I missed several days of work recently due to mental health reasons, although my mental health is being taken care of and currently watched very closely. I was recommended to talk to Employee Health by my boss and they asked about my symptoms. I was told that it was all confidential and so I came clean about what had been going on (I've been having medication changes recently and it's been affecting my ability to work and be productive). I was told that I'd need a letter from my psychiatrist giving me full permission to work by XXX date or I could not work until said paperwork had been signed and turned back into work. I haven't gotten that yet because I haven't signed a release of information for my psychiatrist to be open about my condition to my place of work and I'm worried that this is a big can of worms that needs to be put back under control.
Has anyone else had to deal with this? I'm almost under the impression that I've given too much information now and am being seen as a liability. I'm in a PHP program and will most likely go though social work and get things sorted out so I'm not forbidden to go to work if the paperwork isn't signed, but I feel like this is discrimination.
Dec 20, '09
Well it is too late to put the cat back into the bag. I would comply or find another job and next time don't tell the employer about mental health problems. That is the green light for them to find a reason to get rid of you.
Dec 20, '09
People are often required to do something like this when they've missed work for some purely medical reason significant enough that it raises questions about your ability to function when you return (I had to do it once when I was out for a serious case of pneumonia) -- IMHO, it's not a unreasonable request. They're not asking that your psychiatrist explain your entire history and course of treatment to them -- just that s/he write a letter of a few lines verifying that, in her/his professional opinion, you're safe to work; the same as they would ask for a letter from your orthopod if you'd had an orthopedic injury that kept you out of work and they needed to know that you were able to walk/lift/etc. when you return to work.
However, I certainly would not authorize my physician to disclose any more information than that.
Dec 22, '09
It isn't unusual for them to require a release when someone has missed a lot of work. How long have you worked there? Have you checked into FMLA? I know this is stressful for you but try to think of how crippling it is to a unit when someone repeatedly calls out sick, no matter how legitimate the reason.
I would think that securing staffing is their only motivation. Good luck.
Dec 22, '09
You've already told them it's a mental health issue...too bad. I would go to my GP for the letter authorizing return to work, and never, never talk about mental health issues at work. Talk about med adjustments, or lack of energy, or whatever, but don't show any blood in the water, or the sharks start to circle. You may have 50 great coworkers, but it only takes one shark to kill you.
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