Workplace mental health discrimination

Mental illness is a common cause of workplace burnout and absences in Texas. Across the United States, approximately one in five adults are affected by mental illness per year. Employees who are struggling with mental health problems can request a reasonable accommodation from their company's human resources department.

A reasonable accommodation is an alteration in a person's job schedule or activities in order to help him or her deal with a medical condition or disability. For example, an employee may request a reasonable accommodation for his or her work to be scheduled around therapy appointments or a quieter work environment.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits workplace discrimination against employees on the basis of a disability. Employers may not ask specific questions about a person's disability or his or her treatment. They are permitted to ask about an employee's ability to perform specific job-related tasks.

Employers are allowed to condition employment on a medical examination only if the same examination is required for all employees as a condition of their employment. Any medical records released to the employer must be kept confidential.

A person who has experienced workplace discrimination may benefit from speaking to an attorney with experience in employment law. A person may not be demoted, fired, passed over for hiring or transferred because of a disability. If an employee has experienced a job change that he or she believes is related to discrimination, or if his or her employer has denied a request for a reasonable accommodation, an employment lawyer may be able to help.

An attorney may be able to help employees who have experienced discrimination file a claim against an employer. There may be preliminary steps a person should take before filing a lawsuit, such as reporting the conduct to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and speaking to his or her company's human resources department.

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