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My job has caused anxiety/panic attacks and has exacerbated my asthma!

by nicole

I work up to 12 hour days with no guarantees of lunch in temperatures as high as 120 degrees. I am salaried, therefore I make no overtime. If a coworker has vacation that week, I only have Sunday off. I write service for a car dealership, and have had my salary reduced and commission structure changed to pay out less money. I've never had anxiety before, but this job has caused me to physically break down. I can't stop crying, I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack, my blood pressure has increased, my skin has broken out. The temperature and humidity has now exacerbated my asthma, so I cannot breathe for most of the day. I have missed work due these symptoms, which is only angering my boss more. Since SC is a right to work, at will employment state, do I have any options? I have too many student loans to take a huge pay cut, and I work too many hours to significantly make a dent in a job search. I've been at this employer since August, 2012. Any advice would be wonderful!

Hi Nicole,

All states are at-will employment states, although some have more policy exceptions to the rule precept of at-will.

And since I'm not certain how SC being a right to work state, which is related to union workers not having to be forced to join a union .. has anything to do with anything you're asking about .. I'll leave that out of it.

I do not know much about South Carolina Labor Laws. It's always been an attorney only state for UI purposes .. and they aren't fond of cost control companies in general.

But, I believe they might play along with the federal
government rules found in the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act with regard to hours and days worked and rest periods. The FLSA is the minimum requirements and when a state does have a DOL (department of labor) they often expand the basic protections offered to employees.

As for the frequency, or circumstances of why you must work in 120 degrees, I'd suggest that you investigate OSHA regulations for any potential workplace safety issues regarding working in temperatures for extended amounts of time that could fry an egg .. or maybe cause severe dehydration .. or exacerbate your asthma.

As for physically breaking down .. crying .. it sounds more like plain old being overwhelmed by a rotten job ..

Given the horrendous (120 degrees would kill me) working conditions exacerbating your medically diagnosed asthma it might lead you to ask the employer to make accommodations for your health.

Have you done this and provided a medical recommendation from your doctor .. to the employer?

They might listen because it's a reasonable and objectively made request since asthma is a health condition covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Anyone may also use the search bar to find questions already asked, answered and discussed at length about quitting for health reasons.

My point is Nicole, that when someone asks me if they have options and I know the question was asked on the page devoted to quitting and unemployment .. all I can do is attempt to explain some of those exhaustive alternatives I myself would explore because I know what I know, and which unemployment laws don't spell out, which in turn leaves many people without the ability to fulfill the burden of proof when you quit just to get temporary unemployment benefits.


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