Workplace Disabilities Part 3: Do Employers Stigmatize Mentally Ill Workers and Jobseekers?

Are you a victim of discrimination?Millions of Americans suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder or generalized anxiety disorder – just to name a few examples. However, research has shown time and time again that employers discriminate against workers and jobseekers with mental illnesses. As a result, Americans with mental illnesses make up the large percentage of those receiving Social Security benefits. What are some examples of mental illness discrimination in the workplace?

  • Workers with mental illnesses may be victimized with name-calling or other types of harassment.
  • Jobseekers may be denied employment on the basis of their mental illnesses, even when they are capable of performing job duties.
  • Workers capable of performing job duties may be denied assignments, promotions, pay, leave or other benefits. Employers sometimes fire workers with qualified disabilities.
  • People with mental illnesses can be ostracized by their fellow coworkers.
  • Employers may deny workers with a qualified disability reasonable accommodations.

Are There Legal Protections Against Mental Illness Discrimination in the Workplace?

Under the right circumstances, employers who are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must provide reasonable accommodations to workers with qualified disabilities. These are modifications that allow disabled workers to perform the duties of their jobs. For example, allowing time off every week to go to a psychiatric appointment. Reasonable accommodations should not impose undue hardships on employers. In addition, workers must be able to perform essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations.

Employees with mental illnesses who are discriminated against may have several legal options. They could file a claim of disability discrimination under the ADA, or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. An attorney can help disabled workers coordinate a disability discrimination claim.

The Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob can help disabled workers explore their legal options.



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