Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Releases Guidance on the Legal Rights of Persons with Mental Health Disabilities in the Workplace
The EEOC’s recently released policy guidance titled, “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights,” which explains the rights that people with psychiatric disabilities have at work, including potential reasonable accommodations a person with a psychiatric disability could receive.
The guidance states that an employer cannot fire an individual solely based on a mental health condition, unless the employee is a direct threat to safety or there is objective, reliable evidence that the individual cannot perform their job duties because of it. It also explains that a person with a disability can keep their condition private if they wish, and that the employer may only ask questions about their disability in four situations: (a) when the person asks for a reasonable accommodation; (b) after the employer has made a job offer, but before employment begins; (c) when engaging in affirmative action to hire more people with disabilities; and (d) on the job, when there is objective evidence that the person’s condition is interfering with their ability to perform their job. The guidance describes how to get a reasonable accommodation for a mental health condition and gives examples of the different forms of reasonable accommodations a person could receive. Reasonable accommodations could include altered work schedules, a quiet work environment, specific shifts, and permission to work from home. A mental health condition does not need to be “permanent or severe” for the person to receive a reasonable accommodation.
For more information, read the EEOC’s mental health guidance.