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Brandon, Esq.
Brandon, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1803
Experience:  Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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I have severe Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was

Customer Question

I have severe Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was hired as an accounting manager and office manager, with a noted emphasis in my employment contract on the first position. After a couple months of work, it became clear that these two jobs don’t work well together and that a large part of my duties are administrative in nature rather than accounting. I have never worked as an administrative assistant, and I was hired based on ten years of accounting experience where I always worked part-time. I am struggling with the admin work, which severely triggers me. I am also struggling with the full time aspect of my job – sleep and needing time alone. I came up with a budget that has me working part-time while hiring a full time admin person at a lower rate to equal my current salary, so my employer wouldn’t incur any additional expenses. My employer was negative when I even mentioned the possibility of working part-time. It’s come to the point that I am near a nervous breakdown. When I’m not at work, I’m at home, in bed, unable to do anything but sleep. I am performing less well at work because of the intense, long hours and because I am not cut out for the admin work, specifically because the interpersonal dimension of being told what to do at any moment triggers my disability. I have notified my employer through e-mail about my disability, but I haven’t asked for accommodations for fear of being fired. I don’t know how to proceed.

I don’t want to burn any bridges, but at the same time, I am suffering because this job wasn’t clearly explained when I was hired and I have a very real disability. Any advice?

What is the best route for me? Ask for accommodations (what if the employer disagrees about the accommodations being reasonable)? Go on temporary disability leave through SDI? I don’t have income to qualify for the normal base period (I was in school last year,) but I have worked before and I have been at this job since January 2013.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Employment-LawExpert :

Hello and thank you for your question today. Are you online with me?

Employment-LawExpert :

First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It is a shame when an employer makes a decision without legitimacy, especially when that decision is quite frankly wrong. As to what to do from here, you have a couple of options. If you were to ask for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, your employer would be required by law to enter into an "interactive discussion" with you concerning the plausibility of the accommodation. The law states that an employer must accommodate a known disability unless that accommodation would cause an "undue hardship" to the employer. If your employer takes any adverse employment action against you because of this request you would have a retaliation claim against the employer which would award you back pay, front pay, damages for emotional pain and suffering, as well as possible punitive damages. If the employer denies the accommodation, then you can ask them what they would think is reasonable. If they fail to have any conversation with them, then you would file a claim directly with the EEOC or DFEH. This can be done here:

Employment-LawExpert :

They would do a full investigation and make sure that you get paid, the employer accommodates you, and most importantly, they undo any adverse employment action taken against you.

Employment-LawExpert :

The other option is to take FMLA or CFRA leave (which guarantees you 12 weeks of unpaid leave) where you can collect SSI or other disability insurance guaranteed by the company.

Employment-LawExpert :

During this time, you can look for alternate employment. If you are unable to find other employment, then you would be able to return to this job. If you are able, then you would move to the alternate position.

Employment-LawExpert :

However, you mention that you do not have income to qualify for the normal base period. If you have not paid in enough through the entirety of you working, then asking for a reasonable accommodation is definitely the way to go.

Employment-LawExpert :

So, in short, you will want to ask (in writing, either through email or a certified letter, return receipt) for a reasonable accommodation from your employer. The best thing to do would be to get together with your doctor to brainstorm what reasonable accommodations would be. This could be an alternate work schedule, frequent breaks, or possibly even working from home.

Employment-LawExpert :

If you feel that there is no legitimate reasonable accommodation that could work for you, then you would want to take your FMLA leave and receive SDI. To determine if this is actually an option, you should go to the following site: http://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/FAQ_DI_Eligibility.htm

Employment-LawExpert :

If any adverse employment action happens to you at all, you would want to file a complaint with the DFEH, or get an attorney involved for a retaliation complaint.

If you decide to hire an attorney a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys willing to take your case prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.

Employment-LawExpert :

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further. If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Employment-LawExpert :

Have a wonderful rest of your day.

Expert:  Brandon, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
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