EEOC Publishes Guidance on Rights of Job Applicants and Employees with Mental Health Conditions
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a new “resource document” about the rights of employees and applicants with mental health conditions. The document, Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights, is written in question-and-answer format for an employee audience, but it is also useful for employers as it demonstrates the EEOC’s interpretation of the law and of employers’ obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The document addresses such issues as when an employer may inquire about a mental health or other medical condition, when an employee has a right to a reasonable accommodation of a mental health condition, how an employee can seek such an accommodation, and what an employee can do if the employee believes he or she has been harassed or discriminated against on the basis of a mental health condition.
"Employers, job applicants, and employees should know that mental health conditions are no different than physical health conditions under the law,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang in a press release about the document. The press release adds that charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise. Preliminary data from the agency’s fiscal year 2016 show that the EEOC resolved almost 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions, obtaining approximately $20 million for individuals with mental health conditions who were denied employment and reasonable accommodations.
For more info about ADA compliance, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources library at www.agc.org/topicalresources. Be sure to log in as an AGC member, then select main category “EEO” and subcategory “Americans with Disabilities Act.”
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