Siegal & RichardsonLLP

San Francisco Attorneys Serving All Of California

Mental illness and discrimination at work

Almost one in every five adults in the United States experiences a form of mental illness in a given year, according to information from the National Alliance on Mental Health. Unfortunately, some of these individuals face discrimination from California employers.

There may be a wide range of events that can occur in a person's life that can contribute to anxiety, depression, PTSD or other mental illnesses. The death of a loved one, trauma, experiences in the military and divorce are just a sample of stressors that can negatively affect a person mentally. For someone with mental illness who is part of the workforce or a potential hire, requesting a reasonable accommodation from the employer may be necessary.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refers to a reasonable accommodation as some form of change in how things are typically executed at work. Quiet office spaces, different work and break schedules, specific shift assignments, authorization to work from home and changes in supervisory procedures are some examples of accommodations workers who are suffering from mental illness may request of an employer.

Employment agencies, labor unions, private employers and local and state governments are prohibited by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 from engaging in discriminatory acts in various aspects of employment against disabled and qualified individuals. This means that it is illegal for those entities to discriminate in the hiring, compensating, advancing and firing of a qualified person with disabilities. The legislation applies to employers who have a minimum of 18 employees.

An attorney who practices labor and employment law may suggest legal options to a client who has been the victim of employment discrimination due to their disabilities. The attorney may help file a lawsuit against the negligent employer for financial compensation.

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