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Favoritism, Senority, ADA? COVID-19

Is this legal?

I have comorbidities as such another 1 of my coworkers.   She has applied for special work accommodations (anything NOT COVID) and her requests have been granted.  I also have a doctors’ note and have gone through the channels BUT I was denied my request to “not take COVID patients.”  They told me to go on disability.  She has more years of service than I at this location.   Can my place of employment legal get away with this? 

PS; I'm not upset I have to deal with COVID patients.  what is bothersome is that this is basically a matter of seniority and favoritism, in my opinion. 

51 minutes ago, reallyagain7 said:

Is this legal?

I have comorbidities as such another 1 of my coworkers.   She has applied for special work accommodations (anything NOT COVID) and her requests have been granted.  I also have a doctors’ note and have gone through the channels BUT I was denied my request to “not take COVID patients.”  They told me to go on disability.  She has more years of service than I at this location.   Can my place of employment legal get away with this? 

PS; I'm not upset I have to deal with COVID patients.  what is bothersome is that this is basically a matter of seniority and favoritism, in my opinion. 

Whether your place of employment can legally ”get away” with this is a matter I think is best answered by an attorney. As a nurse I don’t feel qualified to offer an answer.

How do you know that it’s only seniority that sets the two of you apart? If you’re not privy to all the details of her medical history, the seniority issue may well be a confounder that has made you jump to the wrong conclusion.

 

1 hour ago, macawake said:

Whether your place of employment can legally ”get away” with this is a matter I think is best answered by an attorney. As a nurse I don’t feel qualified to offer an answer.

How do you know that it’s only seniority that sets the two of you apart? If you’re not privy to all the details of her medical history, the seniority issue may well be a confounder that has made you jump to the wrong conclusion.

 

interesting.  what makes an ailment more "high risk" than another, in respect to covid. assuming we both have comorbidities listed on the CDC website as being higher risk of becoming severely ill?

Edited by reallyagain7

25 minutes ago, reallyagain7 said:

interesting.  what makes an ailment more "high risk" than another, in respect to covid. assuming we both have comorbidities listed on the CDC website as being higher risk of becoming severely ill?

Tone can be hard to decipher over the internet so I’m not sure if you’re genuinely asking for more information on how to weigh different risk factors against each other, or if you’re just being a bit snarky?

My point was that just because you are aware of one disease or condition your coworker has, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the full picture. 

Anyway, you yourself said that you aren’t upset about having to care for Covid patients, so is this really the hill you want to die on? If it is, my advice remains. I think you need to consult an attorney, not a nurse, to get a proper answer. 
 

Edited by macawake

I'm trying to figure out why they told you to go on disability. Is there more backstory to that, such as further explanation they gave you or their rationale for saying that? Have you applied for reasonable accommodations or FMLA?

But I agree with macawake, if you're alright taking care of covid patients why create a fuss about it?

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I suspect there is more to the situation than you are privy to.

what basis can my request be denied and another granted? considering they are the exact same accommodations? 

aside from medical history, what am I missing here.  genuinely interested and not being snarky.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

11 hours ago, reallyagain7 said:

what basis can my request be denied and another granted? considering they are the exact same accommodations? 

aside from medical history, what am I missing here.  genuinely interested and not being snarky.

Yes it's legal.

What basis can my request be denied and another granted?

As a Manager, below are some of the personnel issues I've taken into consideration when reviewing staffing requests/accommodations requested.

1.  Seniority + current staffing needs.

2. Staff's previous/current medical history disclosed to me.

3. ADA accommodation.

4. Applying for and approved for FMLA.

5. Willing to be temporarily reassigned to different unit.

6. Nurse willing to accept Charge responsibility.

7.  Nurses clinical skill mix.

8.  Loyalty to an organization-- long term employee who's been through the wringer in previous staffing crises/hurricanes/snow storms/ facilities emergency's.

9. Willing to work unwanted shifts.

10. Agency/Hospital/ or union policies.

11. "undue hardship" to the employer. https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/disability/jobaccommodations

12. State, Federal + antidiscrimination laws

ADA Reasonable accommodations law explained

https://askearn.org/topics/laws-regulations/americans-with-disabilities-act-ada/reasonable-accommodations/

Nurses - Job Accommodation Network  https://askjan.org/topics/Nurses.cfm

Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/requesting-reasonable-accommodation.html

The ADA thing isn’t really relevant here. I think you are talking about chronic health conditions like hypertension and asthma. Those aren’t disabilities, so they aren’t covered by ADA. Anyone with more knowledge than me is welcome to correct me. 

4 hours ago, CommunityRNBSN said:

The ADA thing isn’t really relevant here. I think you are talking about chronic health conditions like hypertension and asthma. Those aren’t disabilities, so they aren’t covered by ADA. Anyone with more knowledge than me is welcome to correct me. 

Actually they can be if chronic and/or uncontrolled and puts a worker at risk for serious harm, exacerbation, or death. Examples, asthma- toxic fumes, HTN- prior MI, uncontrolled, or strenuous activity which may lead to MI. There are many other possible scenarios, these are just a blurb.

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