I took a sick day and I’m grateful to say I do not regret it. We accumulate sick leave/ PTO for a reason. But unfortunately, when you have an IBD your sick days can add up, which will eventually worry me. Thankfully, I have a very understanding boss, which I’ve learned is very rare.
I posted a question in a crohn’s/colitis support group on Facebook aimed towards young professionals, asking do you fear your disease can impact your professional life? Should you bring up your disease at your job? Would you ever leave a job even if you had a very understanding boss? The responses were mixed and I noticed the older you are the more pessimistic. “No, I would never leave because finding an understanding boss is very rare”. Some even stated, “bringing up your condition or leaving is just stupid”. The younger people that responded were totally different (millennials! smh), they stated you should not allow your disease to hold you back or impede your professional growth. “If the job is not flexible,then it’s not the right job.” The one thing that both sides agreed on is that you never mention your disease firsthand, because it’s a big possibility that you will be discriminated against, and I totally agree.
In my situation, I had been in my position for over a year before I became sick. So my manager knew about my many doctor appointments because she approved my leave and when I finally got a diagnosis of course she was curious. At first I was afraid to tell, but I’m glad I eventually did. Since I’ve been really sick lately, I don’t know how I could have kept it a secret. My situation is rare, and I’m very grateful for the support I have, but there are resources out there if you do not have support, you do have rights.
In the US you might be able to file for disability. According to the CCFA.org you may be able to apply for social security benefits if your condition is found in the list of disabling impairments, the CCFA pointed out 3 conditions where IBD would fit:
- Disorders of the Digestive System
- Malnutrition or Weight Loss
- Surgical Diversion of the Intestinal Tract
Read more at this link: http://www.ccfa.org/resources/applying-for-social-security.html
CCFA also has an employee accommodation letter template that ask for office placement located near a bathroom; allowed to start work an hour later each day; and other accommodations. Letter may be given to healthcare provider to complete and provide specific needs for the employee. Letter is then provided to the patient’s employer.
Review the accommodation letter here: http://www.ccfa.org/resources/employment-accommodation.html
The CCFA also provides a summary of disability laws and even job search engines for persons with disabilities, CCFA is freaking awesome lol Check out the info here: http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/employment-and-inflammatory.pdf