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Requesting Accommodations at Work

After a terrible flare up I finally decided to talk to my HR and receive on the record accommodations.

I requested a flexible schedule/hours when an attack occurs or a flare up happens. Then to narrow my tasks to essential only. Plus a headset that doesn't rest on my head.

My HR said my accommodation requests are complicated and they need to contact the state advocacy group and this would extend the process to be much longer.

They didn't understand how I wouldn't need FMLA and frequent sick time. I mentioned that migraine disorder isn't a simple disorder and has quite a wide spectrum. That I just need time to take my medication and I can make up my work. I'm slow during attacks so essential tasks only would be my capacity.

I keep asking them to look at askJan.org migraine page but they won't. From all my research the flexible schedule is a very common accommodation for migraine as frequent sick time isn't necessary.

They are making me feel crazy am I making some weird unusual requests?

  1. Hi @Mwolx,

    Not at all! You're not crazy for asking for reasonable accommodations, which yours seem to be. I'm sorry they are delaying things. I wonder if they are trying to make it difficult so you'll give up your requests?

    Have you seen our information on this topic here; https://migraine.com/migraine-basics/ada-accommodations-the-workplace/.

    We're in your corner!! I hope your employer gets on this sooner rather than later!!

    Will you keep me posted? Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. Thank you! I contacted a JAN rep to confirm my accommodations request was appropriate. They let me know that what I requested was very straight forward and common for migraine.

      They also mentioned while my employer has a right to be informed and get the third party help I still need to receive accommodations in a timely manner which includes temporary accommodations while permanent are researched. If those are denied I can file a complaint.

      I contacted my HR again and let them know I was uncomfortable with the conversation that took place and though it may of not been intended it came off as degrading. I also requested they do research into accommodations that are given to people with migraines as they had responded to a straight forward accommodation as complicated. Once informed we could start negotiation discussions again. I provided multiple links to get them started.

      I don't like being treated as if I'm creating a huge issue when I feel like I'm asking for the minimum. I think people try to fit migraine into one description but it varies and it is a spectrum.

  2. Exactly, @Mwolx!!

    Migraine is a genetic, neurobiological disease that indeed falls on a spectrum from mild to severely debilitating. I'm so sorry they are dragging their feet. Stick with it - you're not doing anything wrong!!

    Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. As an update I've been labeled combative for telling HR I felt uncomfortable and providing them links for more information on accommodations for migraines.

      By saying they may need more information I was being told that implied they were incompetent and unqualified. They took this very personally and again called me combative and that I made up in my head that they said disrespectful things. They pinned my boss and I against each other so I said I'll stop talking to my boss privately on the manner and they could inform her. It's safer for us both, I don't want her caught up in their mess more than required.

      HR needs sensitivity training on nonvisible disabilities and written procedures on accommodations. They asked if I expected them to announce each step, I said I expect it not to be a surprise each time. They did not think written procedures were recommended??

      They pinned me in a conversation against the top two HR employees by myself. I was emotional and felt the power dynamic was unfairly balanced. I asked in the future for multi people discussions that I have an advocate present to help me communicate and understand things as they unfold.

      I'm not optimistic. I think it is more offensive that they told me I don't understand what comments are upsetting to myself. I think it is ridiculous to imply combativness for providing more information to help a conversation - I do research at my job when I'm not sure of the topic to better handle it, that makes me more competent not less.

      I am sure they will turn my two most recent requests into something it's not. In an attempt to continue to label me combative.

      1. Hi @KKenai,
        Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It's good to know we're not alone when dealing with this sort of thing.
        I am sorry to hear your career was sidelined by migraine disease - unfortunately you're not alone in this either!
        Hope today is a good day,
        Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

      2. Hi ,

        Thank you for sharing this with us! It's good to know we're not alone in dealing with difficult situations.
        Have a great day, Nancy Harris Bonk Patient Advocate/Moderator

    2. You are certainly not alone. Your post sounds all too familiar. Stay strong and remember you’re only asking that they comply with the law. If you have more trouble, reach out to an employment lawyer.

      1. Hi
        Great point! Thank you for sharing that. It's an awful situation to be in.
        Have a good day, Nancy Harris Bonk Patient Advocate/Moderator

      2. @foserica it can certainly be quite an arduous experience having to jump through hoops to get accommodation at work. That's excellent advice when you suggested getting an employment lawyer to help. It may cost a bit but it will be worth it to be treated respectfully and fairly. Warmly, Cheryl migraine.com team

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