My husband and I work together as Family Teachers for a group home. We were hired as couple in April 2016. On 12/8/16 we requested a reasonable accommodation to not have to move into a youth girl’s home. This is because in July 2016 when we were filling in there my husband was put with a youth that publicly called him a rapist, n-word and many other things. (Before this she physically assaulted me by throwing a cookie jar at my head. I went to urgent care) She then proceeded to break the window of the van he would be driving
home. After management decided she was calm he was forced to drive her home in the broken down vehicle. We filed a grievance with the company about keeping employees
safe and having a safety plan for these situations. At the end of October we ended up having to work in that home only this time they wanted us to move in because the former Family Teachers had quit or been fired. We asked 3 managers to not have to move in because we felt another couple would be a better fit and we had trauma working there and couldn’t move past it. They did not agree so we asked if we could get help by going to EAP (employee assistance counseling) We were able to do that and the EAP counselor suggested we ask for a reasonable accommodation. When we asked for the RA on 12/8 we were sent home and forced to use sick pay even though we could have worked elsewhere. On 12/13 they expected us to be back to work after they refused our reasonable accommodation. We both had variations of a panic attack and went to see a doctor at urgent care.
The nurses there said this was workman’s comp and we’ve been going through workman’s comp for those dates of 12/14-12/19. On 12/19 the Dr cleared us to go back to work at that house for a week trial period or anywhere else. They did not comply and even though they needed help they did not allow us to return to any work site until 12/31. (We were able to work and cleared to work but not allowed to work from 12/19-12/30. It is unclear if we will be paid for this time or not) This is because they gave us an ultimatum to either accept an Orange County owned home in Tustin, CA where dogs were not allowed. We said we would accept but we needed further clarification. They may have known at the time that we have an Emotional Support Animal or it is possible they did not know. However, we informed them very clearly in emails and in person the last several days.
When we were hired we did not disclose that the animal was ESA because the place where they had us live and the places where we could potentially move all allowed regular dogs (without ESA status). It was only as of last week that they began to force us into a county owned home that doesn’t allow dogs.
Now, they are forcing us to relinquish our emotional support animal (ESA) who is allowed at the current apartment they pay for and move to the Tustin home THIS Saturday. We already sent them the dog’s registration and told them about the law and that they’d be breaking it under the ADA if we are forced to relinquish the ESA.
Yesterday the Executive Director said we have to “resign or get rid of our dog”
Today HR says we have to be vacated from our apartment and cover the cost of making other arrangements for our dog at our expense on January 7th. They want us to move into the Tustin apartment by the end of the business day.
How can we stop this process or slow it down?