Panic Disorder Disability Discrimination

You have panic disorder.  You may experience frequent, sometime severe, panic attacks, especially when you are worried, stressed out or anxious about something. Your panic disorder can be treated and managed. You may find yourself thinking that you have a heart attack. You go to the emergency room. There is nothing physically wrong, but you are diagnosed with panic disorder. It's not your fault. Panic disorder is considered a disability in the workplace under discrimination law in New York State and New York City, and your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your panic disorder.

People with panic disorder may experience discrimination in the workplace in New York, both in hiring and firing. You may undergo panic disorder 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 panic attack, or have recovered, sometimes your employer believes that a 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 panic disorder is having side effects which for the time being affect your ability to work. Many, if not most, of panic attack victims return to work.

You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your panic disorder, and your New York employer cannot subject you to panic disorder 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, or even a support animal to help you keep your emotional balance.  If your employer does not give you a reasonable accommodation, that would be disability discrimination because of your panic attacks.

Nor can your New York employer subject you to a hostile environment because of your panic attacks. That would also be a form of disability discrimination. For example, you 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 panic attacks.

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 panic attacks in violation of law in New York State or New York City.