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I spent 2 days recovering from a gynecological procedure for…

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I spent 2 days recovering...
I spent 2 days recovering from a gynecological procedure for an std called molluscum contagiosum. When I came back to work, I was in a lot of pain and decided to go home. People were also noticing I was in pain. I explained to my supervisor, that I'm going home and she may get questions because I was in pain recovering from a gyn procedure. She asked if the condition was contagious. I said yes it was contagious. It was spread through skin contact or touching objects. I tried to add it couldn't be spread through normal working activities because it was an STD. She wouldn't listen. She told me to leave the office, she'd see under what conditions I could return to work and that all staff email would be sent saying someone had my condition. I sent my supervisor a clarifying email that this condition couldn't be spread through work activities. The email offended her and she stopped speaking to me. Would the email be my right under the ADA to clarify a disability? Is there a reference link?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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6/17/2010
Employment Lawyer: AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney replied 8 years ago
AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,636
Experience: 19+ Years of Legal Practice in the Employment law arena.
Verified

Dear jacustomer,

 

I see a few problems here. First, the ADA doesn't provide us with rights to send clarifying emails, it just doesn't address same. Secondly, it does not generally define short term illnesses as falling under the term "disability."

 

A person can show that he or she has a disability in one of three ways:

  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning). (short term illness generally fails here, as the limitations are short term and therefore not substantially limiting)
  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • A person may be disabled if he is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).

http://eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

 

Here, your illness is short terms, and as per EEOC, generally short term illnesses (cold, flu, etc. are not deemed a disability. http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/restaurant_guide.html

 

That all being said, if this were me, I'd get a letter from my doctor TO my employer indicating you are fit for duty with no contagion as relates to work activities, so you can get back on the job, if you aren't already.

 

Good luck.

 

 


 

Sincerely,

S. Joy, Legal Expert

 

 

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Let me add more information as the original question had a character restriction. This happened around April 30th. I did provide a doctor's note. However, ever since I came back to the office, she has been making my life miserable and she admits it has been because of that note.

I was not allowed to explain the condition was minor. They assumed it was major and they asked for more information while I was at the office. Would the assumption be enough to prove it an assumed disability?
Employment Lawyer: AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney replied 8 years ago
Does anyone think you have a long term disability? Or is she just treating you poorly because she has a thing against STDs?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
The email content stated that the condition could not be spread at work because I would have to have sex, have my gentialia touch office equipment (and have someone immediately touch it), it has never been in contact with the toilet seat, etc. Hence, it could not have been spread through normal working conditions. She said the email had inappropriate content and is unprofessional Hence, she is offendded. I claimed she asked how it could be spread -- knewing it was an ob/gyn condition -- I was just offering her more clarification. HR also agreed with me.

No one thinks I have a long term disability. She is just very offended via the email. Did I have the right to send that clarifying email knowing that all-staff email saying that Employee X has molluscum contagiosum, which by me being absent everyone would have known it was me. Also, the email is what prevent HR from sending out that email. They are not offended, she is.

I also think she is jealous that I have a boyfrieind and she doesn't.
Employment Lawyer: AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney replied 8 years ago

There is free speech of course, but there is also employment at will in DC, so while you can speak as you wish, an employer can terminate, discipline, etc. as it wishes. The employer does have the right to not disseminate private medical details if it wishes. Unfortunately, I don't see any additional rights that you have to override your employer's decision. YOu could post your private details on a social networking site if you think your co-workers need more information. I think your employer, knowing that the discussion involves sex, is using care to make sure that sex talk (even if medically related) is not a public topic at work - as the employer could be liable for sexual harassment by any employee claiming it made them extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps a simply but non-sexual email saying: Employee X is NOT contagious in the workplace, without discussing the details, would have been simpler.

 

Also, I'm not sure she is jealous of your boyfriend, since it is presumably he that was unfaithful, contracted the STD, and passed it onto you - ergo, he may be a boyfriend, but perhaps not a desireable one and you may be deserving of a monogamous boyfriend, rather than a dangerous one. Curable STD this week could be HIV next week.

 

Good luck here, I know it is annoying that your office now knows your private business. In the future, I'd never share my private medical reason for being out sick - a doctor's vague note indicating illness requiring a day or two off is more than sufficient.

 

 


 

Sincerely,

S. Joy, Legal Expert

 

 

 

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