It's been a fustrating day for me. At the end of my work day my boss called me into her office. In there was the HR person assigned to my department. Apparently I am a work hazard news to me. I told my boss over a year ago that I need to see a pain specialist generally once a month for pain managment and she seemed understanding of my situation. I've always been honest about my condition and it has never been an issue before. Even as of recently I have met or exceeded on all of my expectation reports.
However, I was in a small fender-bender on a day where the freezing rain was an inch thick last week. Somehow my boss found out about this also today, she accused me of nodding off at my desk, on the contrary I was wide awake and worked thru lunch. According to her, I need to be evaluated and am considered a liability. She blamed my fender-bender on being medicated and told me that she thinks I have a problem I was then sent home and told not to return until I had clearence from employee assistance and my physician to work (I do paper-work all day).
First, I had my accident at lunch last week, OFF THE CLOCK. She only heard about it via office gossip. Secondly, I just met with my doctor yesterday about tapering my dose down because I have a great deal of relief from the nerve ablation I had about 9 weeks ago. I've been taking narcotic pain relievers of some sort for 13 years, for the last year I have been taking 50mg Kadian q12 give or take a few norco for BT. Since the nerve ablation started working I haven't used any BT meds and have been MUCH more active, so I spoke with my doc about lowering my base med to see if I could function just as good for less costly script bills. I've droped to 40mg q12 and still feel fine. I just don't understand why my boss is doing this to me. It just isn't warrented!
Has somthing of this nature ever happened to anyone else? Thanks a TON! Looks like I have a few days off, too bad I can't get paid for them.
Now that I am over the initial shock, I want to speak to an HR person by myself. But I would like to find out what kind of rights I have, I'm just not sure where to look.
I do have to clarify one thing so the facts are straight. Regaurding the acusation of me "sleeping at work", I do recall the day after I last went to the ER. I went to the ER on account me not being able to move my head without pain. It turns out I was only having wicked muscle spasms and I was given some flexeril. I did get it cleared through my perscribing doc first. The next day I rember nodding off for a few minutes just after 7:am once the med kicked in, but I didn't take any more when I knew it would effect me that way. Reguardless of the fact that my brief nod was the result of a new med, she said it still constitues "sleeping on the job, as is described in the employee policy," she even said she could have terminated me!
My job demands attention to detail and I don't make any more mistakes than anyone else. and if I did make an unacceptable amount of mistakes they would be present is audits or during the quality inspection process. However there is no such proof.
This whole situation makes me feel like a criminal being charged with a crime.
Last edited by HBMod07; 03-07-2007 at 02:04 PM.
Reason: Please review the Posting Rules regarding certain professions
You know isn't that just the way it goes. We WANT the people who are abusing their meds. to be 'outed' and I'm sure we have seen workmates who ARE 'out of it'on a regular basis. But what ends up happening alot of the time is that innocents get caught in the cross-fire!!
It sounds like you take your meds. very responsibly based on your post and have even gone down some which is something anyone abusing their meds. would never even consider doing. Never mind bringing it up with their Dr.!!
Unfortunately that Flexeril, especially when combined with a narcotic, can really do a number on someone. I take Flexeril and when I first started taking it I had a similar experience that scared the heck out of me!! Likeyou, I didn't take it before or during work after that.
If it were me, I"d probably speak with my lawyer about it and if he/she advised it was OK to talk to HR wihtout rep. I'd bring along my spouse or someone else to sit in. To us it sounds like a simple thing and we can understand how it could happen. To a new HR person trying to make a name for themselves, in a hospital setting, it might not seem that way.
This is a little different subject but it concerns idiot opinions and how others tend to focus those opinions on us CPers. I had a care coordinator from my insurance call me offering "help" with my health care needs. This happened because I had went to the ER 4-5 months ago (i'm ok now). Anyway I let her know I have a great doc, know how to advocate for myself concerning my healthcare etc...then remembered a problem I have with my insur. not paying for my ADD meds which is Dexadrine, the insur. will only pay for kids under 19 getting it not adult ADDers. The woman went psycho saying "Oh my God that is SPEED! do you know that? who is prescribing it? etc... I just laughed at her and got just as snotty as she was right back and informed her I knew that it was just like ritalin and others that is one of the common ways of treating ADD, then I said "Oh my Gosh did you know they are actually willing to pay for it if given to a teenager?
My point is that your boss is a frigg'in hypocrite! She has an uninformed opinion of you and your meds and intends on screwing up your life just because she thinks she "KNOWS" everything about everything. You now have a new pain to to deal with YOUR BOSS. Ask around, check out on the web, or look in your local yellow pages for an employment attorney, some of them may advertise free consultaion, you need an attorney NOW before she pulls too much crap with her opinions and gossiping. You could be facing alot more than just her hypocritical opinions if your not careful, you do have rights and believe me you had better stop her or else you can be standing in the unemployment line, no I take that back you wouldnt even get unemployment because they would use the same lies to deny you that too. Just get an attorney, you'll be glad you did. Good luck
Have A Great Day!
No matter What They Do To Ya!
This really makes me mad.. I tell you something, and I'm really really sorry for saying.. I dont think, and I dont think you should think that its going to stop here. If she has a prejudice, its going to continue and continue until she gets rid of you, or forces you to get rid of yourself.. I think you should definatly, or if not definatly, atleast strongly strongly consider, getting an attorney. Think of it in the sense that you have absoloutly nothing to lose by atleast contacting one. Its not fair, and even if you did nod out, that is one single day, and you bein on the med's your on doesn't even affect your work. Its amazing how judgemental people can be.. You know, I never wished my pain on anybody at all, infact I never would wish anything so bad on anybody. I do have to tell you though, I am in a sense starting to wish it upon all of these Dr's, Pharmacists, and other people who want to look at us like we are druggies, liars, and in general just bad people. I mean, I only wish it upon them just long enough to realize what its like.. Please keep us updated, and let us know what you decide to do. Remember, if your worried about retaliation from your job, you can atleast call (or you can even email alot of Lawyers now and explain, and they will call you and tell you if you have a case) and see what they say, without anybody actually contacting your job.. I wish you all the luck with your job, and I hope your pain is doing good..
gosh ,i had something similar happen to me a few months ago,i was at work and i was waiting on cops (i am a watress SP?) anyways i was getting off and the cops i was waiting on said that they would lock me up for driving while on meds because they over heard that i was on them . It was a new med i might have been under the influnce SP? because it was a new drug but i had been on it for a couple of weeks it was only when they over heard that i was taking meds that they thought i was high, no one had work had ever said anything to me about it . i lower my dose til i got more use to the drug . I never thought my mgmt even knew about it but they did,because a comment was made about a week ago that they were glad that i lower my dose so i didn't get into trouble with the cops ,but i was never in trouble at work no one there thought i was high on my meds. As long as your job isn't effected my your meds it sould be none of there buisness. Did you explain to your work what happen with the new med and that was a one time thing? I am sorry if you already said so i didn't remember. I would get a lawyer for sure ,if you had to take insulin at work and you nodded off would you have gotten into trouble? no? it isn't like you put yourself or anyone else in danger you work at a desk. I wonder what nurses and dr and cops and judges do if they have chronic pain ? could they take their meds? i was just wondering ? keep us posted good luck,kelsey
you were given some excellent advice about getting a lawyer. this all semms completely unfair not to mention the fact that it makes it you feel humiliated and embaressed. i will not even pretend to know what your rights are concerning this situation which is exactly why you should speak to an attorney.
i would also like to say something and i hope you take this the way it is sincerely meant. should this not go your way and you end up losing your job as another poster suggested, just know that everything happens for a reason and may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. there may be something better around this corner of your life but you don't it yet. i know right now it may not seem that way but sometimes it really does turn out that way. try not to let the stress get to you too bad and bring those pain levels up.
i sincerely wish you luck and guidance thru this and please keep us updated on any new developments. god bless and take care, katy
Oh yes Katy is very correct, when God works his wonders in our lives, sometimes we dont even notice because we only seem to look at things from our human perspective. Regardless of what comes of all this try and make sure you at the very least LEARN some things. People think I am crazy but I always try and find "something" positive from EVERY situation even the obviously bad ones, it makes me feel better, like I put up with all the negative, discrimination, etc... but if I find at least one positive I feel like I win, or at least I dont lose all of the situation. Have a painless day!
Have A Great Day!
No matter What They Do To Ya!
I am so sorry your work is treating you like this. My dad has 2 of his best friends who just recently got fired for taking oxycontin. They had a prescription and HR knew about it and everything. Then one day one of the "BIG" bosses from out of state came for a meeting and somehow found out about it and they both got fired on the spot. I think they were only taking like 80mg every 12 hours. It just goes to show you that people don't know what they are talking about. My mother in law tried to tell me one time that the reason I was so sleepy all the time was that my oxycontin was made from marijuana. I was like what, no Its not and I am sleepy because I had just started with the pain control meds.
Anyway to get back to you Shak, I agree with the other post and contact and attorney. If you were like a nurse and taking a lot of pain meds I could understand this being a liability, but doing paper work all day, what liability. I mean I don't know what type of work it is, as all work is important to be alert, but it doesn't sound like to me that you have a problem being alert. Keep us posted on what happens and if you do contact a lawyer.
another thing i would do is not talk to ANYONE at work about what is going on. even ones who are your friends. this way no more gossip gets started than already has.
Thak you all for posting. Well it turns out that the alegations against me are sleeping while at work and leaving my work station for extended periods of time. Unfortunately I was not given the details until after I was interogated at occupational health. My boss left a message for me on my cell telling me I need to attend a physical at occupational health to ensure I am sutable to return to work.
I arrived at my apointment and no one in the office knew why I was there. They tried to contact my boss, but couldn't. They were able to contact the HR person and she faxed them an "employee illness and injury form" that stated the reason for my assessment. During the proccess I was questioned about every aspect of my pain care since I was 14 years old. They totaly invaded my privacy, took my blood and urine and requested ALL of my medical records from my PM&R doctor.
It wasn't until I left the visit that I was given any copies of paper work. On the paper work there were two dates. Next to the dates is says Date(s) of incident(s)
I am sooo upset that no one told me the accusations were for two specific dates. This whole time I was given the impression that the accusations were against my entire career working there!
It turns out my boss wasn't even at work on the two dates in question. So obviously someone told her that I was away for "extended periods of time" and was "sleeping" when I was at my desk. Apparently she didn't ask the two nurses that share the same room with me. Because if she did she would have been informed of the following:
1. On the first date in question I was in an unusually high amount of pain in an uncommon place in my neck. I then told my coworkers that I was going to employee health to get it checked out. I was then told that employee health was no longer on campus and to go to the ER instead. So I did. Thus, on the first date I was accused of being away for a long amount of time "without explination" I was at the ER.
2. On the second date in question I went to lunch and was in a fender-bender on my way back to work. The reason I was longer than usual is because I waited to file a police report.
3.The only reason anyone could have suspected me of sleeping was the day I returned from the ER. This is because it turned out I was having an intense muscle spasm and was instructed to do certain stretches at least 5 min each hour. From a passer-by I can see how it would have apeared I was sleeping.
Some time ago I stupidly disclosed to my boss what type of medication I take. I now see that was a mistake, a big mistake. All it took was a few observations from a biased outsider and all of a sudden I'm a drug addict. I can't believe they withheld the specifics about the allegations until after they requested ALL of my medical records, took my urine and blood, interrogaded me at my 3.5 hour "physical", and accused me of "having a problem and needing to get help"! I've already missed a whole week of work withOUT pay! I already had to cancel my wedding anniversery reservations because I can't afford our trip now.
If I knew at the begining what I know now, there is NO WAY I would have consented to any of the things they have put me through.
It realy made a red flag shoot up for me when my boss said to me "I think you have a problem and need to get help" and the only thing the I was questioned about during my 3.5 hour "physical" was my drug use and belive me they were anything but polite.
My boss has her PhD in Nursing and has told me in the past I'm a "lesser" person because I am not a nurse therfor am not entitled to the same privleges. Privleges such as being able to go to the bathrom without leaving a sticky note to say "Went to restroom at__:__"! After I stupidly mentioned the the type of therapy I recieve my boss on several occasions voiced her belief in non-traditional therapies such as herbal remedies and ancient chineese medicine. A good example of her line of thinking is the new clinical trial she is the principle investigator on. The study is reflexology (foot massage at certian trigger points on the foot) vs. a placebo foot rub during chemotherpy treatment to see if reflexology improves survival for near-terminal breast cancer patients.
I gotta go before I get off the topic, however I really apreciate any input. All I do is sit here, alone, thinking about my situation and get upset. All this added stress doesn't help my pain any!
I actually work for a very large hospital. But I don't have patient contact, I'm a paper pusher. However, one of my responsibilities is gathering data from different offices which involves a fair amount of foot work. The campus is probably 1/2 mile from end to end.
Today I went to the "Employee Assistance Services" apointment. I was told that I am on the same plane as heroine and cocaine users. She said she can not believe the "incredibly high dose of drugs" I take (40mg Kadian q12).
I tried to explain the scenerio but was told that reguardless of circumstances the fact that I take Kadian is a whole other issue and I can not return to work on it. She told me I might as well be given a script for heroine.
So she is going to recomend therapy for me because my "addiction" is obviously "out of control".
The strange thing is that I had to spell Kadian for her because she never heard of it. Also, she thought Lyrica is a narcotic and I couldn't convince her otherwise.
I couldn't handle my fustration and I broke down. She said "See, these drugs are ruining your life." She said that if I continue to fight I will end up getting fired! She told me that I need to admit I have an addiction and get treatment.
I feel like I am screaming at the top of my lungs and no one is listening.
OMG, I can not believe how they are treating you. This is shocking to me. If they are telling you pain meds are like taking heroine, I am soooo glad I am NOT a patient at that hospital. With their attitude about pain management, I have a feeling patients at that hospital are getting treated fairly for their pain needs. What state are you in?
You may want to look into getting legal representation. I am so sorry that you are being unfairly treated. I really hope things work out for you.
Please keep us updated on this situation.
This is just terrible treatment, I think not only is it time to find legal counseling but time to find a new job. Thank God it wasn't me because I'm red-headed with a bad temper when it comes to things like this. I would be so angry that I know I would told them what I thought. I wouldn't care if they fired me or not this is just truly harrasement of some kind. I truly feel for you and I know I couldn't work for no one who treated me in such a manner.
I am in utter shock here! I am so, SO sorry these people are doing this to you. I mean, for goodness sake, this is a HOSPITAL, they are medical professionals. You would think they know the difference between treatment of chronic pain and a drug addict. What a crock they are serving you!
My only advice is in agreement with the people who have already recommended getting an attorney. You need legal advice and hopefully, an attorney will be able to set these people straight. I am just seething as I type this. It sounds like discrimination to me, and I think they are wrong.
I have to say that defamation of character comes to mind, so does slander. They are making false assumptions and are defaming your character here. Who are they to call you an addict? You take these medications under the advice and guidance of a doctor!!
This just goes to further prove the stigma that society places on chronic pain patients who just happen to need medications in order to function "normally" on a daily basis. If some of these ignorant people had to spend just 24 hours in our bodies, they would be climbing the wall, BEGGING for some kind of relief.
I am so, so sorry. I just don't know what else to say......
I feel stepped on. In more ways than one. I checked into the credentials of this "Employee Assistance Services" coordinator and she isn't a doctor or even a nurse. She just has a lot of certificates hanging on her wall. I don't see where she has the right to tell me that my PM&R is "over-perscribing"
I only hope the inquries will not disuade my Doctor from continuing to care for me in the future. My PM&R Doctor even works at the same hospital.
So it apears that the only way I will be able to return to work is if I am NOT taking any narcotic pain relievers. Oh, that reminds me of somthing else she said while reviewing her notes and trying to prove an idiodic point - "You see that word . . . NARCOTIC ? Don't you know what that means? It means synthetic herion ! Your taking the same thing Heroin is made out of!" I honestly did not know how to respond to this.
I am looking for employment elsewhere. But I don't feel right leaving without putting up a fight first, so I am going to lawyer up! I can't let them treat me this way. The scary thing is that the Employee Assistance -censored- told me I was not the first person she had "helped" in this situation, I'm "more like the 500th"!
Tommorrow I believe everone is going to meet and talk about me and decide a course of action. From there, the pain and suffering will begin!
Shak - sorry this response is so late in the game but: I would RUN, not WALK, to the nearest labor lawyer you can find!! I would absolutely take that attorney with me to any meeting you plan on attending. You need to have someone with you who can advise you of your rights. Please, please, go lawyer hunting today!! Good luck - KathyMac