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I am current working at a small start-up as an IT Support. The current policy is that you can work from home as long as you have legit reasons. Then usually most of the team managers won't mind.

Recently I am experiencing a pain with my bowel movements and was diagnosed with hemorrhoids (an inflamed vein around my anus). The main problem it caused is that sitting on the chair for 8 hours is very painful. (Getting up every 2-3 hours won't help much.)

However, this can be solved if I work from home since I can find a comfortable position while working.

I am going to talk to my manager for a work from home permission. I am afraid that mentioning my actual health condition will leave office gossip and make my work life harder.

So is there a way to communicate to my manager to show that I have an actual health condition that I prefer working from home but without mentioning it?

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    Can you get a doctor's note? Hemorrhoids are a fairly common condition, and utterly boring. It'd be a fairly pathetically boring workplace if it became a topic of conversation. As an aside a nice soft cushion and a thick layer of something like Sudocrem will lubricate the hemorrhoids and make them less of a pain in the ass – user1666620 Jan 14 at 19:55
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    +1 purely for that pain in the ass pun. – Lee Abraham Jan 14 at 19:59
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    Because OP is working at a small startup, it's better not to fully disclose anything if they're not comfortable sharing with coworkers. I worked in a 200 person startup and disclosed to my manager that my wife and I were going to through IVF. The information started make its rounds at the company. I'm not ashamed of going to IVF, but I should still be able to chose who hears this information. – jcmack Jan 14 at 20:57
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    Have you considered a standing desk option so that you don't have to sit all the time? – Joe W Jan 14 at 20:58
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You have a couple of options here.

The first option is talk to your manager, mention that you have a health issue that you would like to keep private and that you need to work from home because of it. Most managers I've worked with would understand and not press you for details than your comfortable sharing. How much detail you give out should largely depend on how much you trust your manager to keep the details of the conversation private.

The second option is to get a note from your doctor stating that you need to work from home for medical reasons and present that to your manager.

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    The wording doesn't even need to include "deeply personal". That just makes it sound interesting instead of boring. The OP has a medical issue that necessitates working from home for a while, and they can get a a doctor's note if that is needed. – thursdaysgeek Jan 14 at 20:14
  • @thursdaysgeek good point. I reworded it. What I meant was a health issue that they don't want the whole office to know about. Usually saying you would like to keep something private will be enough to keep somebody from gossiping about it unless that somebody is a scumbag. – Lee Abraham Jan 14 at 20:16
  • There are also other options like a standing workstation, but if you're more productive at home then you should definitely chose that option. – jcmack Jan 14 at 20:51
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Well, it should be completely confidential.
I assume you're asking because you don't think that it will be kept confidential.
There are clear laws in the US (HIPPA) but sometimes the gossip doesn't abide by them - or maybe you are concerned about people overhearing?

Either way, perhaps you can get a note from the doctor stating that you are not able to work in an office environment comfortably due to a short term medical condition.
You can try to get them to leave out the diagnosis, or have a note that instructs them to call if they need to know what it is.

If your company is large enough to have an HR department, then you could approach them and tell them what it is. That way your manager shouldn't know.

I feel for you, I have worked at places where data sprays out of HR like a firehose. It shouldn't, but in some places it does.

  • HIPAA doesn't apply to non-medical people, so unless the OP works for a medical office (and perhaps even if they do), that law won't help anyway. – thursdaysgeek Jan 14 at 20:12
  • @thursdaysgeek If a medical office discloses to a specific person or department (at the patient's request) and that entity blabs it through the office, I believe that is actionable. But I'm not a lawyer, you may be correct that it isn't a hippa violation. – J. Chris Compton Jan 14 at 20:21
  • @J.ChrisCompton That's not the situation, though. This is the OP voluntarily disclosing information to their boss in a situation that is not (necessarily) one in which the boss has a legal responsibility to protect private health information. It's not a slam-dunk HIPAA case by any stretch, and even if it were I'm not sure the remedy (a fine to the employer, audits of the employer, etc.) would be a satisfying trade for the OP. – Upper_Case Jan 14 at 22:47
  • I've previously been responsible for delivering HIPAA training at a large organization. HIPAA privacy protections apply only to covered entities (healthcare organizations, etc) and their business associates. Data released to the patient or a third party (under authorization from the patient) is not protected. – S. Grey Jan 15 at 15:25
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You can get a ring cushion for your seat and honestly people won't care. The issue is something that affects 1 in 3 people and it is as mentioned simply boring. Just keep it in your drawer and be discreet about it, although I have seen people openly leave it on their chairs and we thought nothing of it (actually felt sorry for her as she was pregnant).

Or ask for a standup desk.

Unfortunately it is not a problem that will go away anytime soon (dont ask me how I know this please) so you have to learn to live with it and working from home every day will probably not be a good long term solution.

Trust me this is not a topic people will willingly want to discuss or tell each other about.

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This is one of these medical conditions that is common place but people find embarrassing, I don't actually think people will be gossiping about it unless you make it an issue by being overly secretive! Every single one of them will either have had this condition at some stage in their life or know someone who has! Just ask to work at home due to a painful but minor medical issue and all should be fine.

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