Employer Guidance on Mental Health Disorders

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in five US adults experiences mental illness in a given year. In a recent article authored by PL Matters contributor Dove A.E. Burns, the “prevalence of these disorders has a significant impact upon the workplace and upon employers and their accommodation policies and procedures.” The New York Law Journal article evaluates the EEOC’s publication titled “Depression, PTSD & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.” The article also considers what the EEOC’s guidance means for employers navigating the ADA landscape.

The publication points out that workplace privacy rights prohibit an employer from asking medical questions concerning a mental health condition with limited exceptions. According to the author, determining when an employer can lawfully make medical inquiries is “akin to reading tea leaves.”

The article explores how the ADA protects employees and applicants from both regarded and perceived discrimination. “It is advisable for employers to take proactive steps to prepare for accommodation requests, employees with apparent mental health challenges and the changing legal landscape.”

The article is available here: “EEOC Guidance on Mental Health Disorders and the Resulting Ramifications,” New York Law Journal, April 11, 2017 (subscription required)