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Understanding mental disability discrimination in the workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act is not only for those with physical impairments. The law extends also to those who have mental disabilities. In Indiana, this means that companies with at least 15 employees cannot discriminate against you based on certain mental conditions.

Having a clear understanding of what the law means can help you prevent or recognize discrimination from your employer.

What qualifies as a mental disability?

In order for your condition to qualify as a disability, it must significantly limit at least one major life activity, such as caring for yourself. Examples of protected mental disabilities include chronic depression, bipolar disorder, and problems with learning or intellectual development. It also covers those with decreased cognitive function due to disease or injury. The law does not include those with neurotic disorders (such as kleptomania), addictions or sexual behavior disorders.

What accommodations do employers have to make?

It is up to you to make your needs clear, but it is up to your employer to meet them. Types of accommodations for mental disabilities are:

  • Modifying your work duties if necessary
  • Creating a schedule that allows you to attend medical appointments
  • Granting you leave (though not necessarily paid) for times of incapacitation
  • Giving you enough time to finish tasks
  • Making sure you have an understanding supervisor

As long as you are able to meet the expectations of your job, you have every right to receive the support you need. You also have the right to promotions and raises if you qualify for them. No matter your work abilities, you deserve respectful treatment from everyone at all times.

What do you do about discrimination in the workplace?

If you ever feel that you are the recipient of discriminatory behavior, then speak to an attorney with experience in employment law. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a case, document instances of discrimination and represent you in court.

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