Last week, I discussed a general way of putting yourself first when you have Cushing’s and it feels like everything is spiraling out of control. I left a bit of a cliffhanger (if you want to look at it that way) on what to do about protecting yourself in the workplace.
Now, I can’t get into extreme specifics for a few reasons. I’m Canadian, so I don’t know laws in other countries. I also know workplace laws differ from province to province or state to state, so I can’t speak on those, either. If anything I discuss is something you’re unsure of, please check with your company’s human resources department for your rights as well as with your state or province employment laws.
Being honest with your employers is terrifying. You don’t want to be seen as weak and useless, and you don’t want to be taken advantage of. I understand completely because I was there. In the following, I will share two basic things that were key for me. I know that not everyone’s situation allows them to do one of these things, so please adjust my advice to how you see fit, according to where you work.
Honesty was absolutely key for me when I was working part-time and when I got my first marketing job post-graduation. I was honest with my part-time employers during school about looking for what was wrong with me, and I did the same with my career employers. Then, I told them my diagnosis once I had one.
My part-time employers were cool with it until something physically began happening with my body’s appearance. I left as soon as it started to become a problem, so that didn’t burn me too badly. My new employers were totally cool with it. I was lucky. I am so so grateful that my employers allowed me to go to all of my appointments. Sometimes it was a little iffy if the season was busy, but health came first and I refused to be dishonest about it. If it seemed to be a bit of a problem, I would bring a doctor’s note. Cue the second point!
I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, if you bring a doctor’s note, your employer isn’t allowed to penalize you. They can’t take shifts away from you, they can’t cut your hours, they can’t do anything against whatever the doctor’s note says. Hopefully, wherever you are, your employment rights are as good as that. If they aren’t, I am so, so sorry. I truly am, because it should be the norm.
If this is something you never considered doing and you have the ability, do it. I was never one to get doctor’s notes because I never thought it was necessary. But at a really old job of mine, rumors spread that I would repeatedly fake a cold. After that, I started getting doctor’s notes and was never bothered again.
With Cushing’s, I think it is incredibly important to get a note from your doctor if you are unable to do something at work. Legally (where I am), your employer cannot make you do it or discriminate against you for being unable to do a specific task. Your body needs to be respected as much as possible by you and your employer.
There you have it. Those are the two key points that I believe apply when you have Cushing’s in the workplace. Between the appointments, dealing with symptoms, trying to keep yourself afloat, and keeping your life together, I know the last thing we want to do is fight for rights in the workplace. If anyone else has any advice you’d like to share about what you learned, please feel free to do so in the comments!
Until next week,
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s disease.