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EEOC targets mental health accommodation

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mental health accommodationsCiting a strong uptick in complaints about mental health disability discrimination, the EEOC has taken steps to inform employees suffering from common conditions like depression about their workplace rights.

The commission just released a step-by-step guide for workers entitled “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.”

Preliminary data for fiscal year 2016 shows that EEOC resolved almost 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions. It obtained approximately $20 million for people with mental health conditions who were denied employment and reasonable accommodations.

The new guide is designed to help more applicants and employees understand their rights and what types of accommodations they may be entitled to. An EEOC statement said it addressed post-traumatic stress disorder because the condition is common among veterans trying to reintegrate into the civilian workforce.

In addition to the workers’ rights document, the EEOC also released a guide that specifically addresses the role mental health professionals play in recommending reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

The document, “The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work,” helps therapists and other health professionals advise clients on the ADA and what accommodations they may be entitled to. For example, the guidance suggests that therapists may provide:

  • Information about the client’s condition
  • How the client would function without treatment
  • Whether an accommodation is needed and, if so, what kind.

Expect more applicants and employees with mental health disabilities to know their rights and begin requesting specific reasonable accommodations. Make sure you are ready to engage in the ADA’s required interactive accommodations process.

ONLINE RESOURCES:

Find the explanation of employee rights at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/mental_health.cfm.

Find the mental health reasonable accommodations document at www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/ada_mental_health_provider.cfm.

 

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