Everyone has difficult days, weeks, and even months from time to time. These days, however, are more than just a poor mood for some people; they are signs of a mental disease like depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. If you have mental health problems, it can affect many aspects of your life, including your job.
Many people in California are concerned about how to deal with their mental illness at work, particularly if their symptoms are apparent at times. First and foremost, it is critical to recognize that mental illness is classified as a disability under California law. That mean that if you have a mental illness, you may be entitled to certain safeguards, as a California disability discrimination lawyer may explain.
Reasonable accommodations must be made in most cases
Mental impairments are defined broadly in California, and companies with five or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for those with mental disabilities unless doing so would be an undue hardship. Mental disabilities are defined as mental and psychological diseases or ailments, emotional illnesses, and intellectual learning impairments under California law.
Your employer can only ask about mental health in specific situations
If you display indications of mental illness at work, your boss is unlikely to inquire about it. According to the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer can only inquire about an employee’s mental health in these situations:
- When an employee requests a reasonable accommodation
- When a company takes affirmative action for individuals with disabilities, such as keeping note of job candidates’ disability status
- When there is evidence that you may be unable to do your work or that you may pose a safety risk as a result of your health condition
- When there is evidence that you may be unable to do your job or that you may pose a safety risk as a result of your health condition
- When you’ve been offered a job and the company is asking for the identical information from all candidates
Other than in certain circumstances, your employer is not permitted to inquire about your mental health.
Your boss cannot discriminate against you for a mental health issue
Importantly, even if you never inform your boss or supervisors that you have a mental condition, they cannot discriminate against you if they just believe you have a disability. California law protects employees against discrimination based on perceived disability, as a California disability discrimination lawyer may explain. This means that your employer can’t discriminate against you even if he or she doesn’t know for sure that you have a mental condition, but suspects it. For example, if you have a time of severe depression and your employer disciplines you because of your depressive symptoms, you may be entitled to submit a discrimination claim.
Managing mental health difficulties in the workplace may be difficult enough without having to contend with a boss that is indifferent to your needs. You may be able to make a lawsuit against your employer if you have been discriminated against because of your mental health disability.
To get help from an experienced employment attorney, call PLBSH at (800) 435-7542.