Mental Illness Disability Discrimination

You have a mental health issue, or a psychiatric of psychological condition. At times, you are worried, stressed out, anxious, and this may be affecting your ability to work. It's not your fault. Your psychological or psychiatric condition can be treated and managed. Mental illness, psychiatric conditions, and psychological conditions are considered disabilities in the workplace under discrimination law in New York State and New York City, and your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your mental health condition.  

People with mental illness may experience discrimination in the workplace in New York, both in hiring and firing. You may undergo mental health discrimination at work because your employer doesn't understand you are still able to work if your condition is properly managed. This may include drugs and psychiatric or psychological counseling or psychotherapy. Even if you are recovering from a psychological or psychiatric condition, or have recovered, sometimes your employer believes that you are likely to be absent from work or that you won't focus on your job and will perceive you to be disabled, even though you can get your job done. Even if you have to be absent from work, and you need to take sick leave, there is a good chance that you will recover, and continue to be a productive employee. Don't give up, even if your psychiatric or psychological condition is having side effects which for the time being affect your ability to work. Many, if not most, mentally ill patients return to work.

You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your mental illness, and your New York employer cannot subject you to psychiatric or psychological disability discrimination. For example, you may request work breaks from time to time so that you can get your composure back, a quiet place where you use relaxation techniques or contact your psychotherapist.  If your employer does not give you a reasonable accommodation, that would be disability discrimination because of your mental illness.  

Nor can your New York employer subject you to a hostile environment because of your mental illness. That would also be a form of disability discrimination. For example, you have exhibit nervousness or physical symptoms in the workplace, and your employer makes negative comments about this, or says it will make a bad impression on customers or other workers, even though you are perfectly capable of doing your job with a reasonable accommodation. That would be a form of disability discrimination based on your psychological or psychiatric condition.  

Your employer cannot disclose your medical information or records to just anyone. You are entitled to confidentiality in your medical records and information.

If you are afraid to ask for an accommodation, know that your employer cannot retaliate against you for requesting an accommodation.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 so that we can review if your New York City employer has subjected you to disability discrimination because of your mental illness, psychiatric condition or psychological condition in violation of law in New York State or New York City.

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