Italy, Claudio

My name is Claudio, I am 57 and I have Crohn’s disease for more than 25 years. I had surgery many times with many relapses and other related diseases. This is how my disability reached 75%.

I have been working for 30 years in a harbour firefighting company in Livorno, the city where I was born and I am living. My work was a 8-hour in three daily shifts including the night one, frequently doubled because of the lack of employees. When my disability increased, the occupational physician forbade the company to give me the night shift for the problems related to my disease and this, has led to many problems.

Things were already difficult because of the logistic of the work shifts. I worked also on-board container ships coming from all over the world, sometimes with dilapidated toilets or without them or in forecourt and outdoor docks.

Every day only the thought of working there was making me psychologically sick and this was leading to physical reactions such as diarrhea and abdominal pain, very annoying which led me to hospitalization. Ironically, after this period, everything became more and more difficult for me because every time there was a constant battle between me, my colleagues and my boss.

I have suffered harassment for years and this got worse when my disease has been recognized.

After a while, I got fired and the motivation was my big amount of abseentism, but the truth is that it was a huge discrimination.

I felt like the different one in comparison to others because anybody I knew with this kind of diseases told me that they had no problems with their bosses and had a great collaboration when they needed.

The only things I needed were adequate sanitation and understanding by those who worked for me, boss included.

I have never felt like a burden on society because I have always tried to be useful in every employment sector and that’s why I started a business of sport fishing and, after obtaining a compensation for the harassment, today I am doing my dream job!

I work by the sea, on the wonderful south coast of my city, I am ISA instructor for the Stand Up Paddle and I have opened a water sports school that I have been running for 3 years.

As my mother says, “sometimes in life when one door closes another one opens” and for me, so it was.

Claudio Filippi