• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

PTSD Accommodations

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

gryndor

Member
I work for a small local govt department in CA. Other than the Boss, I'm the closest thing to HR here, so I'm looking for advice.

One of our employees has been here for 5 years. Things were fine inter-personally between this EE and the rest of the (decade-plus tenured) staff, until about 6 months ago. She feels bullied and isolated, and some of the other staff are saying that she's being shady, lying, and doesn't deserve (or somehow tricked management into) a wage way above her worth. I think that the behavior is wildly inappropriate, but the bullied EE is being asked by our boss to kind of "buck up and face them head-on." I don't know that I agree, but that's not really my call, I guess.

Anyway, the rest of the staff is not letting up... they've just become more subtle, and this EE has come to me crying several times to report the latest thing that's happened. Some things may be overblown due to raw nerves, some things may be just straight up hostile.

She's admitted to me her horrible PTSD history, and her extensive therapy. She's making sounds like she's about to formally request some kind of ADA Accommodations related to her past, and the triggers that are happening now. She has mentioned that our boss doesn't "get it" and keeps asking her to do things to mend the relationships with her coworkers, things she says she can NOT do, and that she needs to get him to understand perhaps in an official way. I'm not sure what her ideal solution is other than, "I wish they'd just leave me alone," but I'm curious as to what reasonable accommodations we as a department might be required to address? I've googled my brains out and I can't seem to get much of an answer...

If it matters, she's an office worker (paperwork, phones, greeting customers, light accounting, etc). She's the main point of contact for the whole department and the world outside so that I can shut myself away in an office and do my own mountain of work, uninterrupted.

Do you have any suggestions, experience, guidance?
 
Last edited:


quincy

Senior Member
This does not appear to be your legal issue. You can tell the bullied employee to discuss her concerns and her options with an employment lawyer in her area, this if the employer is not addressing her concerns adequately.
 

gryndor

Member
This does not appear to be your legal issue. You can tell the bullied employee to discuss her concerns and her options with an employment lawyer in her area, this if the employer is not addressing her concerns adequately.
It is my boss's issue, and he has asked me to do the research. County counsel is slammed and will not be able to get to us with any timeliness.
 

quincy

Senior Member
It is my boss's issue, and he has asked me to do the research. County counsel is slammed and will not be able to get to us with any timeliness.
Then I suggest you ask the bullied employee what she thinks would be a good solution.

You could also have a department-wide meeting to address workplace bullying in general (do not single out the bullied employee for discussion). Tell all employees how bullying will not be tolerated (even though it apparently is).

If the bad behavior by others continue, speak to each bully individually.

If the workplace continues to decay, the employee who is bullied might find good support for a lawsuit.
 

gryndor

Member
Then I suggest you ask the bullied employee what she thinks would be a good solution.

You could also have a department-wide meeting to address workplace bullying in general (do not single out the bullied employee for discussion). Tell all employees how bullying will not be tolerated (even though it apparently is).

If the bad behavior by others continue, speak to each bully individually.

If the workplace continues to decay, the employee who is bullied might find good support for a lawsuit.
Thank you @quincy

I think asking our EE is a good first step. I was more curious about if she asks to not have any contact with these staff members any more, or contact with anyone when she's in a bad way, or if she can switch her schedule to something way outside of business hours or whatever, if that's something the department will need to allow? Is there a rule of thumb for the limit on these accommodations?
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Should it be determined that the ADA applies, you need to consider reasonable accommodations, but what is reasonable depends on the job. CAN her job be done effectively by limiting her contact with these individuals? If so, then yes, you need to consider it. If it can't, then you don't. CAN her job be done effectively by shifting her schedule, or by allowing her to work from home? If yes, then you need to consider it. If it can't, then you don't. And so on. She doesn't have to get the accommodation she wants or even the one her doctor recommends; only one that works. This might help:

https://askjan.org/disabilities/Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder-PTSD.cfm

And if you investigation (Oh yes, if you aren't already doing so you need to be doing an investigation) shows that she really is being bullied and not that she's just overreacting to things, then no matter what the boss wants, someone has to have a come to Jesus meeting with the bullying employees and make sure they know that bullying will not be tolerated, even if you end up having to fire someone. (And not the employee being bullied. I don't care whether they think she's not deserving of her wage; that's none of their business. And how do they know what her wage is anyway?) There's a fine line between people just not getting along (HR does not need to and should not be involved) and employees being bullied for whatever reason (HR can and should be involved). I'm inclined to suggest that the most effective resolution would come from kicking the collective asses of the bullies.
 

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential
data-ad-format="auto">
Top