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    What do you think?
    Lisasnyc posted:
    I believe I was a subject of attempted discrimination. I was diagnosed with MS in 2006. I have been with my employer- a well known retailer- for 12 years. I disclosed my MS in 2007, to upper management (I was a manager at the time) and my fellow managers..

    I have never been absent from work due to my MS. I now have a gait issue and tendonitis of the ankle and I now use a cane.. I was approached by my manager-who I used to consider a friend- and asked if I wanted to reduce my hours because they were concerned about my health. I initially considered a 4 day work week with at least 30hrs per week. Then I was told upper management may have to put me in the system as part time. I have always been full time.

    I told my manager that I agreed. On my way home from work, I called my manger back and told him not to go forward-I wanted to discuss it with my husband and think about it. I called the department of labor and was told as a long time employee, I would still be eligible for medical benefits but I would not be eligible for sick time, FMLA or vacation time. They also said my hours could also be reduced at will by my employer. Suffice to say, I told my manager I changed my mind.

    Surprisingly, I received an email saying "per our discussion, my 4 day work week will begin in a couple of weeks" I replied to the email "fine as long as you are aware that I will be remaining a full time employee at ______ company". In retrospect, I feel I was being discriminated against, manipulated and coerced into giving up my hours and benefit status. I think its because my cane makes my impediment visible.

    Productivity is based on 5 criteria. I was # 2 in total volume and # 1 or 2 in the others. There are a total of 7 associates in the store. Therfore, I don't see the reason for reducing my hours.

    I then told the manager that I wanted to remain at my 5day/ 40hour per week status. It has since been changed back. All of a sudden the upper management who have never once asked how I am, are telling me I can work as much as I like. I think they may have realized that they have made themselves vulnerable.

    I'm wondering if I should take this to the EEOC. What do you guys think.

    Thanks , Lisa
    hackwriter responded:
    Dear Lisa,

    The EEOC would shrug their shoulders and wonder why you're talking to them. You haven't been the victim of discrimination, haven't lost your job, haven't lost hours or benefits. Sounds as though everything's peachy, so I'm not clear on exactly what it is you want the EEOC to do.

    The way you've written the event about the emails doesn't prove management tried to coerce you into anything, their motives aren't at all clear. And even if they had tried to reduce your hours and benefits, you chose to remain full-time and they complied with your wishes. I doubt that they backed off because they felt vulnerable, since you are an at will employee and it is within their rights to demote or terminate you without justification. Discrimination is very hard to prove, businesses know that, and most employees lose such lawsuits. If anyone would feel more vulnerable after this occurrence, it would be you, and I wouldn't blame you for feeling that way.

    This incident would only take on more significance if, in the future, a reduction in hours and benefits was forced on you, or you were suddenly written up or fired.

    Some advice: Nobody is your friend in the work environment. No matter how sympatico you might be with a co-worker, bear in mind that they'd sell you up the river to keep their jobs. Be mindful what you confide to people about your health from now on.

    Lisasnyc replied to hackwriter's response:
    Thanks Kim! I know that I have to be on my p's and q's from now on. Just needed an opinion.
    Lisasnyc replied to Lisasnyc's response:

    I forgot to say a couple of things in my reply above. I had never felt before that my superiors would deal with me in a way that I view as unfair.

    I do not discuss my MS on the job. I disclosed it initially because I had good relationships with my upper management team.

    I said that they might have felt vulnerable because they realize that I know they were attempting to get me to give up my benefits.Also no one else in my store was asked to reduce their hours even though they are statistically less productive than myself.

    I realize that I may not rise to the level of an EEOC investigation, but I think it is something when the VP of the East Coast tells me personally that I am valuable to the company and he hopes that I did not take anything the wrong way.
    hackwriter replied to Lisasnyc's response:

    It's possible that the East Coast VP was doing some damage control in saying that to you, but we can only speculate as to why. It's possible that somebody in management decided to try and pull a fast one on you and the VP caught wind of it and was sincere in what he told you--or, a bean counter might have red-flagged you based on some quarterly insurance report and suggested a little housecleaning and it backfired.

    Who knows? You've got your radar up and running, and that's a good thing. I hope this little storm will soon blow over and you'll continue to enjoy your career there. Please do keep us in the loop about any future developments.


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