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Sick Leave & Disabilities Issues for Teachers
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Sick Leave & Disabilities Issues for Teachers

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    Sick Leave & Disabilities Issues for Teachers Sick Leave & Disabilities Issues for Teachers Presentation Transcript

    • Health Issues - Sick Leave Disabilities & Discrimination A publication of The SCEA Member Advocacy Center.No portion of this publication may be reproduced without permission from The SCEA
    • Teaching takes a toll on your health. The rigors of teaching can take its toll on feet, legs, backs, bladder, and digestive systems. The stress of teaching can lead to or worsen stress, migraines, high blood pressure and other disorders. Yet, teachers are discouraged from missing a day of work and struggle with time to go to the doctor. Over time, these conditions can damage health.
    • Common Problems • Bad knees/ankles/back • Migraines • Anxiety Disorder • Depression • High Blood Pressure • Diabetes • Allergies to mold • Sleep disorder
    • Our workforce is aging • Longer life expectancies • Decades of lower birth rates • Baby boomers entering 50s • 80% plan to work after retirement age
    • Our workforce is aging • In 2005, 13% of the workforce was 55 or older. • In 2010, the percentage of workers 55 and older was predicted to reach 17%. • The median age of the workforce rose to 40.3 in 2004 (from 35 in 1984) and is expected to reach 41.6 by 2014. • Overall, population is aging. • Proportion of our population of people age 65 and older projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.7% in 2030 (about 75 million Americans).
    • Older workers are less prone toinjuries from traumatic events BUT • Tend to be out of work longer • Require additional time to heal
    • Why should the district care? Absenteeism Workers Compensation Coverage for classes Interruption to Instruction
    • 4 SCENARIOS Forced Sick Leave
    • Frequent Absences Staggers, dizzy Changes in mood Employee 1: Displayed signs of a health Forgets problem or disability. things The district placed her on forced medical leave. SheUnusual cannot return until shebehavior brings a note from the Slurred doctor stating that she is fit. speech Difficulty Walking Sits too much
    • Employee 2: Has missed a lot of days over the course of the last 1-2 years, causing speculation about her overall health and fitness. (Teachers who use leave as fast as they earn it call attention to themselves.)District now requiring a doctor’s note for absences of 1 day.District asked her to get a physical and release.
    • Employee 3: Was already under the gun when he/she alerted the principal about a health problem. The principal doesn’t believe there is a real disability. He has given the employee a form for the doctor to fill outthat asks for information beyond what is directly related to the employees disability*. The principal shows no willingness to “let up” on performance scrutiny.
    • Employee 4:Health issues caused or will cause her to miss at least 20% ofher 190 contract days. She is under formal evaluation. 1. Missed the orientation meeting. The evaluation team will scurry to try to catch up. 2. The Team may create a modified/shortened eval model to fit the number of days left. 3. If the teacher is absent off and on during the year (with a revolving door Sub), it will be difficult for the teacher to manage the classroom and stay on track at a time when she is under extra scrutiny. 4. State law does not FORCE the district to give her an “Incomplete” rating because of the number of days she missed.
    • Behaviors that draw attention:1. Frequent absences 12.Excessive alcohol use in2. Leaves early/comes in late personal life3. Frequent doctor 13.Changes in temperament - appointments lack of4. Avoids certain patience, temper, emotional assignments, such as field outbursts trips or walking to/from 14.Using sick leave as fast as it is recess areas, using the stairs earned5. Talks about physical or 15. Napping or sleeping at desk emotional issues 16.Openly discussing family6. Shows signs of problems, financial problems stress, depression 17. Forgetful7. Talks about medication 18.Stagger, unsteady8. Speech is slurred9. Tries to get a colleague to do their work or fill in for them
    • ReasonableAccommodations
    • Reasonable Accommodations • making facilities/work area accessible and usable; • restructuring a job by reallocating or redistributing marginal job functions; • altering when or how an essential job function is performed; • part-time or modified work schedules; • obtaining or modifying equipment or devices; • modifying examinations, training materials or policies; • providing qualified readers and interpreters; • reassignment to a different position; • providing reserved parking for a person with a mobility impairment
    • DOCTOR’S NOTESHIPPA & PRIVACY
    • The District has a right to require employee tobe examined & declared fit if: • an employer has a reasonable belief to believe that an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions is impaired by a medical condition; or • an employer has a reasonable belief that an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition; or • an employee asks for a reasonable accommodation but the employee’s disability or need for accommodation is not known or obvious
    • Accommodations,possible discrimination, mistreatment and what you can do:
    • Employment / Budget CutsThe pressure to cut positions may cause administration totarget or be less tolerant of employees who are limited in any way. file grievance file EEOC
    • REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS- problems 1. The district refuses to provide them 2. The accommodations requested are not reasonable so admin refuses to provide them 3. The employee requests so many accommodations, that the district suggests disability retirement The employee can file an EEOC complaint.
    • Possible Discrimination • Denying your request for reasonable accommodations • Treating you differently because of your disability • Transferring you to a disadvantageous position or situation because of your disability • Transferring you to a position that will cause you more difficulty or place you in jeopardy – related to your disability • Decisions that lower your pay • Position cut, contract non-renewal, etc. • Breach of confidentiality related to your medical information
    • Forced sick leave vs. employee requestedleave A school district that forces an employee to take leave, i.e., refuses to allow the employee to report to work may be guilty of breach of contract if there is no valid reason. The employee may have to demonstrate he/she is healthy, is in a position to immediately return and resume duties, and that there was no legit reason for them to think otherwise. If the employee prevails, the district should restore leave days taken or pay withheld.
    • Options that protect or provide income: • Available leave • Workers • Sick Leave Bank Compensation • Family Medical Leave • Leave of absence • Personal Disability • File grievance benefits from a private • EEOC complaint policy or optional • Request Reasonable policy offered by Accommodations district • Switch to part- • State Retirement time, job sharing Disability • Unemployment • Transfer to different Benefits position • Board hearing • Legal Services
    • ADA Resources • http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada17.html - the employer’s responsibilities • http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html - information for employees • http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm - definition of disability • http://askjan.org/media/educators.html - list of accommodations for Educators • http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t09c001.htm - state statute • http://www.ada.gov/ - ADA Website
    • These slides provide minimal information.Members should call us for help!The SCEA Member Advocacy Center 864-641-7272 help@thescea.org Our advocacy networking site at: http://www.thescea.org/mac The SCEA www.thescea.org