaid leave is surely a chronic problem in the American laborforce that works more hours than workers in any other industrialized nation because there is no paid sick leave policies and leaves must be begged for. This smells like employer paranoia. Too bad employers don’t have to answer yet for real abuse, abuse of employees!)

• When you may legally discipline or terminate an employee with depression without sparking liability under federal disability and leave laws (WBI: Ah yes, the real agenda — how to fire the harmed employee.)

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bully Crosses the Line

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

I was the assistant to a manager of a large department in a department store. I had nothing but good reviews, got along great with my boss and with her boss. One day her boss was promoted and her replacement moved in from another store. He had formerly been the manager of our department before my boss. He came in being mean to me and my boss.

I have lupus and a seizure disorder.  The new boss was advised by HR not to put me under fluorescent lights for prolonged periods because I had notes from my doctors.  He would make me stand at the registers all day or until I'd have a seizure, even though it wasn't my job. Once he grabbed my arm so hard he left bruises just because I said "hi' to one of the associates. He would time me in the mornings, set impossible limits on my crossing the building doing tasks.

My lupus flared from all the exposure to stress and lights and I had difficulty walking. He would trap me in his office and scream at me and spit in my face. He would make me move heavy boxes, once I had to move 80 cases of cosmetic gifts down a flight of stairs. I became so sick I could hardly walk or think. I would spend my lunch breaks alone crying in my car.

I went to HR every few days. They would talk to him and he would retaliate for me talking to them. I even went to corporate HR, they finally moved me, but cut my pay. HR ended up standing up for him to protect their company.

After I was moved he still found ways to harass me. My coworkers were afraid to be friends with me for fear they would become a target by association. My doctors took me out on medical leave and I've been out since. I'm told there are no anti-bullying laws where I live so there is nothing I can do. He has done this to others and is doing it to more people now. I do wish I had filed assault charges when he grabbed me.

CS


(more…)
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Posted in Let's Talk with Kalola | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



Another teacher suicide with workplace bullying causal factors

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Several factors typically merge that exacerbate the misery that convinces individuals who choose to die by suicide to act. Research has found that in workplaces where bullying operates simultaneously with several other negative conditions, it is the bullying that has the greatest deleterious effect on people — bullied targets and witnesses. Given that many people’s identities are centered around work and what one does for compensation, work can dominate home life factors.

Finally, to connect the dots, misery from work travels home readily. Bullying at work inevitably strains domestic relationships. Thus, for targets exposed to unremitting stress at work from bullying, a very personalized form of abuse, eventually it feels like the world is closing in on them. Taking one’s life suddenly becomes an option when no alternatives are visible.

Such a case was reported in the Bassett Unified School District in southern California. Jennifer Lenihan was a Bassett High art teacher, known by students for personally buying class supplies, creativity and loving the art museum. According to press reports quoting her stepfather, Lenihan was driven to suicide by the school principal, Robert Reyes and [name redacted at requested of alleged offender]. There were reports of the two administrators shaming Lenihan in front of teachers and students. And she was assigned a class with which she was unfamiliar (a classic tactic used to destabilize good veteran teachers) and told to teach the class or lose another class she wanted to teach.

She took stress leave, receiving half her salary for a short time. Her claims for disability insurance and workers’ compensation were both denied. She took out a personal loan to live. The district gave her two options: resign or apply for a waiting list for rehire. She was at the end of her rope. Her mother had given her rent money. The next day, July 1, she took her life.

Teachers union officers said the treatment Lenihan received is common at the district. Further, Reyes and [the other alleged offender] have a record of bullying teachers. The new district superintendent said there was no “written form” record of complaints from Lenihan. He said the district has no “morale” problem.

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Posted in Employers Gone Wild: Doing Bad Things, Unions | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »



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