by Michael Rose and Danielle Van Katwyk
Originally published: December 23, 2016
Executive Summary: On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a user-friendly resource document aimed at informing applicants and employees with mental health conditions about their workplace rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The publication also addresses circumstances regarding workplace privacy rights, such as confidentiality of medical information, and the process for requesting and documenting the need for a reasonable accommodation relating to a mental health condition.
Background: The EEOC, the agency generally charged with enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, issued the publication in response to data showing that charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise. The EEOC's preliminary data shows that, during fiscal year 2016, the Commission resolved approximately 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions. Generally, these individuals were allegedly unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations in connection with their mental health condition. In response, issuance of the resource document aims to raise awareness of the employment rights and protections held by many individuals with common mental health conditions under the ADA. EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang, stated, "[e]mployers, job applicants, and employees should know that mental health conditions are no different than physical health conditions under the law."
New Publication: The publication, titled "Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights" presents a series of questions and answers, explaining to applicants and employees their workplace rights in an easy to understand format, and highlights the following: