Getting treated fairly and keeping your work life confidential is very important in both respects. Guidelines are put in place for a reason because employers have an obligation to do both but in some cases drastic changes might lead into uncharted territories.
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I work in a wonderful place, I was working in one of the departments that has a lot of stress attached to it by nature. I got very, very sick and needed special accommodations for about six months therefore I could not return to the that particular department because of the stress element as per doctors’ orders so my employer moved me and my job (union issue) to another department who has been very accommodating. The discrete work that was done with human resources and the department heads were outstanding. The college physician was also involved to help in the medical decisions and recommended accommodations. My mind was good but my body was healing. I got to come back to work on a modified schedule per doctors’ orders again. I was welcomed and treated like a regular employee, and other employee knew that I was sick by never bother me with questions, which I appreciated.
Nobody expects to get ill for any length of time, but knowing that you employers are prepared to handle your situation in private and discretion. Like me this came out of nowhere and I knew some accommodations would apply to me but until I talked to the human resource department did I find out what can be done. Human resource is there to help you, however they get a bad reputation too.