Patty K. on September 21, 2010
I had an extremely high risk of breast cancer and on the recommendation of several trusted physicians and my own choice along with my husband, underwent a prophylactic double, skin-sparing mastectomy 2 months ago. I tried to return to work 6 weeks after surgery and had no idea what that would really entail. Although I am a Hospice Nurse Supervisor, my needing more time to rehabilitate to my new life was not understood or appreciated. I drive an hour and a half to and from work every day which proved to be extremely difficult. I started physical therapy as I could not make it through a full 8-10 hour day at the office and still make it home. After 2 visits, my doctor placed driving restrictions on me and said I could work from home but not drive until I had more physical therapy and they felt it was safe. My co-workers and Director have not been pleased with this even though 95% of my job can be done at any computer and phone. I was told last Thursday that my Director was no longer willing to make this accomodation after this week. I just learned today that I am classified as a "Previvor" to breast cancer, not a "Survivor" because I was not actually diagnosed with cancer. My question is, do I have any rights in comparison to someone who actually had cancer or a disability? Is what they are doing - harassing from co-workers and refusing reasonable accomodations allowed? I have been at my job for over 1 year and I qualify for FMLA. My Doctor is completely willing to fill out the paperwork for this, however, my Director stated to me that I would have to be off of work completely (and that would be unpaid) if I cannot drive to the office to do my job, even though she fully acknowledge that I have been doing my job thoroughly from home. She feels the others are being disrupted by me not showing a physical presence at the office. Help me please if you can. I loved my job before I had surgery and now I feel beat up when I am already so physically and emotionally weak after surgery.