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Requesting work accommodations?

sf-cakes Member Posts: 502

Since my MBC diagnosis, I've been fortunate to be able to work from home (only upside to the pandemic). My employer now wants us to start returning to the office, and I am struggling with some serious fatigue from my meds. I want to talk with my MO about possible work accommodations, as in only working virtually, but I'm concerned about my employer not granting the accommodations. And then...I guess I would quit? Which I'd rather not do, but I may have to face up to my limitations. Argh!

Has anyone with MBC been successful with requesting accommodations with schedule or work duties or hours, etc? I'm curious to hear what's worked for others, it can help me make a decision about this.


  • Kikomoon
    Kikomoon Member Posts: 358

    SF cakes, my work is extremely flexible but they also understand there are days I need a nap in the middle of the day, days where I'm on the toilet every hour, and days when I have to lotion up my feet every hour, and days where I'm just more comfortable at home. My doctor offered to give me a note to stay home when I told her I was going in occasionally, but I was just doing it because it's nice to be around everyone sometimes. If you are the only one working from home it can be a little alienating.

    I am WFH all week now because of Omicron numbers, and they understand that as well, immunocompromised.

    I think most employers would grant your accommodation, as they might fear getting in trouble. I think we are covered by the Americans With Disabilities act. Assuming they are aware of the cancer.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    A lot depends on how strict or flexible your job and boss are in general. Would you feel comfortable simply asking to continue to work from home? That could save you a lot of trouble if it's something your supervisor can say yes to without a bunch of formalities.

    I'm very lucky because my whole team works remotely and my boss is extremely flexible, and she doesn't care what hours I work as long as my work gets done and I show up for scheduled Zoom meetings. (but if I had to miss one that would be okay) She knows all about my diagnosis. She actually emailed to ask me how I was doing today because I got a lot of projects with short deadlines dumped on me, and she wanted to make sure I'd be able to handle it all.

    I could see it going a different way if my team all worked in the office and I had a boss who didn't give a crap about people. Then I'd probably have to go to HR first.

  • ipenelope
    ipenelope Member Posts: 233

    SF cakes,

    Like the other I'm lucky that my job is flexible and works with me.

    Would you qualify for FMLA? This would give you security related to your treatment and the wouldn't be able to terminate you. Also your condition would, at least i believe it would, qualify you under the American with disabilities act.

    Wishing you the best of luck!!


  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 502

    Thank you, I really appreciate all your thoughts on this. I work for a large medical center, and my immediate boss and department director and chief are all aware of my diagnosis and are all very supportive... but they don't make the decisions on these kinds of things, it's up to regional HR. I was reading up on the ADA info, and I think it's possible a good case could be made for ongoing virtual work, since I'm still able to perform the essential job functions. I do really like the idea of simply asking my boss if I can continue to work from home to start with, and see what kind of response I get. I have a union steward, too, who I know will help if needed.

    It just brings up all the emotional weight of this diagnosis, having to ask for additional support to do my job, doesn't it? I WANT to be able to go into the office, see my colleagues, have some normal, human interaction, but also don't want to be so tired at the end of the workday that I fall asleep while driving home!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,636


    You mention that you have a union rep so I assume you are a union member. I was a unionized employee for the vast majority of my working life. May I suggest that you keep your union rep up to date on your current situation as they may provide valuable advice on how to proceed and make sure that all parties are complying not only with HR policies but with the terms of your contract as well. You might also consider having a union rep present at any meetings you have with HR. I was my sites union rep until I retired in June. I attended quite a few HR/employee meetings, via Zoom, often involving similar issues. The COVID situation along with the usual medical issues that cropped up created some unique circumstances. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • seeq
    seeq Member Posts: 1,060

    SF - maybe there's middle ground. Wound you be able to work in the office one day a week? or two half-days?

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    I agree with SeeQ! Maybe try asking to work from home most of the time and go in for half days, especially the days where it's most important to be in the office, if you have days like that. Or maybe days where it would be beneficial for Certain People to see you in the office. :)

  • DG2021
    DG2021 Member Posts: 13

    Hi SF Cakes,

    I just got approved for a work from home accommodation via FMLA from my employer as I undergo chemotherapy. It was not too hard, but did make me feel emotional. The oncologist wrote on the request that it was recommended due to pandemic and current immunocompromised status. I submitted the request to HR and then they interviewed me about it, took it to a panel to decide, and informed me of approval. It was emotional as I felt vulnerable in having to say I like my job, am good at my job, and want to keep my job, but going into the office during chemo was a risk I was told to avoid. Just felt so vulnerable! My boss was totally supportive, but I did feel like I had to plead my case a bit to HR.

    Hope your request goes smoothly.

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 502

    I also really like the suggestion of half days! They aren't requiring us to be there every day to start with, and my union steward is also aware of what's going on, so I will definitely have him in on any meetings with HR/management. I think if it was up to my dept, they would just approve all virtual work, I've been there 16 years and they were amazingly supportive when I was on leave for surgery and chemo. Let's see what the Regional people think...

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 502

    I'm writing an email to my immediate supervisor and director, requesting to come in half days, due to the ongoing side effect of fatigue. I think we really need a better, more accurate name for this fatigue. Perhaps exhaustimented? Fatigosaurus? (I won't include my made-up words in my email, lol)

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605

    I vote for fatigosaurus! 😂