MyLove&HisMrs.
VIP November 2014

NWR - Claustrophobia is ruining my wedding. UPDATE

MyLove&HisMrs., on September 25, 2012 at 5:01 PM Posted in Planning 0 18
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As this post stated earlier, I live with claustrophobia. I have been diagnosed as functional and have been doing well for many years. However, for the first time in my career, it has affected my job. The company I work moved to different building and remodeled the new area. Prior to the move, I was in a cubicle in an open area. However, with the new move, I was placed in a windowless room (the "window" is actually 12' - 15" overhead) and has one entryway. My desk is seated directly in front of the door. The way my desk is situated, my back is to the door. I went to my supervisor and explaned and was advised I needed to provide a note from my dr. Provided temporary note this am. I was then advised I had to leave work because they need to know a) the dimensions that are needed b) what work modifications are needed to accomodate my disability. It's not like I am asking for shorter work day, I am just asking not to be placed in a closed in area.

Ladies/Gentlemen, am I asking to much?

18 Comments

  • Combay
    Master April 2013
    Combay ·

    That's a mess. I can't believe they would do that. Unless they're sending how with paid leave, that's not right. I pray that you can get to some resolution quickly and resume working.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Thanks Combay. I am on paid leave (I have to use my vacation time) I just don't understand why they are making this so hard for me. I am not asking to be treated different or special (I have a co-worker who only works a half day but is paid for the whole day) I am just asking instead of being in a cubicle in a closed in area, to be in a cubicle in an open area.

    I know in the past several people in my department have gone out on disability (co-worker had the same back surgery twice w/in 1 year and never bothered to provide a note either time) and was out for 3 months (each time) But now you have an employee with an actual disability and you make them jump through every hoop you can think of.

  • Jennifer
    VIP September 2012
    Jennifer ·

    First, you need to speak with someone in human resources - not your boss. People in human resources are trained and employed specifically to deal with this type of situation. Second, take what your boss said as a request and try to figure out a way that you can be comfortable without them having to build you a new office. BTW - i've heard that sometimes pictures can help, not sure if they can with you, but if you print out large pictures of the outdoors or a fake window with a view, do you think it will help?



  • Mrs.L
    Master October 2011
    Mrs.L ·

    You have every right to ask for what accommodates you! Do not feel like it is to much, you are just asking to be moved. Dont give up. By law they have to reasonably accommodate you. They cannot tell you no or fire you. You have rights. I agree speak with human resources. If no one is able to assist you, you can file a complaint with the EEOC and they will investigate and come up with a solution. You also cannot be retaliated against if you were to proceed with that action. Hope they do help you!

    P.s. Are they even allowed to make you take your own vacation time? I would look into that.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Thanks Jennifer. However, I did speak with HR. They are the ones who wanted more frm my doctor. Also, I did not ask them to build anything. Several of my co-workers who are aware of my condition have offered to switch cubicles with me. My supervisor (who is a very unhappy person) is just being difficult and making it seem like I am trying to run the department which is definitely not true. Now that I am out, my co-workers have to do all of my work which is a lot. I handle all of the payables for the company, plus I support 4 very busy managers.

    By the way, I was part of a therapy group many years ago and this was an option that was offered. However, it did not help much. Claustrophobia has manifested in me that I can be in a room, however, if there is only 1 exit (which is the case with this enclosure) it causes me to panic.

  • K
    Dedicated May 2013
    Keys Bride ·

    They are accommodating you. They can't have you there until they have the accommodations. Get them the info they need as soon as possible. I am actually impressed your supervisor knew what to ask for.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Thanks for your support Felicia. I am speaking with an attorney regarding the vacation time.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Mohler_Manning, no they are not accommodating me. I am not asking for a special cubicle. I am asking for a cubicle that is already set up and a co-worker is willing to part with. I can see if I had a knee injury and needed a certain amount of space. In this situation, dimensions would be necessary.

    Most people who do not have/understand claustrophobia generalize it as being afraid of small spaces. You can put 3 people with the condition in an empty room of any size with no windows and only 1 exit. One will be fine for a periof of time. The other, may start having a panic attack once the door is shut. The other will be unable to enter the room at all. Asking for dimensions that will accommodate me is discrimation.

  • Shannon S.
    Master March 2011
    Shannon S. ·

    I don't think asking for dimensions is discriminatory, I think your employer is frankly completely uninformed about how to help you. Can you have your doctor put it in writing, as in, "Needs space with multiple exits, an open cubicle is ideal"?

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Shannon, that was provided to them. Per my note from the doctor, "Please do not have the patient work in an enclosed space at work. Please have patient's desk in an open area."

  • Shannon S.
    Master March 2011
    Shannon S. ·

    Why are employers so dumb? I mean, really, you've already solved the problem yourself, you just need their permission to carry out your solution. So very, very dumb.

    Have you thought about looking for another job? It seems like it might be a lot less stressful.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    Thanks Shannon, I thought my solution was very simple, but you have to remember, most people in management don't think reasonably.

    Also, I have been looking for another job, but in this economy it is taking me a little more time than I expected.

  • Shannon S.
    Master March 2011
    Shannon S. ·

    The funny thing is, both HR and management are usually interested in not getting sued. So why would they turn you down? SMH.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    I said the same thing. And get this - I work for a consulting firm with its own law firm. The attorneys who bring in the most money for the firm practice employment law and defend our clients against law suits filed by their employees!!! We currently have 6 cases of failure to accommodate.

  • vngb
    Super October 2010
    vngb ·

    First off, I agree that it was wrong of your boss to make such an assumption about your condition. I don't think it came from a discriminatory point of view, but he was probably taken off guard and didn't really know what it means to have claustrophobia. Also, they probably are asking for extra information from a doctor because this isn't something that you can outwardly see and could potentially be a condition that someone could fake. A doctor's note would help to validate your situation for them.

    Did they know about your condition before the move? If not, they probably didn't realize they needed to accommodate for this. Did they give employees notice that this was occurring and/or allow you to comment on your own needs in the new space? For instance, they told us that we were getting new carpet, and before it was installed I let them know of my allergy to a chemical used in new carpeting and what I needed if it would be installed in my office. (cont'd)

  • vngb
    Super October 2010
    vngb ·

    So, even if it was unsolicited, be sure in the future to let them know what you need.

    As for the switch, you may not know why they put people in the spaces they are currently in. They may feel the need to do more switching than you realize. I'd be open and honest with them and ask them what the status is, ask why your simple solution can't be used, etc. There should be no reason for them to not be open with you.

  • MyLove&HisMrs.
    VIP November 2014
    MyLove&HisMrs. ·

    VNGB no, they did not know about my condition before I mentioned it when I found out where my cubicle was. I am not that person who goes around talking about my disability and looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on. It is what it is and I live with it daily. I am aware that this condition can be faked, however, asking for a note, then when I provide it telling me it's not enough is annoying. If that was needed, I could have gotten that initially.

    To answer your questions, no they did not make the staff aware of the new space at all and they did not allow anyone to comment. They just did it and then told us to deal with it. Also, switching is not an issue. The switch would not be with someone from another department or who works in a different capacity. The three co-workers willing to switch do the exact sam thing I do and one of them wants to go in there because of the heavy foot track in our department. If she were to move in there, she would get the space she needs.

  • K
    Dedicated May 2013
    Keys Bride ·

    Most people not in management dont realize what it takes to carry out certain tasks.

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