This is a follow-up question for Mary M Esquire who gave me very good advice on my last questions.
In furtherance to the on-call situation with my law firm, I have been given a laptop and firm Blackberry and am supposed to be able to be contacted on a "24/7" basis. My firm does not consider this restrictive. We have a rotation schedule, but if that on-call person is not available, someone MUST respond to the request for assistance, day or evening, "24/7." No advance notice is required by the attorneys. As it turns out, I was supposed to be on-call all of Thanksgiving week. I was not available because I went out on disability leave on November 14, and am still on disability, for a non-malignant lump on my neck. This third lump was turned out to be scar tissue (giving me a stiff neck), as opposed to the other two that were operated on. My hours are 4 pm to Midnight, I work alone in the L.A. office, on the 39th floor of a highrise, Downtown building. The air conditioning goes off at 10:00 pm or 10:30 pm, at which time the cleaning crew mechine polishes the railings and clean the floors as well. On some nights, the polutants are so strong, I can barely breathe. On another night, there was an evacution given over the intercom for my floor at 11:30 p.m. and I had to run down 39 flights of stairs - I was alone and very frightened and not certain I should wait around should there be a large fire. As it turned out, the evacuation was called off, but since the intercom does not sound in the stairwell (for some strange reason), I kept running down the stairs. I can go on and on, but the pressure regarding these new on-call procedures, plus the isolation of working completely alone at night, came to a head on November 14. I received an Excel request right before I was to leave, around Midnight, and all of a sudden, my mind went completely blank. I didn't know how to do it (it was VERY simple, as I reflect upon it), and I had to request asssitance from another operator in the Chicago office. Suffice it to say, and unlike me in every way, I packed up all of my things, all seven boxes of my personal belongings, brought them down to my car, and have been on disability ever since - first for the new lump (which has since been declared scar tissue) and now for the stress working at that job has caused me, up to and including the point where my mind completely went blank. Prior to 2008, the layoffs, and where my partner was laid off, I had received excellent evaluations from Human Resources. After that time, four new administrators later, I have received two (unfair) write-ups and my response to each was not requested. When I received a warning on my second write-up (the first ever I received in my enteire 40 years of being a word processor/legal secretary), I felt disgraced and humiliated in every way.
The botXXXXX XXXXXne is, I am severely injured, both in body and mind, and I never want to go back to this firm. I do want to file a Complaint against this firm and am not sure if the Labor Board is the correct vehicle for this. I am still on disability (going on the third week) and my family doctor is so concerned about my state of mind, he is behind me on this and believes I have to "get better," before I can move forward.
I would like your opinion on whether this is a "grin-and-bare-it" situation or am I simply one employee without recourse? Can you recommend an attorney in California, or do you believe I have no case? Were I younger, I would simply move on, but at 63, I don't have that much time to recover from all of this - though I appear much young than my stated age and have a strong personality.