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Is my company responsible??..

By qhcomputingny ·
I recently started working for a phone company in my area in their IT support department. When I arrived I had half of a half size desk because I was sharing it with a laser printer I had a paper thin mousepad and my chair was a cheap office chair that didn't even have armrests on it. Coming from a company that provided a leather seat for me with a full size wrap around desk (I guess I was spoiled) I felt as though the company wasn't interetsed in taking care of their employees needs as far as comfort goes in the workplace. After dealing with the situation for about a month, mind you my desk is about 5 inches higher than my armrests on my chair, I went and purchased a keyboard wrist rest, an ergonomically correct mousepad that would move with my wrist when using a mouse, and a foot stand for my feet. Although the desk situation still doesn't help I felt that this would greatly improve my comfort level. In doing so I also thought that my company would reimburse me for these items as I did purchase them for WORK, and it wasn't a 5.00 purchase. They told me that I would have to bring in a doctor's note in order to get reimbursed for the items. All along I thought these items were to PREVENT problems. I guess I was wrong. :>
In any event, I wanted to get people's opinion's as far as a workplace providing a user with these tools to work comfortably, and also to get their opinion's on whether or not the majority of people working in IT feel that I should have been reimbursed for these items without a doctors note. I thank you for your time in advance....

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by jschein In reply to Is my company responsible ...

-Common business practice for employees... Without a doctor's note, they will not pay .06 for reimbursement of any item, no matter the healthier effects of a workplace.

They MUST comply with a doctor's order... it's the law. Anything else is nonsense in the eyes of the accounting dept.

Obviously, from the start with such an excellent work environment, you should have seen that coming. Especially with a desk big enough to have a keyboard and a mouse that moves 2 inches.

The only way you will get reimbursed will be through a doctor's note, or your body does become deformed which you will get "workmen's comp"...

Good luck

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by buturlaka In reply to Is my company responsible ...

I work for a large insurance company and we have an Ergonomics area that handles requests, but to get anything special you do need a doctor's note. And sometimes that doesnt seem to be enough. I am on a list for a double-lung transplant and use oxygen. I requested a desktop printer because the LAN printer is across the building. Got a doctor's note and everything. The problem was that there was not enough money in the budget for a printer (I could buy one for $50). I was told this the same wee our CEO got a $3 million bonus. I ended up with a used printer from a supervisor that was downsized. Good Luck!

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by qhcomputingny In reply to Is my company responsible ...

Doesn't sound too promising. Looks like I will be going to the doctor.. :)

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by saihib In reply to Is my company responsible ...

At least you can write it off on your taxes as an unreimbursed business expense.

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by PaulP In reply to Is my company responsible ...

Subway, I bought a new hard drive for your computer. You owe me $80.

It's never a good idea to spend someone's money before you have it in your hand or before they give permission.
I bet if you would have asked before hand, they would have just put it in on the office supplies order.

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by Joseph Moore In reply to Is my company responsible ...

Have you complained about the uncomfortable working conditions to your supervisor? IF so, I take it that nothing was done.
Why did your supervisor not do anything to help, like move you to another desk that does not have the laser printer on it? Does your supervisor care?
If you are not getting any satisfaction from your supervisor, then I say go over their head and talk to THEIR supervisor. Bring it up briefly in a e-mail, and request a response.
IF that supervisor does not give you any assistance (I mean, you aren't asking for the moon here, just a different desk), then I would consider leaving this place.
From what you have posted, they don't seem to care too much about their employees. And a comfortable (not luxurious!) working environment makes for productive employees. IF you are physically uncomfortable, then your work will suffer. Mention this fact.
And if it is really bothering you, don't be afraid to leave.

Good luck.

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by TheChas In reply to Is my company responsible ...

As a general rule, you can NEVER expect to be reimbursed for expenses without prior approval from your supervisor.

Yes, it is a good idea to 'prevent' injuries. However, many companies prefer to take the risk rather than spend the money upfront.

Not to cause further problems, but it is a good idea to check out any firm that you send a resume to to see if they have a positive work environment.


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by schwerdt In reply to Is my company responsible ...

Sorry, I'm afraid that they have a point. Before you go spending the company's money, it's just prudent to find out what the policies and procedures are for reimbursement on ergonomics. At my organization, we expect people to justify with some solid evidence before we make special purchases. I agree that ergonomics are a very valid concern, but I try to find out how much if any of the cost will be reimbursable, how I need to justify the expenses, and then when all that's done I need to decide how important it is to me. To me, it's worth some personal outlay of money to be more comfortable and healthier. So I'd be willing to take some of the expense out of my own pocket.

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by qhcomputingny In reply to Is my company responsible ...

I understand all of your points. I would have purchased the ergonomic equipment regardless of what they were going to reimburse me. I just figured that it would be in a businesses best interest to look out for the well being and comfort of their employees while on the job, that's all. I spoke to other people in the IT department and they told me that I should have asked someone other than the person I asked about being reimbursed and I probably would have gotten a different answer. Now I feel that if I go ask someone else that I would be "stepping on people's feet" so to speak, and I am in this new position after being out of work for 8 months so I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize my position. I appreciate the fact that people gave their input to me. About my supervisor, when I first started he told me that he would be moving out of the office to give me "his" desk, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. Should I ask to get another desk or would that be a burden? Thanks again for your responses.


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by aronya1 In reply to Is my company responsible ...

Here's the best answer of the bunch:

Get the h@#* out of there! This will only be the first in a long line of similar, but no doubt more frustrating, grievances you will run into. Ever see Joe vs the Volcano? You are working in another place like Tom Hanks. It's just a matter of degree. Pretty soon you'll develop a brain cloud... Then what?

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