my cubicle gives me migraines and my boss won’t let me move

A reader writes:

I’m at my wits’ end about something that seems very stupid: I get bad headaches from sitting next to two very large windows, and one of my two managers won’t let me move away from them. Lately, when the windows’ venetian blinds are open, I get bad headaches and migraines. (My dad and brother also get classic migraines, usually induced by excessive exposure to glare and bright lights.) 

I started closing one set of blinds more often which helped. However, around this same time, my cubicle-mate returned from a 2-month leave (we share a “double” cubicle of sorts that’s about seven feet wide and 5 feet deep, bordered by filing cabinets, a wall, and the windows). Cubicle Mate would open *all* of the blinds again, even after I asked if we could keep some closed because: headaches.

Then the solo cubicle next to our workspace was vacated by an exiting assistant, whose manager is not in the same department as my two managers or me. I asked my bosses (and the manager of that departed AA) if I could move into the cubicle so I wouldn’t be right near the windows, my headaches would go away, and my cubicle mate wouldn’t have to feel like she’s working in complete darkness. Manager of Unrelated Department said yes. Boss 2 said yes. Boss 1 (aka, the boss that really mattered) said no.

Earlier this year, there was some office politics with Manager of Unrelated Department’s…department, and he felt this was just giving into that department even more (my floor is a hodgepodge of different departments, each with its own separate HR, Business Office, support staff, etc). So I’m stuck next to these insanely huge, glare-y windows. My HR manager is aware of the whole story. They spoke to Boss 1, who (unbeknownst to me) agreed to let me move cubicles but then never said anything about it to me. By the time I found out, Manager of Unrelated Department had hired a new AA to go into the empty cubicle, so now I have nowhere to move to (at least at this end of the floor).

This whole situation has become so crazy that I’ve started looking for a new job, even outside of the company. I’m not sure what else to do. I’d asked about moving my workspace for what I thought was a legitimate reason and that got shot down. Should I just shut up and find a new job? If it came down to, “I can no longer stay at this job in these conditions,” I don’t definitely know that my managers would have my back. I like to think they would but they could decide, “man, let’s get an AA in here who won’t complain about super-uncomfortable work environments that hamper her job performance. That person would probably be cheaper too.” This job isn’t perfect, but I feel like this cubicle situation is really getting out of hand. Unfortunately, my job search hasn’t yielded anything beyond a few interviews so at this point, I just really don’t know what to do. What else can I do, or should I just shut up and be grateful I have a job to go to?

Go back to HR. It sounds like they thought they’d solved the problem earlier, by getting your boss to agree to let you move, and might be unaware that your boss never followed through on that. So go back to them, explain what happened, and ask what can be done so that you can do your work without migraines.

If they have any sense (and based on their earlier actions, it sounds like they do), they will find a way to fix this for you.

Migraines are kind of a hazy issue under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Courts have ruled they’re sometimes covered and sometimes not; in order to be covered, they must “substantially limit your ability to work.”

Regardless, though, a reasonable employer is going to want to find a solution, if there’s one reasonably easily available. Your boss has failed this test. But your HR department passed it last time — so go back to them and try again.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 62 comments… read them below }

  1. Jamie*

    I know they are hazy when it comes to the ADA, but chronic migraines can suck the life out of a productive employee faster than almost anything else.

    I wish I was your manager – glare is a huge migraine trigger for me as well and I’d have had you moved before you finished the sentence requesting it.

    Please follow Alison’s advice and go to HR. Don’t issue an ultimatum – just ask about the move that was offered and if it’s no longer an option just put the ball in their court and ask them what other solutions are available.

    Some of the lucky ones, who have never had a migraine, don’t differentiate that between that and a regular headache. Just calmly and without emotion explain the effect of the light and make your case.

    I won’t even recommend anti-glare on glasses for this – it can help with screen glare but I’ve never had anything which would help with the windows your talking about – unless sunglasses which you can’t get away with at work.

    In the meantime I would ask your cube mate to honor your request to keep the blinds down just until tptb come up with a more permanent resolution. The preferences of one person should be deferred if they cause physical pain to someone else.

    1. EM*

      I’d be inclined to wear sunglasses at the office to make a point. Even better if they are the wrap-around with side shield ones they use on Antarctic expeditions. :)

      Did you ask your cube mate to keep the blinds closed as if it were a personal preference, or did you outline the medical reason for it? If you weren’t clear as to the reason, they may decide that their preference outranks yours, or they figure they can have the blinds open when you’re not around and that you’ll close them when you’re in. Just a thought.

      1. Another Jamie*

        I had a co-worker who HATED when people closed the blinds and would always re-open them when she saw them closed. If someone told her they needed them closed for a medical reason, she’d be the first to advocate for that person moving to a new cube.

      2. A Teacher*

        Except the pressure from the sunglasses just make my migraines feel even worse…Light, loud noise, lots of other triggers but glare is awful!

    2. Stells*

      Actually, if you can get a doctor to write a note saying that wearing sunglasses is a recommended treatment for your migraines, then you can get away with wearing some lightly tinted ones at your desk.

      However, that may not work either depending on the angle of the window and desk (I get migraines as well, which is why I’m always wearing the biggest sunglasses I can buy any time of the year).

      1. Long Time Admin*

        Oh, hell, I’d wear the great big dark wrap-around sunglasses and maybe even one of the old-time dark visors to cut the glare.

        Also, go to your doctor and get some documentation about your migranes and get back to HR. You have two simple solutions to suggest to them, and one of them needs to happen.

        1. Vicki*

          I used a note from my doctor once to convince our dept director to let me move to a cubicle far away from the breakroon, the microwave, and the smell of microwave popcorn… certain food smells make me nauseous. (Note that he _knew_ several of us couldn’t stand the popcorn smells when he assigned me that cubicle.*)

          (* He claimed I had “requested a cube next to the women’s room” when I asked why I was placed in that location. He had… odd issues.)

    3. CF*

      Amen. I get a migraine from glare as well. I had to quit a volunteer job when they replaced all the burned-out lightbulbs in the facility and the glare quotient skyrocketed!

      Being in pain substantially limits my ability to work and I only get 9 imitrex a month with my insurance. I’d rather not use half of it every month for something that can be controlled.

  2. Anonymous*

    I’m concerned about why Boss 1 was against it in the first place and followed that up by not telling you he changed his mind (because HR told him to). He might have been embarrassed about HR telling him what to do, but he just has to grow up in that respect. But to me, this is the red flag.

    1. ChristineH*

      Something tells me that Boss 1 said “yes” just to please HR without intending to actually follow through on that. Completely agree with Alison – time to go back to HR.

    2. moe*

      Yep, I’m also very curious about OP’s relationship with Boss 1. The power dynamics at this place sound bizarre, and going over his head again–while I agree it’s the right and necessary thing to do–may be throwing down the gauntlet.

      I think a quiet job search is a good idea at this point. :-/

      1. Anonymous*

        While the OP just wants to ease the migraines, you definitely backed me up on the idea that there is something beneath the surface that probably needs to be addressed.

      2. Beth*

        I agree with Moe. Something is not right here. OP: had you requested any other changes since you started working there? Because I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to address this issue which seems an easy fix unless they feel you’ve asked for too much accommodating throughout your tenure with the company.

  3. KayDay*

    Your boss is silly (but I’m sure you know that already). Anyone is less productive when they have a bad headache, migraine or not (btw, I do occasionally get migraines, so I understand that they are much more debilitating, but more common bad headaches still suck as well). The “advantage” (I use that word somewhat sarcastically) is that you can identify your triggers and solve the problem–why your boss won’t let you solve the problem is really beyond me!

    Another possibility–do you have any team members who you could switch cubicles with? More people prefer to have a window than not, so I would imagine a coworker without one would love the idea of switching. Then you could perhaps suggest this idea to HR?

    1. Ruth*

      That’s true. I’d love an office with a window! Right now I’m stuck in a dingy windowless thing. Thank god I don’t get migraines. If I could move somewhere with a window it would be wonderful!!

      1. Ruth*

        ohh… just realized that sounded insensitive. I have a lot of sympathy for sufferers of migraines and it would suck big time. I hope you find a way to work it out.

        1. Stells*

          It didn’t sound insensitive to me! I think you’ve just pointed out KayDay’s point perfectly.

          Most people (who don’t get these godforsaken migraines) would love her window seat and are probably sitting there thinking they wish they could have her desk!

    2. Yuu*

      +1 to finding someone who might be willing to switch with you first.
      I personally like to come in hand with a possible solution. The easier you make it for HR or your boss to act, the more likely action will be taken, in my experience.

      I also think that perhaps you need to work on communicating effectively. For instance, sit down with the cube-mate and explain that you are trying to find a more permanent solution, but in the mean time, would she take offense if you lowered the blinds during the afternoons when the glare hits your eyes and makes it painful to work? Phrased that way, hopefully your cube mate would be very understanding!

  4. Anonymous*

    My migraines come with god-awful, uncontrollable vomiting and virtual blindness. I had a manager who didn’t really believe in migraines until I threw up in a trash can immediately outside their door and they then had to drive me home. It really wasn’t on purpose, but the next time I called in sick with a migraine, I got to stay home sick.

    1. Anonymous*

      While I’d never wish illness and poor health on anyone, I certainly do wish some of those blessed souls in perfect health can sympathize with the rest of us a little better!

  5. Ellen M.*

    Prescription sunglasses might help (along with a note from your doctor explaining why you have to wear them, in case they give you a hard time). I’ve had migraines myself, not often though, and glare/bright light is not a trigger for me. Good luck.

    Migraines are the [strongest expletive].

    1. Jamie*

      If you don’t wear glasses, even non-prescription sunglasses would help.

      However, I would feel so oddly unprofessional doing it at work. If I were forced to I’m afraid I would get the biggest, darkest pair of Jackie O type sunglasses I could find…the ones that cover half of your face…just to make a point.

      Oh, and add me to the club who helped a migraine non-believer see the light by throwing up. Thankfully for me it wasn’t a manager, but rather a 6th grade science teacher…but still.

      When we say we’re sick, we’re sick. People!

    2. Anonymous*

      I have so far escaped the disabling migraines that run through my family, but I can get aura with lights and scotomas from having intense lights flashed in my eyes*, and on one unnerving occasion, I lost the ability to read. Sunglasses are non-negotiable, particularly when I’m driving. So I second the OP’s right to be the squeaky wheel and enlist all the backup needed. It’s really a very small accommodation.

      * How do other light sensitive people handle photography with flash? The only time I look relaxed in a photo is when my eyes are shut, but I’m not interested in explaining my aversion to every casual aquaintance who waves a camera at me.

      1. Jamie*

        I hate pictures even more than I hate company parties. I instinctively hold my hand up. There are hundreds of pictures of me where you can see some hair and bits and pieces of face.

        Someone out there has to be old enough to remember KISS back in the 70’s – before they took off their make-up. And the magazines would publish pics where they were behind their hands, hidden by menus in restaurants, etc.? And those of us who were tiny members of the KISS Army,infant-rydivision (groan, bad pun – sorry) would try to piece the pics together to try to figure out what they really looked like?

        That’s what my future great-grandkids will one day have to do with pics of me to figure out what I looked like.

        I know the short answer is to avoid pictures…but any chance to weave a KISS reference into a point…

  6. Minous*

    I have had headaches and migraines for most of my life. I figure that since management doesn’t seem to understand that physical well-being equals higher performance, I have chosen to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses for years in order not to get migraines at work. Managers often bring this up and I explain that I have light sensitivity. They usually don’t want to have to fix the problem and so leave me to wear my cap and glasses.

    More recently I was tested for Irlene Syndrome. For people who suffer from sun/light induced migraines, it’s worth looking into.

    Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome
    Light Sensitivity

    •Bothered by glare, fluorescent lights, bright lights, sunlight and sometimes lights at night
    •Some individuals experience physical symptoms and feel tired, sleepy, dizzy, anxious, or irritable. Others experience headaches, mood changes, restlessness or have difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.

    1. MaryTerry*

      This is definitely worth looking into. My migraines are not light-triggered but my daughter’s are. Since she’s been diagnosed and treated for Irlene Syndrome, things have improved for her.

  7. Anonymous*

    Is there any chance that you could move your desk within your office to reduce the problem, by rotating or shifting your desk? Switch places with your other office mate? Work out of a conference room? Wear sunglasses (like nice glare-reducing prescription glasses)? Put up a filter on the window to polarize the light differently? I realize that they’re all poor solutions compared to changing offices, but maybe they’d help make the situation livable for a bit.

    I’d also suggest being much firmer with your office mate. Really emphasize that this makes it unlivable for you. Bring your nice boss in on it if necessary to keep the blinds closed. Your desire not to have migraines strictly trumps the office mate’s desire to have a lovely view.

    After all that, you should talk to a doctor about this if you haven’t already done so. While there’s a good chance that nothing will change, you should make the effort. At minimum, this might allow you to document the problem enough to get the company to behave via doctor’s notes.

  8. Lilybell*

    Wouldn’t a simple solution be to get a doctor’s note and bring that to HR? I sit in a very central area and got “in trouble” for unscrewing the flourescent lights over my desk. I was recovering from an awful case of ocular shingles (ouch) and couldn’t bear the glare. I had my eye doctor write a note and voila: problem solved. The lights are still unscrewed and no one says a word about it.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, Lily, ocular shingles! Yikes! I hope that’s all gone now.

      I think a doctor’s note sure wouldn’t hurt; it indicates that this is important enough that you took the trouble to get the note. However, they’re not legally required to follow the doctor’s note, so it’s not a guaranteed solution.

  9. Jamie*

    Speaking of migraines, I know I’ve mentioned this a couple of months ago (when I first discovered it) but Mentholatum WellPatch is possibly the best invention ever.

    It’s a little patch which sticks on your head without being sticky…you peel it off and there’s no residue. It is instantly cool (no refrigeration needed) and it really helps. They come two pouches to a box, two patches to a pouch and ever since I first tried them end of June I’ve laid in supplies at home, work, and car.

    They were given to me as a gag gift by my boss, on day one of the bi-annual project unofficially referred to around here as “Jamie’s Headache.”

    For one being triggered by smells fair warning, it does smell like super mild Noxzema.

    This isn’t spam – I don’t work for them, I’m just a fangirl of the product.

    1. Anonymous*

      I remember you mentioning this in another post! (I hope that doesn’t sound stalker-ish).

      I haven’t seen them in the usual places like CVS or Rite-Aid. Where do you get them?

      1. Jamie*

        Walgreens and Wal-Mart that I know of.

        My husband is waiting for Costco to stock them so he can buy a gross at a time.

      2. Andrea*

        I just found them on amazon and I’m going to order for my husband who has chronic pain. Thanks for the idea!

    2. Kelly O*

      I’m going to have to find them.

      I have to also empathize with the OP. I really have no advice that others have not given, just wanted to say you are definitely not alone.

      (And there have been some times I wish I would have thrown up in someone’s office just to show them that yes, a migraine is not just “having a headache.”)

    3. KarmaKicks*

      I’m definitely going to have to find these for my son. He has chronic daily headaches plus occasional migraines and he has a hard time swallowing pills! At this point we’re looking for anything that might help :)

    4. Laura L*

      Thanks for the tip! I get lots of headaches, so this is useful. I’ve also started having TMJ problems, so maybe this will help with that….

  10. Stells*

    To the OP – I would have a doctor’s note in hand when you go back to HR. Sure, it’s iffy under ADA, but any HR Dept worth their salary will at least try to accomodate you on what should be a simple request.

  11. Anon2*

    If sunglasses can also provide a solution, I would definitely approach your boss about permission to wear them at your desk. We have someone here at work who also wears sunglasses when she has (I assume) headaches and/or migraines. After the first time, no one notices, questions or even makes comments beyond the occassional “hey, Hollywood”. Now, I work in a very casual workplace so that is also a factor.

    Anyway, I would definitely push back. Whether it’s to wear sunglasses, talk to your cubicle mate again or finding someone to switch places with …. don’t just let it go. This is a serious issue and migraines are a well-documented physical condition, even if they’re still not the most understood.

  12. Gene*

    As a fellow migraine sufferer, you have my sympathy. I have the fluorescent bulbs over my desk pulled, the shades on my window mostly down and when I’m feeling iffy, I wear a wide-brim hat (Tilley T3 for those keeping score.)

    No problems with my boss, coworkers took one explanation. I still have to explain the lights out to the maintenance people when they come around checking, but that’s OK.

    1. ChristineH*

      Oh…do posting links require moderator approval? I didn’t realize that if that’s the case. It’s not crucial that it be posted, you may disregard.

  13. Your Mileage May Vary*

    I agree with the pushing back. However, when you’re fighting pain, sometimes you just don’t have it in you. Perhaps it’s easiest in the morning before the sun gets around to your side of the building? Or, if it starts right away, maybe plan to go straight to your boss’ office or HR, if you decide to do that, one morning before you go to your cubicle.

    I feel for you, OP, and I hope that it all works out very soon.

    1. Jamie*

      “I agree with the pushing back. However, when you’re fighting pain, sometimes you just don’t have it in you.”

      I don’t know if you all have this problem, but I’m always reticent to bring up a sensitive issue when I have one, since I’m afraid of being terse – well, more terse.

      When I’m hurting I have less inclination to couch my phrasing is in fluffy softness – because I want to get it over with so I can stop talking and get back to rubbing my head.

      Oh – and little vent – I don’t have one at the moment but I’m on the cusp. Aura and my right eye is starting to go all half closed on me…and one co-worker, who is really great and I like her a lot, is wearing clicky shoes.

      I don’t know how someone so tiny can make so much noise walking across tile. Each step is going through my head like a knife – thing is, she’s so sweet that if I tell her she will be mortified and absolutely do her best to avoid walking past my office – but she will also come in here every 10 minutes for the rest of the day asking if I’m okay and can she get me anything.

      So I’ll wait till it’s full blown before I ask her, then shut my door and pray for silence. Think she will notice if I sneak into her office and glue carpet samples to the bottom of her feet?

      1. Vicki*

        I feel for you. I don’t get migraines (I do get tension headaches) but I’m an HSP, so ultra-bright fluorescents, chatty breakroom conversations, and clicky shoes drive Me MAD. I can only imagine what it would be like if my head was pounding.

        (I’m currently unemployed. No cubicle. No co-workers in clicky shoes. No cell phone conversations. Sheer bliss.)

      2. ChristineH*

        “I don’t know how someone so tiny can make so much noise walking across tile. ”

        You would definitely hate me then :) I’m only 5 feet tall, but you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t see me because I can be a very heavy walker. I think I too might be an HSP, so it’s any wonder I don’t drive myself nuts!

        Hope you’re feeling better today, Jamie.

        1. Jamie*

          I could never hate you :).

          And yes, I’m feeling a little better and have resolved 4 nagging issues from my urgent list…so it’s a good day.

          The clicking isn’t bothering me at all today – I think I should use it as a barometer to measure pain. How many points on the noise irritation scale.

  14. Spreadsheet Monkey*

    I get migraines as well, but glare is not a trigger for me. I do better sitting by a window for the natural light than I do sitting under the fluorescent bulbs. I do have light sensitivity, however, even on days when I don’t have a headache. Prescription sunglasses are a must, and I joke that I’m a vampire. I’d much rather get my vitamin D from a pill than from sunlight.

    I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but while migraines may be “hazy” under ADA, they are specifically covered under FMLA. It doesn’t sound like you need to take time off for them, but I don’t know if you can use that to get some sort of accommodation.

  15. Cheryl*

    I don’t get migraines, but I am highly sensitive to light, too much makes tears run down my face and hurts like a mother. I got the lights over my cubicle turned off and I have been known to wear sunglasses. Migraines may not be a part of the ADA, but if you can get a note from a doctor outlining what the progression of a migraine does and what other body systems are affected due to the migraine, then you may be able to get reasonable accomodation.

  16. Laura L*

    Just wanted to chime in as another migraine sufferer who hates it when people don’t believe me. I, fortunately, get fewer than I did as a kid, but it’s ridiculous how many people think it’s just a bad headache.

    It’s like the people who think allergies aren’t real, they’re all in your head. WTF?

  17. Gracie (OP)*

    Hi everyone! Original letter-writer here. Thank you, Allison, and everyone for your suggestions and responses. I’ll try to hit the follow-up questions in one swoop:
    -I’ve generally always gotten along with both bosses so Boss 1’s obstinance was a real surprise. I had all these potential counter-arguments that he might come up with but that was NOT one I predicted at all. If I’ve done something before then to really cheese him off, I don’t know what it is.
    -I’ve talked to my cubicle mate before but we kind of don’t get along, even before all this nonsense (that could be a whole other letter to Allison). It’s at the point where everyone, especially me, walks on eggshells around her because you just never know what will set her off. So that’s my other reason for wanting to get this cubicle stuff resolved.
    -I am also quietly job searching (I even downloaded Allison’s book the other day) because of this cubicle issue. It sucks but I have a bad feeling that it may be the only option in the end. Boss 2 isn’t willing to go against Boss 1 (she’s junior faculty while he’s senior), I’m pretty sure Boss 1 apparently cares more about that extra foot of desk space (currently junked up by printer cartridges) than the expense of hiring and training a new AA, etc.
    -I honestly don’t know if, after the Human Resources people talked to Boss 1, that he just humored them by saying he’d take care of it, or if it legitimately slipped his mind and he forgot.
    I actually went to my organization’s ombudsman today and she reiterated most of your points: go back to HR and tell them that hey, this actually wasn’t resolved after all. Practically everyone’s on vacation right now though between HR and my bosses so I have to wait for that anyway. While searching for more jobs and hating every minute of it.

    Anyway, thank you again for your feedback! I just discovered this website a few weeks ago but I’m already putting some of the job-search and cover-letter tips into practice. Cheers!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I would ask yourself: What’s worse, the migraines or your cubicle mate throwing a fit because the blinds need to be down? First, don’t discount the possibility that she might be reasonable once you explain that this is a medical issue causing you excruciating pain. Second, even if she throws a fit over it, does it matter? Everyone else will know that she’s being insanely unreasonable. Let her have her fit, and just tell her, “I’m sorry, but it’s medical.” Let HER go to HR if she has a problem with it (and enjoy the way that one turns out).

  18. Anonymous*

    Actually, migraines are NOT hazy/iffy under the ADA anymore. I get accommodations wherever I work, and my son got them without question at school. Migraines are a named disability. Migraine has been reclassified as a degenerative disease, too, not just an annoying “condition.” Fill out the paperwork to me legally protected.

  19. Erica B*

    So only on one occasion I had a migraine. I didn’t even realize it until afterwards when I googled what was going on. I am thankful that I haven’t had one since. Not fun.

    With that said my eyes are super sensitive to bright light or just glarey light. I wear sunglasses all the time outside as otherwise I would be squinting so much my eyes would be nearly shut, and I have to drive for my work all over the state, so that is not a safe option. We have big windows at work that face west, and in the afternoon it is blinding to not have the shades even part way down. Most of the work stations in my work are along the windows, and I am thankful that my work area is not among them. When ever I do work over by the windows I must wear my sunglasses, which are polarized. Regular sunglasses don’t actually help me all that much, but the polarized ones limit the amount of light that reach my eyes so they work.

    I would wear sunglasses- polarized ones if you can find them. If your cube mate expects you to respect her wishes to have the shades open, she should respect you when you need them closed. I know you said she’s a PITA to be next to but maybe you can say something like, “I know you you prefer to have natural light, but in the afternoon (or morning) when the sunlight is the worst, can we please have the blinds down? ” It’s a fair compromise, I think Then next time she complains you put the blind down and you have a migraine, throw up in HER trash can, or if you don’t throw up fall asleep on your desk because if you can’t see anyway you might as well get some zzz’s.

  20. Elizabeth West*

    I don’t get why they just won’t let OP switch cubes with someone who wants to sit by the window. Problem solved. Are we sure Boss 1 isn’t secretly Dolores Umbridge or something?

  21. LA*

    Oy. Seriously. I can’t even deal with this situation. I was there. I was you last summer. I still am on some floors in my building. We’re “going green” and installing LED light bulbs EVERYWHERE in our building. The problem? LED light bulbs will give me a migraine faster than I can blink. I walked through the hallway from my desk to our elevators and quite literally almost passed out (fell over in severe pain upon reaching the bathroom and sweet, sweet relief which has since been LED-ed as well). No one understood, they told me to go home that day which necessitated four stories of scooting on my butt on the back staircase to get to the parking lot and then sitting in my car for an hour trying to will the migraine away so I could drive.

    HR was entirely supportive, as were my bosses, but they did. not. understand. the problem. “Just wear sunglasses.” “Can you wear a hat?” Once I explained that none of these options would be feasible because I can still hear the buzzing of the LED bulbs and therefore I would be taking a bajillion more sick days as I would now be relegated to the staircase in the back of the building (and therefore unable to get to my desk when I woke up with a bad migraine like I would if I could take the elevator) they became much more accommodating. There is now a dimmer on the lights in my hallway. The problem now is that they have replaced the lights on every other floor as well so I’m now stuck at my desk or the elevator lobby as those are the only places they have decided it is necessary for me to ever walk in the building without hours/days of severe pain.

    Seriously, I am SO sorry. I get it far too well. I would talk to HR, your bosses and the unrelated department boss about switching desks even if there is another person sitting there. Or maybe there’s another option you haven’t thought of. This needs to be fixed. If it is not then I am all for finding another job. You should never have to suffer like this for a paycheck.

  22. Angel*

    I ended up here by asking if I have the right to refuse to work under florescent lights. All because I woke one morning with “Must google” first electromagnetic waves rays etc. Then cell phones and then heavy metal toxicity. Mercury!mercury mercury mercury!!!Everyone seem to be down playing it yea I went thru page after page before getting to the “Yea you need a haz mat crew if ya break a bulb just do not vacuum it or breathe … you may want to evac area..” What in the world? They’re crop dusting us WW2 chemicals filling us with toxic metals then saying yep Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise and from early age huh? wow it’s just that there are so many people that we see more diseases!? Oh my heck!
    Oh dear, I do not get the headaches I seem to be one. My bosses and I have been clashing badly and I am their on site manager so if I loose I loose all. You know the more I have found the more I feel that I AM taking a stand for something much bigger than I would have thought…Anyway, maybe be tested for high levels of mercury. Blesings be yours, Angel

  23. Nat*

    Drinking water and staying hydrated will also help reduce your migraines, and is just all around better for you. People should be drinking half their body weight in ounces. Eg; let’s say I weight 160 lbs, half of that is 80 lbs=80 ounces = 10 cups. (There are 8 ounces in a cup approximately)

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