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Glutening And Calling In Sick

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Hi everyone,

I'm having a work issue that I'd sure appreciate some help with (there will be some venting along the way!).

I was diagnosed gluten intolerant one year ago. I'm sure you veterans remember that there's a huge learning curve eating gluten-free your first year! I have been glutened a handful of times this year and have had to call in sick to work.

On Monday, my boss asked to speak with me. She said that she is now requiring me to have a doctor's note every time I call in sick. I have been open with her about my health issues (hypothyroid, adrenal/hormone issues as well) this whole year, so she is well aware of what's going on. I haven't overstepped my sick time, and I still have plenty left. She hasn't made this rule for anyone else, so this is obvious discrimination. She got really mad when I had to call in on the day of a Board meeting earlier this year, and I was afraid that I was going to lose my job. My doctor offered to call her. I relayed this offer to my boss, and she declined. I even offered to make her a copy of my test results as proof that I really do have some chronic health issues to deal with, and she declined that, too. I had my annual review in October, and she noted my attendance was "excellent", and gave me a 5 out of 5 for it. Since then, I've only called in sick one day. I don't get the about face.

I have explained to my boss what happens when I get glutened-unbelievable pain, nausea, loss of sleep, etc. I've told her that I don't want to get behind the wheel of a car after not sleeping all night, possibly putting my life and another motorist's in jeopardy. Her response was, "Sometimes I don't feel good and don't get a lot of sleep, but I still get up and do what I have to do because I'm the only one who can do it."

Because there are 6 employees at our company, I can't invoke FMLA because it only applies to companies with 50 or more employees. The only place I can go over my boss's head is to the Board of Directors. They will not be sympathetic. My boss's Mom is the President of the Board. While she excuses herself from matters relating to her daughter, she is still predisposed to take her side, obviously.

I'm at my wit's end. I was in tears this morning because I didn't want to go to work. I haven't been sleeping well, been throwing up, etc. My boss keeps nitpicking, trying to find mistakes I've made. I haven't made any major ones, only very minor ones like we all do in the course of our jobs, and she blows them up out of proportion. Whatever goes wrong is my fault. She treats everyone else in the office very well, and I don't understand why she's singling me out. She deliberately excluded me from the holiday lunch/gift exchange yesterday, too. Outside of work, I stand up for myself at the drop of a hat, but with the economy the way it is, I'm afraid to say anything back to her since there aren't any other jobs to be had. I want her to understand that I have a legitimate illness, and that there are days I can't come in, but at the same time, to know that I'm a good employee.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks for listening, I'm so glad there are people out there who understand!

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Honestly, having been in a similar situation, now you start looking for another job. Right or wrong, she's decided you're an unreliable employee, and there is often little you can do about it. The stress of her nitpicking you and watching over your shoulder will take it's toll on you. Until then, yeah, sometimes you'll have to drag yourself in when you feel sick (and don't hide feeling sick, or grabbing a nearby trashcan to throw up in if you can't make the toilet), and ALWAYS bring her a note when you are sick. You may, once you are feeling less hostage and more employee, sit down and talk to her - bring your back bone - and call her out, politely, on the issue. You are entitled to the full use of your sick leave, and she can't do a thing about it.

(Oh, and start documenting EVERYTHING, in case there is ever a need for a lawyer.)

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My last boss had the same attitude. I thought he would be understanding since he has Chrohn's disease, and his boss gave him several sick days.

If you love your job, like I did mine, then I would tread very carefully. Some people at the work place do not like to deal with emotional people because they don't think they are trust worthy or reliable.

Your best bet is to continue to seek the support of people who have experience with these situations.

Thinking back over the last few years, I think my boss was able to keep his job because he didn't show any emotions and left the office whenever he felt overwhelmed, then returned whenever he calmed down.

I have been on disability for the past year while I learned to cope with my condition. Hopefully, I can return to my previous job next year.

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I just wanted to say I'm sorry you are in this position. Being sick is hard enough, but worrying about these work things just adds to the stress. I feel for you. I've been fortunate to have my job a long time and don't have to worry about being out. But I rarely take off. I saw what happended to some people who did that (because of chronic illness) and I've always been afraid where being absent would leave me. Granted, my direct management has always been good to me, but others haven't been so lucky--and one never knows how the bosses boss feels about attendance. I live in a place where jobs have never been abundant, so it's always a worry.

It is hard to go to work being sick. I struggle with whether to take my IBS meds (that knock me out) and go to work or not take them an be in excriutiating pain at work. Sometimes I wish I could just stay home and not work, but that just isn't an option. I take it one day at a time.

I agree, do document. It would be sad if you ever had to get a lawyer, but one never knows what they might be faced with. It sounds like she's picking on you. I'll venture to guess that it's not that she doesn't believe you are sick, she doesn't want to accept it and so she's punishing you. Just make it go away already so we can get back to business as usual. And yes, she might feel like she can't count on you now. Perhaps you could talk to her about the fear.

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