EEOC Issues Resource Document Explaining Workplace Rights for Individuals with Mental Health Conditions

 
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
 
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a resource document that explains workplace rights for individuals with mental health conditions under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights explains that job applicants and employees with mental health conditions are protected from employment discrimination and harassment based on their conditions (https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/mental_health.cfm). They may also have a right to reasonable accommodations at work. Reasonable accommodations are work adjustments that can help individuals to perform their jobs and remain employed. The resource document also answers questions about how to get an accommodation, describes some types of accommodations, and addresses restrictions on employer access to medical information, confidentiality, and the role of the EEOC in enforcing the rights of people with disabilities.

EEOC charge data shows that charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise. During fiscal year 2016, preliminary data shows that EEOC resolved almost 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions, obtaining approximately $20 million for individuals with mental health conditions who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations.

The resource document is part of an ongoing series of publications providing individuals with medical conditions or work restrictions with user-friendly explanations of their rights, and with information that they can give to a health care provider to explain how to provide appropriate medical documentation, if required. Earlier this year EEOC published resource documents addressing the employment rights of individuals with HIV infection and individuals who are pregnant. The new publication's companion document, The Mental Health Provider's Role in a Client's Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work, can be found here.
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