Returning to Work After a Diabetes Diagnosis

Returning to Work After a Diabetes Diagnosis

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Though it was rare, Amanda Reynolds had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in her late twenties. The diabetes diagnosis alarmed Amanda, but she quickly got to work learning how to properly care for herself and manage the symptoms of her new condition. Now in her early thirties, Amanda Reynolds felt like her life was finally on track. She seemed to be in good health, had a new fiancé, loads of friends and family, and she enjoyed working as a Bank Sales Representative for the branch close to her home. Amanda’s supervisor allowed her to take short breaks whenever she felt like she needed to check her blood sugar levels or have a snack. Sometimes, her symptoms were harder to manage, but she tried to focus on doing her best every day.

 

NEW AND DEBILITATING SYMPTOMS FROM DIABETES DIAGNOSIS

Everything seemed to be going well for a while, but slowly Amanda began to feel the onset of Type 2 diabetes complications. After long shifts at the bank, Amanda would experience severe fatigue as well as weakness and numbness in her hands and feet.

The numbness and tingling would often linger for days, and would cause Amanda to lose focus and concentration on the job.  Amanda was concerned. Her job required precision and focus- especially since she was often asked to handle large cash deposits. There wasn’t room for error, and the pressure and stress were getting to her.

One day, while on the job, Amanda was feeling particularly tired and overwhelmed. She felt pain in her fingers and was having difficulty counting money at her station, and the numbness in her toes had been intense for days. She felt like she just needed a break.

That same day, a co-worker asked Amanda to help her lift a heavy box of office supplies, and without even thinking, Amanda obliged. As soon as Amanda took hold of the box, she realized that it was far too heavy, and the tingling sensation in her feet worsened immediately.

COMPANY OFFERS MODIFIED DUTIES FOR DIABETES DIAGNOSIS

Amanda quickly sought the advice of her physician. Her doctor suggested that she take an indefinite leave of absence from work. These troubling symptoms could lead to further complications if Amanda didn’t take the time she needed to rest and attend treatment.

Amanda immediately contacted her supervisor and the Human Resources department at her bank to find out what she needed to do to protect her job while taking the time she needed to take care of the most important thing: her health.

Right away, Amanda’s supervisor and Human Resources department began trying to talk her out of a leave of absence. The bank offered her modified duties, and had her working the reception desk at the branch. they said this would be great for her as she would have a chair, and would no longer have to count money.

Amanda got started, and quickly learned that even her modified duties still presented challenges. Despite not having to count money or stand on her feet all day, the shifts were still exhausting and the pain she felt in her fingers and toes never subsided. During peak hours, Amanda was stressed by the number of clients who needed her help and the phone never seemed to stop ringing!  Even though she was feeling discomfort, she was uncomfortable bringing her concerns up with her supervisor as she felt like she was already “walking on thin ice”.

Amanda didn’t want to lose her job, but she knew that the Return to Work Program just wasn’t going to work for her. It seemed like her employer couldn’t offer her modified duties that were within her present scope of abilities.

DIABETES DIAGNOSIS & HOW SHARE LAWYERS HELPED

Now Amanda was worried that too much time had passed, and that she might no longer be eligible to apply for Long-Term Disability. With her concerns quickly growing, Amanda sought legal help. Based on recommendations from family and friends, she quickly decided to phone Share Lawyers. When Amanda phoned, Emily, one of the firm’s Law Clerks told Amanda to apply immediately for her Short Term and Long Term Disability and if she got denied then to call back. Emily sent her information on how to apply for disability benefits. When Amanda did get a denial a few months later she immediately phoned Emily to book an appointment.

The team at Share got to work compiling a strong case for Amanda.  The Share team collected all medical records and reports from Amanda’s doctors who supported the notion that she should take a leave. Amanda’s lawyer was even careful not to overwhelm her, or stress her out with unnecessary paperwork and forms.  Unfortunately, as time went by Amanda’s symptoms worsened and she would never be able to return to full time work at the bank. The Share Lawyers team negotiated a fair and substantial settlement on Amanda’s behalf, and she was even able to consider what other types of work she may be able to do in the future. SP

All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all involved.

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