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No Pity: A Community for People with Disabilities

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I did it! [Jul. 14th, 2012|12:44 pm]
No Pity: A Community for People with Disabilities


I got a job, and I start Tuesday. I'm a little nervous, I've been out of work for years and I don't know how I'll handle it.

I asked for stool when cashiering but I was told that it wouldn't be possible, so I asked if I could bring water in to keep my hydrated as I get hot very easily.

I'm a little bummed about not being able to have a stool or chair but I'll do the best I can, I guess. And even though the hours range from 15-20 per week, I can do as little or as much as I want, so I'm going to work twelve hours and leave it at that.

For those who have not worked in a while and returned to work, did you find the adjustment hard?

I know this is going to affect my SSI but I don't care since I don't get much from it to begin with.

[User Picture]From: atalantapendrag
2012-07-14 05:24 pm (UTC)
Did they give you a good reason why you couldn't have a stool? It's a very simple accommodation.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-07-14 05:28 pm (UTC)
No, I'm going to ask. If it's because they can't supply one, I'll buy it myself. It's really not a big deal which was why I was surprised that the store manager said she couldn't accommodate me that way.
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[User Picture]From: deborahw37
2012-07-14 05:37 pm (UTC)
A stool is a reasonable adjustment and your new boss is on the wring side of the law!

Congratulations BTW
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[User Picture]From: yasonablack
2012-07-14 05:57 pm (UTC)

I'm agreeing with the stool being a super reasonable accommodation as well. I got a cashier job a few weeks ago and they literally took one of the registers and completely retrofitted it until it fits my exact wheelchair specifications while being ergonomically correct and safe for my body. So if they can do that for me, then your place should definitely allow you a stool and water at the very least. What kind of store is it, if you don't mind my asking?

And up until now I've been out of a job for almost three years. Pain-wise, my body's still adjusting but mentally it's a super great feeling to be earning money again and being social with people, but I've found a super accepting place to work, so my adjustment's probably a lot easier than it could have been.

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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-07-14 06:02 pm (UTC)
I'm working at TJ Maxx.

I'm hoping to have the same outcome as you. As far as hours go, I can work as little or as much as I want as long as it's 15-20 hrs or less a week, so at least there's that.

I wonder if maybe the stool is because there isn't one. But I can ask and see if they'll allow it if I buy my own, which I don't have a problem doing.
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-07-15 03:08 am (UTC)
Wow, that's really awful. I have fibro too so I literally feel your pain. I've notice that activity triggers it - specifically walking. I went to Atlantic City for the weekend in June and holy crap, my body was in so much pain I couldn't shower properly.

For some reason, my abdomen is really affected by the pain. Of course, my legs, butt and thighs are as well, but my abdomen hurts the most during a flare up.

I've worked retail before, but it's been some time. I actually don't mind it aside from the standing. Arthritis sucks, especially when you're not even -that- old, and knowing that it's just going to get worse with time can be pretty depressing. Hence, why I asked for a stool.

I'm going to do what others suggested. Document and remind the manager that under the ADA, I'm allowed to have a reasonable accommodation, but before I do that, I'm going to was why I'm not allowed a stool. It may just be that the manager doesn't have one and doesn't want to use company money to get one. In that case, I'll happily supply one.

I'm really, really, really sorry that you got treated that way :/

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[User Picture]From: zandperl
2012-07-14 10:58 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend documenting everything that happens between you and the employer related to your disability. By "document" I mean jot down notes to yourself in some format or other, where you write down the date and time (to the best of your ability), what you asked for, what your employer's response was at the time, and what actually happened (along with when it happened). At best you can use it as a reminder when your boss says s/he'll do something but forgets to do it, and at worst (as in climbfall78's case) you can use it as evidence if you decide to report an ADA violation.

Also, it may help to bring a note from your doctor saying that you require a stool and water due to your disability. Give a copy to your boss and a copy to the Equal Opportunity Officer in the Human Resources department or to the head of HR. From my experience, HR departments know the ADA and other employment-related laws and regulations better than bosses, and HR will order your boss to comply with the law.

Best of luck, and keep us posted! :)
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-07-15 03:10 am (UTC)
That's a great idea about the doctor's note. Thanks for the suggestion!
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[User Picture]From: chariqueer
2012-07-16 04:23 am (UTC)
Congrats on the new job!

A few tips:
1. You absolutely are not required to tell your employer anything about your disability. But you totally can if you want to, and if you're asking for an accommodation, you may need to disclose that you have a disability and how accommodations will help, but you don't need to give irrelevant medical info.
2. When asking for stuff related to anything that would improve you ability to do your job, that's a reasonable accommodation, and don't hesitate to ask for it. Also, though, may I suggest something? When you ask, focus on how it will improve your job performance. Examples:
- "The Americans with Disabilities Act requires you to provide reasonable accommodation. Because of my disability, I can't stand all day. I need to sit on a stool."
- "I am excited about this job and as a person with a disability, I need a reasonable accommodation to excel at my duties. I am request the use of a stool at Checkstand #2. During slow times, I can conserve my enery so that at busy times, I can give 110% effort toward customer service, just as I've been trained to do."
Yes, it's OK to be cheesey once in a while... and that was laying it on pretty thick, but the point I'm trying to make is that sometimes, presentation counts. Some bosses may need to be reminded that we just want to do a great job and get paid--same as everyone else. Use your judgement, but just know that you might get better results if you candy-coat your message. (It's not really fair, but sometimes you do what you've got to do.)
3. If you have specific questions or need assistance, call your local Independent Living Center. That's what they're trained for!

Rock on!
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[User Picture]From: chariqueer
2012-07-16 04:30 am (UTC)
Crap, I forgot to add that the request should probably be written and should include the phrase "reasonable accommodation" in the first line. Other folks said that! We have smarties in this group! :)
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[User Picture]From: starrynight
2012-07-16 04:01 pm (UTC)
I disclosed my disability because I wrote that down as a reason for leaving my last job. I probably could have just gotten away with "personal reasons", but I thought it would just be better to be honest.

When the store manager asked about limitations, that's when I said standing for long periods of time can be a bother (arthritis & fibro). Then I asked if it would be possible to get a stool, and I was told no. Now, this could be as simple as the manager not having one around for me to use. If that's the case, then I'll get my own. If not, then I'll ask why. And I'll do what you say, explain that having an accommodation will help me do my job a lot better.

And it's true, I am excited to have a job. I enjoyed having my own money and while getting SSDI is okay, I want to get out of the house and earn a little extra each month.
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2012-09-17 01:10 pm (UTC)

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