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ADA: Mental Disabilities

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

In 1997 the EEOC released guidelines to clarify the employer’s responsibility in applying the ADA to workers who have psychiatric disabilities.

An employee with a mental disability is protected by the law and needs to be accommodated in the same way as a worker with a physical disability, the commission stated.

Although physical disabilities are often obvious, it’s more difficult to determine when an employee is mentally disabled. Obvious or not, though, if an employee has a “mental impairment” that “substantially limits a major life activity,” that worker is protected, and the employer is potentially liable for discrimination under the ADA.

Under the new EEOC rules, employers need to be alert to the possibility that traits regarded as undesirable (chronic lateness, poor judgment, hostility to co-workers or supervisors) “may be linked to mental impairments.” Although the traits themselves are not mental impairments, they ma...(register to read more)

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