The EEOC recently released new guidance materials relating to mental health conditions. In its news release regarding these new materials, the EEOC indicated that the new materials were necessary because charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions are on the rise (nearly 5,000 charges of discrimination based on mental health conditions were resolved in 2016), which indicates that employers are not aware of the protections the ADA affords employees with mental health conditions.
The first document, entitled “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights” summarizes the rights of individuals with mental health conditions under the ADA. This documents addresses and provides guidance regarding the following topics:
- An employee’s right to protection against discrimination and harassment because of a mental health condition,
- An employee’s right to privacy regarding his/her mental health information, and
- An employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodation in the performance of job functions to an employee whose ability to perform his/her job is effected because of a mental health condition.
The second document, entitled “The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work,” provides information intended to help mental health providers understand the documentation necessary for submitting reasonable accommodation requests to an employer.
It is recommended that all employers review these new materials.