fired today due to sleep apnea

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fired today due to sleep apnea

Postby rjm » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:44 pm

I was fired today because my boss said I fell asleep during a meeting. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in late August of 2006. I have been on a CPAP since then. I thought everything was working out ok and didn't know I was still falling asleep. Can my company do this?
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Postby JeanInMontana » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:57 pm

How terrible. I would imagine it varies by state and what the unemployment laws etc are. This site might give you some good info http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/Sleep.html Keep us posted.
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Postby Jessica » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:52 pm

Are you refusing treatment? If you are refusing treatment, then they can.
However, if sleep apnea qualifies as a disability, (and I've been unable to find out if it does. Could someone post that info if you know?) then places of emplyment have to provide "reasonable accomodations." If you were in a wheel chair, they could not fire you cause you couldn't get up the front stairs. They would have to install a ramp. It gets complicated though, because obviously, if you were, say, driving a truck cross country, you could be fired just for having sleep apnea or narcolepsy, from what I have heard. (Of course, I'm not sure, and I'm not a lawyer.) I think you need to find out if this qualifies as a disability, then call a lawyer. However, if it does qualify, the very fact that it is on record that they fired you for falling asleep would help you win benifits. Just in case, if you don't have it in writing, send a certified letter, return reciept requested, and ask for the employer to send you an explanation of why you were fired. Don't tell them why. Just ask for the explanation. Even if they try to make you sound irresponsible, they will put that you fell asleep, and you need that in writing, in your hands, no matter what you plan to do. If you ever decide to apply for dissability, you need it. If you plan to file suit, you need it. Before they realize they need to make up something, like that you stole money, or whatever.
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Postby Jessica » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:13 am

The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in State and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications. This booklet explains the part of the ADA that prohibits job discrimination. This part of the law is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and State and local civil rights enforcement agencies that work with the Commission.


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What Employers Are Covered by the ADA?
Job discrimination against people with disabilities is illegal if practiced by:

private employers,
state and local governments,
employment agencies,
labor organizations,
and labor-management committees.
The part of the ADA enforced by the EEOC outlaws job discrimination by:

all employers, including State and local government employers, with 25 or more employees after July 26, 1992, and
all employers, including State and local government employers, with 15 or more employees after July 26, 1994.
Another part of the ADA, enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice, prohibits discrimination in State and local government programs and activities, including discrimination by all State and local governments, regardless of the number of employees, after January 26, 1992.

Because the ADA establishes overlapping responsibilities in both EEOC and DOJ for employment by State and local governments, the Federal enforcement effort is coordinated by EEOC and DOJ to avoid duplication in investigative and enforcement activities. In addition, since some private and governmental employers are already covered by nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, EEOC, DOJ, and the Department of Labor similarly coordinate the enforcement effort under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.


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Are You Protected by The ADA?
If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects you if you have a history of such a disability, or if an employer believes that you have such a disability, even if you don't.

To be protected under the ADA, you must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.

If you have a disability, you must also be qualified to perform the essential functions or duties of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected from job discrimination by the ADA. This means two things. First, you must satisfy the employer's requirements for the job, such as education, employment experience, skills or licenses. Second, you must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Essential functions are the fundamental job duties that you must be able to perform on your own or with the help of a reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job.


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What is Reasonable Accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:

providing or modifying equipment or devices,
job restructuring,
part-time or modified work schedules,
reassignment to a vacant position,
adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies,
providing readers and interpreters, and
making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship -- that is, that it would require significant difficulty or expense.


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What Employment Practices are Covered?
The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate in all employment

practices such as:
recruitment
firing
hiring
training
job assignments
promotions
pay
benefits
lay off
leave
all other employment related activities.
It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the ADA. The Act also protects you if you are a victim of discrimination because of your family, business, social or other relationship or association with an individual with a disability.


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Can an Employer Require Medical Examinations or Ask Questions About a Disability?
If you are applying for a job, an employer cannot ask you if you are disabled or ask about the nature or severity of your disability. An employer can ask if you can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer can also ask you to describe or to demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation, you will perform the duties of the job.

An employer cannot require you to take a medical examination before you are offered a job. Following a job offer, an employer can condition the offer on your passing a required medical examination, but only if all entering employees for that job category have to take the examination. However, an employer cannot reject you because of information about your disability revealed by the medical examination, unless the reasons for rejection are job-related and necessary for the conduct of the employer's business. The employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your disability if you can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation.

Once you have been hired and started work, your employer cannot require that you take a medical examination or ask questions about your disability unless they are related to your job and necessary for the conduct of your employer's business. Your employer may conduct voluntary medical examinations that are part of an employee health program, and may provide medical information required by State workers' compensation laws to the agencies that administer such laws.

The results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential, and maintained in separate medical files.


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Do Individuals Who Use Drugs Illegally Have Rights Under the ADA?
Anyone who is currently using drugs illegally is not protected by the ADA and may be denied employment or fired on the basis of such use. The ADA does not prevent employers from testing applicants or employees for current illegal drug use.


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What Do I Do If I Think That I'm Being Discriminated Against?
If you think you have been discriminated against in employment on the basis of disability after July 26, 1992, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A charge of discrimination generally must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You may have up to 300 days to file a charge if there is a State or local law that provides relief for discrimination on the basis of disability. However, to protect your rights, it is best to contact EEOC promptly if discrimination is suspected.

You may file a charge of discrimination on the basis of disability by contacting any EEOC field office, located in cities throughout the United States. If you have been discriminated against, you are entitled to a remedy that will place you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had never occurred. You may be entitled to hiring, promotion, reinstatement, back pay, or reasonable accommodation, including reassignment. You may also be entitled to attorneys fees.

While the EEOC can only process ADA charges based on actions occurring on or after July 26, 1992, you may already be protected by State or local laws or by other current federal laws. EEOC field offices can refer you to the agencies that enforce those laws.

To contact the EEOC, look in your telephone directory under "U.S. Government." For information and instructions on reaching your local office, call:

(800) 669-4000 (Voice)
(800) 669-6820 (TDD)
(In the Washington, D.C. 202 Area Code, call 202-663-4900 (voice) or 202-663-4494 (TDD).)

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Can I Get Additional ADA Information and Assistance?
The EEOC conducts an active technical assistance program to promote voluntary compliance with the ADA. This program is designed to help people with disabilities understand their rights and to help employers understand their responsibilities under the law.

In January 1992, EEOC published a Technical Assistance Manual, providing practical application of legal requirements to specific employment activities, with a directory of resources to aid compliance. EEOC publishes other educational materials, provides training on the law for people with disabilities and for employers, and participates in meetings and training programs of other organizations. EEOC staff also will respond to individual requests for information and assistance. The Commission's technical assistance program is separate and distinct from its enforcement responsibilities. Employers who seek information or assistance from the Commission will not be subject to any enforcement action because of such inquiries.

The Commission also recognizes that differences and disputes about ADA requirements may arise between employers and people with disabilities as a result of misunderstandings. Such disputes frequently can be resolved more effectively through informal negotiation or mediation procedures, rather than through the formal enforcement process of the ADA. Accordingly, EEOC will encourage efforts of employers and individuals with disabilities to settle such differences through alternative methods of dispute resolution, providing that such efforts do not deprive any individual of legal rights provided by the statute.


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More Questions and Answers About the ADA
Q. Is an employer required to provide reasonable accommodation when I apply for a job?

A. Yes. Applicants, as well as employees, are entitled to reasonable accommodation. For example, an employer may be required to provide a sign language interpreter during a job interview for an applicant who is deaf or hearing impaired, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship.

Q. Should I tell my employer that I have a disability?

A. If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation will be needed. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation only for the physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability of which they are aware. Generally, it is the responsibility of the employee to inform the employer that an accommodation is needed.

Q. Do I have to pay for a needed reasonable accommodation?

A. No. The ADA requires that the employer provide the accommodation unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. If the cost of providing the needed accommodation would be an undue hardship, the employee must be given the choice of providing the accommodation or paying for the portion of the accommodation that causes the undue hardship.

Q. Can an employer lower my salary or pay me less than other employees doing the same job because I need a reasonable accommodation?

A. No. An employer cannot make up the cost of providing a reasonable accommodation by lowering your salary or paying you less than other employees in similar positions.

Q. Does an employer have to make non-work areas used by employees, such as cafeterias, lounges, or employer-provided transportation accessible to people with disabilities?

A. Yes. The requirement to provide reasonable accommodation covers all services, programs, and non-work facilities provided by the employer. If making an existing facility accessible would be an undue hardship, the employer must provide a comparable facility that will enable a person with a disability to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment similar to those enjoyed by other employees, unless to do so would be an undue hardship.

Q. If an employer has several qualified applicants for a job, is the employer required to select a qualified applicant with a disability over other applicants without a disability?

A. No. The ADA does not require that an employer hire an applicant with a disability over other applicants because the person has a disability. The ADA only prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. It makes it unlawful to refuse to hire a qualified applicant with a disability because he is disabled or because a reasonable accommodation is required to make it possible for this person to perform essential job functions.

Q. Can an employer refuse to hire me because he believes that it would be unsafe, because of my disability, for me to work with certain machinery required to perform the essential functions of the job?

A. The ADA permits an employer to refuse to hire an individual if she poses a direct threat to the health or safety of herself or others. A direct threat means a significant risk of substantial harm. The determination that there is a direct threat must be based on objective, factual evidence regarding an individual's present ability to perform essential functions of a job. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because of a slightly increased risk or because of fears that there might be a significant risk sometime in the future. The employer must also consider whether a risk can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level with a reasonable accommodation.

Q. Can an employer offer a health insurance policy that excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions?

A. Yes. The ADA does not affect pre-existing condition clauses contained in health insurance policies even though such clauses may adversely affect employees with disabilities more than other employees.

Q. If the health insurance offered by my employer does not cover all of the medical expenses related to my disability, does the company have to obtain additional coverage for me?

A. No. The ADA only requires that an employer provide employees with disabilities equal access to whatever health insurance coverage is offered to other employees.

Q. I think I was discriminated against because my wife is disabled. Can I file a charge with the EEOC?

A. Yes. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against an individual, whether disabled or not, because of a relationship or association with an individual with a known disability.

Q. Are people with AIDS covered by the ADA?

A. Yes. The legislative history indicates that Congress intended the ADA to protect persons with AIDS and HIV disease from discrimination.


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For more specific information about ADA requirements affecting employment contact:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
P.O. Box 7033
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
(800) 669-4000 (Voice), (800) 669-6820 (TDD)

For more specific information about ADA requirements affecting public accommodations and State and local government services contact:

Department of Justice
Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act
Civil Rights Division
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, DC 20035-6118
(202) 514-0301 (Voice)
(202) 514-0381 (TDD)
(202) 514-0383 (TDD)

For more specific information about requirements for accessible design in new construction and alterations contact:

Architectural and Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board
1111 18th Street, NW
Suite 501
Washington, DC 20036
800-USA-ABLE
800-USA-ABLE (TDD)

For more specific information about ADA requirements affecting transportation contact:

Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
(202) 366-9305
(202) 755-7687 (TDD)

For more specific information about ADA requirements for telecommunications contact: Federal Communications Commission 1919 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20554 (202) 634-1837 (202) 632-1836 (TDD)


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You may obtain this booklet in alternate formats, upon request by dialing 800-669-3362 or 800-800-3302.


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This page was last modified on March 21, 2005.

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Reasonable accomodations for sleep anea.

Postby Jessica » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:35 am

Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Sleep Disorders


.pdf version

Preface

Introduction | Information About | Americans with Disabilities Act | Accommodating Employees | Resources | References
Introduction

JAN's Accommodation and Compliance Series is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each publication in the series addresses a specific medical condition and provides information about the condition, ADA information, accommodation ideas, and resources for additional information.

The Accommodation and Compliance Series is a starting point in the accommodation process and may not address every situation. Accommodations should be made on a case by case basis, considering each employee's individual limitations and accommodation needs. Employers are encouraged to contact JAN to discuss specific situations in more detail.

For information on assistive technology and other accommodation ideas, visit JAN's Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) at http://www.jan.wvu.edu/soar.

Information about Sleep Disorders

How prevalent are sleep disorders?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, it is estimated that 40 million Americans are diagnosed with a chronic long-term sleep disorder each year, and 20 million Americans have occasional sleep problems (About Sleep Disorders, 2005).

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are neurological conditions that can affect sleep in a variety of ways. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) lists over 84 different types of sleep disorders that affect the body's normal cycle of daytime wakefulness and night time sleep (About Sleep Disorders, 2005).

Sleep disorders are often categorized into four types: (1) Primary Sleep Disorders, (2) Sleep Disorders Related to Another Mental Disorder, (3) Sleep Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition, and (4) Substance-Induced Sleep Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Examples of Primary Sleep Disorders are:

Primary Insomnia: The common complaint of primary insomnia is difficulty falling or staying asleep that is consistent for at least one month. Symptoms include decreased energy, lower concentration, and fatigue. Although symptoms are similar, primary insomnia should not be confused with insomnia related to a mental health impairment or another health condition. Insomnia, in general, often increases with age and affects women more (National Women's Health Information Center, n.d.).

Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy's primary characteristic is the occurrence of sleep attacks, which can occur at any time and during activity or conversation. Individuals with narcolepsy have abnormal sleep patterns and enter Rapid Eye Movement (REM) before going through their regular sleep sequence. Cataplexy (a weakness or paralysis of the muscles), sleep paralysis, and hallucinations are common symptoms of narcolepsy (Neurology Channel, 2005).

Hypersomnia: Hypersomnia's symptoms include excessive sleepiness for a minimum of one month. Excessive sleepiness is often characterized by extended sleep episodes or by daytime sleep episodes that occur daily. Individuals with hypersomnia often sleep 8 to 12 hours a night and have difficultly waking up (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): The primary complaint of individuals with RLS is that sensations in the legs, described as pins and needles, crawling, and tingling, occur during sleep. As a result of these sensations, there is an overwhelming urge to move the legs. People with RLS are often sleepy during the day due to lack of sleep. Between 5-10% of Americans have RLS; iron deficiencies and genetics may play a factor in the occurrence (Haran, 2005).

Sleep Apnea: Over 12 million Americans have sleep apnea; it is more common in men over 40 years of age (National Institute of Health, 2003). There are two different types of sleep apnea: (1) central sleep apnea and (2) obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Nine out of ten people with sleep apnea have OSA. The main characteristic of sleep apnea is that an individual stops breathing for 10-30 seconds at a time while sleeping. As a result, the individual never completes a full sleep cycle and has significant daytime sleepiness. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the nighttime use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is a mask that is worn at night to force air into an individual's airway. The CPAP keeps a person's airway open while sleeping so the person can reach a deep sleep (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

Shift Work Type: Ten percent of all shift workers have been diagnosed with shift-work type sleep disorder. Shift work type is a result of disruptions of sleep and wakefulness patterns due to irregular schedules. Rotating shift work is the most disruptive because sleep is never habitual. Serious health conditions can arise out of this, including peptic ulcer disease and heart disease (Basner, 2005).

What causes sleep disorders?

Many causes can be attributed to sleep disorders depending on the type. In many cases, sleep disorders can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or a side effect of medications. Often times, a family pattern can be shown in conditions such as hypersomnia and narcolepsy (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

How are sleep disorders treated?

Depending on the type of sleep disorder, life style changes, medications, and surgery can be options (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).


Sleep Disorders and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Are sleep disorders disabilities under the ADA?

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet (EEOC, 1992). Therefore, some people with sleep disorders will have a disability under the ADA and some will not.

A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment (EEOC, 1992). For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, visit http://www.jan.wvu.edu/corner/vol02iss04.htm.

Accommodating Employees with Sleep Disorders

(Note: People with sleep disorders may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with sleep disorders will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.)

Questions to Consider:

1. What limitations is the employee with a sleep disorder experiencing?

2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee's job performance?

3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?

4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?

5. Has the employee with the sleep disorder been consulted regarding possible accommodations?

6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee with a sleep disorder to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?

7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training regarding sleep disorders?

Accommodation Ideas:

Daytime Sleepiness:

Provide a device such as a Doze Alert or other alarms to keep the employee alert
Reschedule for longer or shorter, more frequent breaks
Provide a shift change for when the employee is most alert

Maintaining Concentration:

Provide space enclosures or a private work area or office
Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting
Reduce clutter in the employee's work environment
Plan for uninterrupted work time
Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and steps
Restructure job to include only essential functions
Allow the employee to listen to music or white noise with a headset

Memory Deficits:

Post instructions with frequently used equipment
Allow the employee to tape record verbal instruction or meetings
Provide written checklists
Allow additional training time
Provide written as well as verbal instructions
Use notebooks, calendars, or sticky notes to record information for easy retrieval

Attendance Issues:

Provide a flexible start time and/or end time
Allow the employee to work from home
Provide a part time work schedule
Provide a shift change

Decreased Stamina:

Provide a flexible schedule
Allow longer or more frequent work breaks
Provide additional time to learn new responsibilities
Provide backup coverage for when the employee needs to take breaks
Restructure job to include only essential functions

Situations and Solutions:

A financial analyst with sleep apnea often fell asleep while working at her computer. The employer provided her with a small device called a Doze Alert that fits in her ear and sounds whenever her head starts to drop forward as she falls asleep.

A customer service representative with hypersomnia had difficulty waking up for his morning schedule, which resulted in him being late for his shift. The employer accommodated him by moving him to the afternoon shift.

A dispatcher with shift work sleep disorder worked rotating shifts that caused his sleep disorder to be exacerbated. The employer changed the rotating shift schedule for all employees to shifts that were assigned by seniority.

A clerical employee with insomnia had a hard time maintaining concentration on the job and his stamina was often poor because of inadequate sleep. This employee was allowed frequent breaks to help improve his stamina.

An accountant with restless leg syndrome was often 10-15 minutes late for work every day due to amount and quality of sleep. The employer provided this employee with a half an hour flexible start time. Depending on when the employee arrived, the time was made up either in a break or at the end of the day.


Resources

References

About Sleep Disorders. (2005). Types of sleep disorders, and how anxiety and diet may influence rest. Retrieved January 5, 2006, from
http://www.about-sleep-disorders.com

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Basner, R.C. (2004). Shift-work sleep disorder - The glass is more than half Empty. The New England Journal or Medicine, 353(5). Retrieved November 11, 2005, from http://content.nejm.org
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (1992). A technical assistance manual on the employment provisions (title I) of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Retrieved October 28, 2005, from http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/ADAtam1.html

Haran, C. (2005). Iron works: A cause of restless leg syndrome. Retrieved November 4, 2005, from http://www.abcnews.go.com

National Institutes of Health. (2003). What is sleep apnea? Retrieved January 11, 2005, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

National Women's Health Information Center. (n.d.) Frequently asked questions about insomnia. Retrieved December 12, 2005, from http://www.4women.gov

Neurology Channel. (2005). Sleep Disorders. Retrieved January 4, 2006, from http://neurologychannel.com

If you have a question about accommodations and/or the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), click here:


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¨Solution¨

Postby LittleMoreAwakeG1 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:57 am

As quoted: ¨Situations and Solutions:

A financial analyst with sleep apnea often fell asleep while working at her computer. The employer provided her with a small device called a Doze Alert that fits in her ear and sounds whenever her head starts to drop forward as she falls asleep.¨


Gee, how nice of the employer to offer this device. I think the same types of tactics are used on prisoners of war. It´s called forced sleep deprivation. What a joke!
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Postby happypapper » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:57 am

RJM, my heart goes out to you (been there, done that--not because of sleep apnea, but because of a very uppity boss who thought she was God's gift to creation). It's rough to lose a job.

Jessica, thank you so much for taking time to research and post the ADA act.
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Postby billie » Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:58 pm

Jessica.. you remind me of my sister....she can come up with stuff like this thank you very much
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Postby eldeeinc » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:22 pm

OMG...can't believe your employer did you wrong like that... :-(
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Postby hhopper » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm

I wonder if the ACLU could help you get your job back, (if you still want to work for a company like that.)
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Postby Will » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:40 pm

What were the circumstances of the meeting you feel asleep in, and was this the first time? What type of work do you do? I can see where it would be a firable offense if say you are in sales and you feel asleep in an important meeting with a major client or something along those lines. But then if it is just a regular internal day to day type of meeting, that seems like a rather excessive handling of it.

What were the other circumstances surrounding your job? Were you already having trouble at the job and this just gave them a final excuse to let you go, or did it come out of the blue?

In any case, sorry to hear that it happened. Hopefully you'll be able to land on your feet in a better situation soon.
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soooo glad i found this listing!

Postby gariety » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:35 am

I am ABOUT to be in the EXACT same situation....when i dont get a good nights sleep or when i have trouble keeping my mask on over night or any of that i can get narcoleptic symptoms....as it stands right now if i fall asleep one more time i will get fired and i do have all of this in writing....my doctor never could think any kind of list of accomidations they could make for me except maybe to work a later shift but they never had one open for me at least......well just a matter of time before im in the exact same shoes.....whats worse is i work tech support.....tho i've never been caught i have fallen asleep for like less than 10 seconds even while on the ph;one with customers....this is all gonna end bad i think because i was told in MD at least where im from they have a no fault firing law....your job can fire u for lookin at them funny....oh well keep me updated and let me know what happens!!!!

Mike
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Postby rjm » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:33 pm

Thank you for all the good advice and support. I saw my Doctor on Monday and he said he would write a letter to my employer (ex employer). They don't want any parts of it. They are harassing me to sign a resignation paper. That way, I won't be eligible for unemployment benefits. I have called several lawyers in Memphis and Nashville area and can't find one to take the case. Seems like it is a "gray area". I'm an engineer and it was an internal meeting of five people. My boss wasn't even in the meeting - he was on vacation. One of the men in the meeting said that he would write a letter or testify that I was not asleep during the meeting.
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Postby Jessica » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:39 am

Whatever you do, DON'T SIGN THAT PAPER! And try calling Scott Saul, attorney, in Nashville.
If they want to fire you over a disability, make them do it. Don't do it for them.
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Postby Guest » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:28 pm

I'm really sorry about your job loss. The exact same thing happened to me a year ago. I knew something was wrong but I didn't know what. I was diagnosed a six months later with sleep apnea. The irony of course is that I worked as an attorney in disability rights!! I can only say that after a year of unemployment, watching my savings disappear and a few months on CPAP I'm finally ready to jump back into the game of life. Re: your circumstances - have you been working there for long? Past job performance issues - good or bad reviews? Was this the first time this happened? Was your employer aware of your apnea and if not did you inform them when they raised concerns about your falling asleep and fired you? Lots of other questions. Of course many people often forget that in order for an employer to provide reasonable accommodations they must be aware of the need. Re: sleep apnea perhaps flexible hours if possible. Good luck!
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