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My bookkeeper at work is questioning me about a legit DRs note as well as accusing me of playing games. (1 Viewer)

DJackson10

Footballguy
Backstory and apologize for this being long. I work in a mainstream Grocery store as some already know where I use to exclusively cashier and check. Our Store went bankrupt and was bought by another company who kept most of us employed. I know work as a stocker and work the beer and wine section. PA has different rules on alcohol in grocery store on how to buy and such. Anyway back in 2O12 I started to get tingling and numbness in my left arm and finger area with my elbow hurting. Felt like someone pulling at the my with a bunch of tightness. My Union rep told me to go through workman's comp as my company didn't accept drs notes unless it was through a company approved dr. I went to the urgent care next door where I got an EMG and other testing where my results came back normal. I was diagnosed with Ulnar nerve entrapment as my Ulnar doesn't sit deep in my elbow so it rubs against bone if I do repetitive motion like checking. DR at the time ruled out surgery since I wasn't in 24/7 pain. Did some rehab which kind of helped. I was also restricted from back to back days checking and no more then 6HR shifts. That didn't last long shift wise but it hadn't been bother my arm either and I wasn't checking as often as I had previously. I also lost 5% permeated strength in my left hand grip wise. 

Go to this past DEC '21 I'm working my alcohol section during the Holiday and do to some rule changes I essentially just became an express lane for the entire store. I checked about 1O of 12 days straight with XMass and New Yrs Day as the only days off. NYE my arm is killing me. Hand completely numb. I mentioned something to my backup department manager and had mentioned in the past 2 or so months my arm had started to hurt more again even after an hour of being up there. Anyway my front end scheduled me to check on a day my Produce manager didn't have me on the schedule as he thought we couldn't have OT. When he found out he was pissed as he could have really used me. He's also my union shop steward. 

Anyway was pissed and decided to schedule a DR appointment with my primary for my arm issue. I informed my Front End team manager and others I would be late as I had a DRs appointment scheduled and maybe be an hr late as my DR was only like 15Mins from work. My dr checked me out and said my elbow by the nerve was inflamed. wrote me a note that I couldn't check until further evaluation and see an orthopedic. As you can guess I bring in my note and my FE team is pissed. My Store Director was actually cool about it and sent me to another department to work as I had told my DR the only time my arm issue happens is checking from the repetitive motion. I went to and orthopedic who gave me a new note similar To my primary. I had my EMG done again which came back normal. Orthopedic said it means my irritation is from checking and suggested PT. If the issue comes back to see a hand and elbow specialist who deals with the nerves which I already have a family friend for. 

My bookkeeper who keeps track of this wanted me to get the break out of the alocohol section as you have to be certified to work there and they don't have much help. I informed her my note meant I couldn't get a break out and she kind of argued that my note "didn't say that and if I can lift I can check." Fast forward to yesterday and she tells me again she needs a new note in detail what I can or can't do and threatens if I don't get a new one I at least have to get the alocohol break out. She then accuses me of playing games which is pretty rude. 

I had already informed my shop steward they were mad at me for this from the beginning and informed my Union rep who isn't the same one as before about a week after the first appointment when he came in. I spoke to my ASD as he's been cool with helping me through this process. He asked if he could see the DRs note which I told him sure its in the office. After reading it he did say that yes they did need a more detailed note and explained I need to put exactly any limitations and what I can do. He was nice and explained things pretty well without yelling or making threats. My mom even thought I should get my primary to write a more detailed note, but  I should call my Union rep to tell him about my bookkeepers accusations against me which I've thought about doing already. Speaking to another coworker in confidence who tells me stuff that happens around the store told me she's talked to others in the past like this. We have a girl in our store who cheats the system constantly and they don't say a thing even though we all know she's gaining the system. All because she's a brown noser and her mom is a lawyer and has threatened lawsuits on us as a company if we don't follow her drs notes. So I feel like I am being targeted here. 

Should I  just report her to HR? 

Should I have the note and Call HR 

or Just get the note and see if she does anything else that breaks my union contract that way I have more evidence of possible targeting moving forward? 

Again apologies for the long post but I wanted to to make this as clear as possible. 

 

TLEF316

Footballguy
As someone who underwrites workers comp insurance for a living (specifically for larger companies) I've seen the lengths people will go to in order to get out of work.  Its pretty insane (you wouldn't believe some of the claims I see) and unfortunately,....much more common among lower paid hourly workers. So from the company's perspective, I get having a specific protocol in place to ensure that folks aren't trying to scam the system.   I dont think its unreasonable to request a detailed note about what duties you can and can't do. (in fact, that's something I'd expect for anyone with this sort of claim. Repetitive motion/carpal tunnel injuries are a HUGE expense for companies and their insurance carriers. They get WAY bigger than you'd think....6 figures in plenty of cases)

Now, obviously those rules should be applied fairly to all employees (you mention another girl who works there who constantly "games the system") and I dont quite understand why the "book keeper" is the one trying to enforce these rules. But that's certainly not my area of expertise (maybe this "book keeper" has additional parts of her job, but to me...this should be an HR function)

If it were me, I'd talk to HR, figure out what the official guidelines are (are you required to use their doctor? Guessing its a Managed Care agreement with their insurance carrier to keep costs down in exchange for a credit on their premium) and get a detailed note. And honestly.....while you're trying to be a good employee....I wouldn't continue to "tough it out" if you're in real pain with long-term effects. Again...I see lots of total BS WC claims. This doesn't seem like one of those.  If you're entitled to benefits (including alternative duty while you heal) you should collect them.

At the end of the day....HR is still the company. They may be a resource for you, but they're not your friend. Keep the discussions cordial and positive  but remember that their goal is to get you back to work.   I promise nobody will care if you "tough it out" and suffer permanent damage that leaves you feeling like crap 30 years from now.

 
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Chadstroma

Footballguy
The answer is simple. Report to HR. Medical issues have very specific laws that must be followed such as HIPAA. I have seen managers fired for trying to play doctor or figure out if someone is "playing games". The medical issue is reported to HR and HR relays what accommodations, if any, need to be made for the employee. The manager or anyone else does not need to know anything more. 

 

DJackson10

Footballguy
As someone who underwrites workers comp insurance for a living (specifically for larger companies) I've seen the lengths people will go to in order to get out of work.  Its pretty insane (you wouldn't believe some of the claims I see) and unfortunately,....much more common among lower paid hourly workers. So from the company's perspective, I get having a specific protocol in place to ensure that folks aren't trying to scam the system.   I dont think its unreasonable to request a detailed note about what duties you can and can't do. (in fact, that's something I'd expect for anyone with this sort of claim. Repetitive motion/carpal tunnel injuries are a HUGE expense for companies and their insurance carriers. They get WAY bigger than you'd think....6 figures in plenty of cases)

Now, obviously those rules should be applied fairly to all employees (you mention another girl who works there who constantly "games the system") and I dont quite understand why the "book keeper" is the one trying to enforce these rules. But that's certainly not my area of expertise (maybe this "book keeper" has additional parts of her job, but to me...this should be an HR function)

If it were me, I'd talk to HR, figure out what the official guidelines are (are you required to use their doctor? Guessing its a Managed Care agreement with their insurance carrier to keep costs down in exchange for a credit on their premium) and get a detailed note. And honestly.....while you're trying to be a good employee....I wouldn't continue to "tough it out" if you're in real pain with long-term effects. Again...I see lots of total BS WC claims. This doesn't seem like one of those.  If you're entitled to benefits (including alternative duty while you heal) you should collect them.

At the end of the day....HR is still the company. They may be a resource for you, but they're not your friend. Keep the discussions cordial and positive  but remember that their goal is to get you back to work.   I promise nobody will care if you "tough it out" and suffer permanent damage that leaves you feeling like crap 30 years from now.


I'm not trying to tough it out. My arm feels a lot more better then it has in months since I haven't cashiered for that long. I do get the detailed note I just think how she talked to me it was very unprofessional. I got what she meant when my Assistant Store Manager gave me a good detailed reason. Like I said he was professional, asked if he could read the note, helped explained why he needed the more detailed note and gave me examples of what the note should say in it. I just don't care for people threatening me especially when I got documented proof of this for a decade at my job. My bookkeeper keeps all the hrs and does the records for this stuff for everyone in case there is workers comp and such. 

As for the girl let me give you an example. Claims she needs to be out for several months do to a medicine change. Ive heard on a few weeks but not like 3 months. Took the whole summer off and someone who knows her family told people that her mother bought her and her husband a shore house this year and she was down there constantly and seemed fine. I think we all know what she was doing and it certainly doesn't seem like a medical change. Now I do understand she does have some issues but I do think she uses hers as a copout to not be held accountable. 

I do see where the company is but I also think she's trying to feed me BS to get me back to work as they are short handed. To put this in perspective I'm like the super utility player who can do a little of everything. The problem is instead of trying to find terminate fixes for their issues it's always get me to do stuff. Because of the amount of stress and work some of it involves I've stopped doing certain things for them to not get overwhelmed. I'd dealt well with my Aspergers at work however sometimes it gets too much and I have to tell them sorry I can't help today or whatever. My produce manager when I'm scheduled over there when people need me really fights for me too so I'm not over worked as well. Also the not cashiering I'm in a much better mental state. The pandemic working took a lot out of me. Not sure whats wrong but I feel like I'm getting anxiety anytime I'm checking now, worrying too much etc. It's been over a month now I see very positive changes from sleeping better to being more productive at other tasks as well. However I also don't want to tell them this. 

So essentially me being out screwed them over if I can't do certain things I'm basically their CYA so higher ups don't question why this or that isn't done. They get me to fix something instead of finding a longer term solution. And honestly that's not fair to me or others and I'd like to be fairly compensated better for that work but thats a fight for a different day. 

 

DJackson10

Footballguy
The answer is simple. Report to HR. Medical issues have very specific laws that must be followed such as HIPAA. I have seen managers fired for trying to play doctor or figure out if someone is "playing games". The medical issue is reported to HR and HR relays what accommodations, if any, need to be made for the employee. The manager or anyone else does not need to know anything more. 


My mom works insurance in healthcare and she was trying to figure out who needs to know what. I think my state my Store manager and anyone else who deals with my schedule needs to know my accommodations. My actual hirer of me as an employee also needs to know but no one else. Coworkers or other managers I don't work with directly don't need to know anything else besides limitations if any. 

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
1. Who cares about the other girl. Worry about you, compare things less, and be happier. 

2. Get the detailed note and follow the procedure

3. Sounds like they're pretty good about respecting it and the union rep explains it well and clearly to you.

Sometimes people are jerks. Reporting someone to HR for being a jerk is more likely to just make them more of a jerk than moving on.

 

sho nuff

Footballguy
Agreed with the above workign through HR just to ensure you get scheduled properly and not worry much about comparing with others.

Also...have a similar ulnar nerve issue.  Mine from keeping my left elbow bent too much as well as leaning on it when seated at a computer.  Also pops up on long drives if I keep it bent.  Freaky when I first noticed the numbness and tingling in the middle of a run.  Yeah...running and my left arm is going numb and fingers tingling.  Guessing you also got the fun nerve zap test where they run a little electrical signal from different spots in your neck, shoulders and so on to see where the issue is?  Mine is lucky that just some adjustments to how I sit at a computer...and a brace I had to wear at night for a while (to keep my arm at the proper angle) has mostly helped.  The brace I have done away with as my sleep adjusted (along with starting CPAP having me sleep on my back mostly).  So no surgery yet and the orthopedic seems ok with how things have gone.  I have not lost any grip strength which is good. Sounds like yours is a bit worse.  Good luck with it...I know its not a fun feeling.

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
My mom works insurance in healthcare and she was trying to figure out who needs to know what. I think my state my Store manager and anyone else who deals with my schedule needs to know my accommodations. My actual hirer of me as an employee also needs to know but no one else. Coworkers or other managers I don't work with directly don't need to know anything else besides limitations if any. 
HR tells the manager what accommodations need to be made. Manager makes sure the accommodations are made. No one else needs to have any input or explanation other than an accommodation is being made. 

 

acarey50

Footballguy
1. Who cares about the other girl. Worry about you, compare things less, and be happier. 

2. Get the detailed note and follow the procedure

3. Sounds like they're pretty good about respecting it and the union rep explains it well and clearly to you.

Sometimes people are jerks. Reporting someone to HR for being a jerk is more likely to just make them more of a jerk than moving on.
This ⬆️

HR tells the manager what accommodations need to be made. Manager makes sure the accommodations are made. No one else needs to have any input or explanation other than an accommodation is being made. 
And this ⬆️

In my role at work we coordinate with our Workers Comp group, HR and the managers/supervisors to determine if the workplace restrictions can be accommodated or if the employee needs to be temporarily transferred to a different role that can accommodate or if they need to be off work for recovery. The only people that are privy to the details are the workers comp rep and the employees supervisor, and even then the supervisor is only privy to the restrictions prescribed (ie can only lift X pounds, not sitting (or standing) for longer than Y period of time, etc.) and they determine what can/can not be accommodated. Our field guys are all union, though for the vast majority of workplace injuries, the union is not involved at all (other than investigation into root causes, etc. to gather lessons learned, but that has nothing to do with worker's comp, etc). In your case, sounds like you are keeping your rep in the loop and they are helping you through the process.

 

DJackson10

Footballguy
Agreed with the above workign through HR just to ensure you get scheduled properly and not worry much about comparing with others.

Also...have a similar ulnar nerve issue.  Mine from keeping my left elbow bent too much as well as leaning on it when seated at a computer.  Also pops up on long drives if I keep it bent.  Freaky when I first noticed the numbness and tingling in the middle of a run.  Yeah...running and my left arm is going numb and fingers tingling.  Guessing you also got the fun nerve zap test where they run a little electrical signal from different spots in your neck, shoulders and so on to see where the issue is?  Mine is lucky that just some adjustments to how I sit at a computer...and a brace I had to wear at night for a while (to keep my arm at the proper angle) has mostly helped.  The brace I have done away with as my sleep adjusted (along with starting CPAP having me sleep on my back mostly).  So no surgery yet and the orthopedic seems ok with how things have gone.  I have not lost any grip strength which is good. Sounds like yours is a bit worse.  Good luck with it...I know its not a fun feeling.


Yep I've had all of it. Chawed the brace. Hesitant to go through HR will talk to my union first. The person I talked to who explained it better is my assistant store director with no ties to the union. Did a betta job explaining things. My issue with my bookkeeper is the threats and the questioning if its a legit drs note when like I said others haven't gotten questioned and at least one person garners the system. I think she's just PO'd that they are short handed and this happened at a bad time but honestly it's not my problem they are short handed and they haven't used me in a Cashier duty position for months other then come up for 5 mins and get a line down. Wouldn't consider my beer and wine duties as part of their space ether just because of the different rules and all. 

I upset the little cult up there so now they are seeing what they can get away with. I don't think she realizes she's dealing with someone who's heard all the BS from them before she got there and I'm well versed in their lies and such. The funny thing is my Store Director who is my main boss has had problems with it in the past when it comes to my stuff but he's completely stayed out of it. Now I don't know for sure if she is relaying a message from him or not though because she keeps saying Corporate Neds to know this or that. 

I also started taking proxiuman a higher strength ibiporfuen as regular stuff does nothing for me anymore. 

 

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