People with mental health conditions often worry about being treated unfairly in the workplace. While there are laws in place to protect workers with mental health issues, not all coworkers or superiors follow them. It is important for California workers with mental health needs to understand their rights.
What laws protect workers with mental health issues?
The Americans With Disabilities Act provides some protection. Also, states have laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace or by employers. Workplace discrimination can happen if an employer treats a worker with special mental health needs or a mental disability differently. For example, being denied a promotion because of a mental health condition may be discrimination.
Understanding accommodations for mental health needs
A person does not have to be physically disabled for special accommodations. People with certain mental health conditions may need equipment to perform their jobs safely and effectively. For instance, someone with severe anxiety may request to keep a special chair at a desk instead of a standard office chair. Also, some people may need to take time off for mental health treatment or to recover from a psychiatric event. When this happens, the Family Medical Leave Act offers provisions and protection. In most workplaces, HR departments can provide more information about this and applicable employment laws.
Trying to manage mental health needs can be difficult for many people. More workplaces today are supportive of workers’ mental and physical health requirements. It helps to discuss specific needs with HR or a supervisor to make working conditions easier. Also, more workplaces today are training staff to recognize the importance of mental health care and support their coworkers with special psychological needs.