Stellar support with Employer Discrimination after COVID leave.
I consulted Nicole when I returned to work after being unable to work for 12 weeks with COVID. Rather than welcoming me back, my manager appeared to be suspicious of my reasons for taking leave and made me feel that they no longer trusted me. This distrust was devastating to me, as I pride myself in being very trustworthy, hardworking, and honest. My manager created such a hostile work environment that I was unable to focus and concentrate, and I felt almost paralyzed when I had to work with them. My mental health became much worse, I suffered extreme anxiety, and lingering symptoms of COVID further hindered my ability to perform my job. After over a year of working in this hostile environment, my declining mental and physical health forced me to use all of my medical leave and begin disability leave. Nicole’s counsel was invaluable in helping me to understand that I was being discriminated against because of my disability (depression and anxiety), gender and age. She made me realize that working in a hostile work environment for over a year negatively affected my ability to do my job and may have reduced my ability to return to work in my field in the future. Had I not returned to such a hostile work environment, I likely would not have experienced the severe anxiety and resulting physical health problems. As it was, my health was further compromised and the need to take medications to address the extreme anxiety worsened the situation. Physical health problems that I believe were due to long COVID were exacerbated, my ability to support my family was jeopardized, and my confidence in my abilities was undermined. In the midst of these negative influences on my mental health, Nicole’s positive attitude, support and reassurance was comforting and gave me hope. Nicole continues to counsel me about whether to return to work at my present employer, apply for long-term disability, take an unpaid leave of absence from work, or await further action by my employer. She also advised me to seek other employment, and I will begin searching for another job as soon as I feel physically able to do so. I feel better knowing that Nicole is available as a resource should I encounter additional problems with my employer.