Federal law provides an array of protections for employees with various disabilities, including mental health issues. These protections can include the provision of alternate work arrangements.
- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a publication available online, “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.” It offers a series of questions asked by employees or applicants, but the answers could be helpful to any prospective employer. For example:
- Is my employer allowed to fire me because I have a mental health condition? Answer: No. It is illegal to discriminate simply because of a mental health condition.
- Am I allowed to keep my condition private? A: In most cases, yes, but an employer is allowed to ask medical questions in certain cases.
- What if my mental health condition could affect my job performance? A: An employee might have a legal right to reasonable accommodation.
- How can I get a reasonable accommodation? A: Ask for one.
- What will happen after I ask for a reasonable accommodation? A: The employer could ask for written documentation.
- What is there’s no way I can do my job, even with accommodation? A: The employee might be entitled to unpaid leave to get to the point where the job can be performed.
- What if I am being harassed because of my condition? A: The employee should report the harassment, and the employer should follow its reporting procedures.
- What should I do if I think my rights have been violated? A: Contact the EEOC.