Mental Illnesses in the Workplace: To Tell or Not To Tell?

Although employees are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many still face negative reactions or consequences after disclosing a mental illness to an employer or coworkers. While the employee may have had stellar reviews and workplace performance, discrimination can change the tune of workplace reviews, job promotions, and more. If you find yourself in a situation like this, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled and experienced Los Angeles employment law attorney for legal guidance.

When to Disclose your Mental Illness to Your Boss

Unless you absolutely have to, it’s probably wisest to keep personal information, such as a mental illness, to yourself in the workplace. Many employees face negative consequences after sharing that information, even with coworkers whom they regarded as friends. If these negative reactions don’t qualify as discrimination necessarily, the employee simply has to live with it.

In certain situations, disclosing your mental illness may become necessary:

  • If you need a leave of absence

You may qualify for Family and Medical Leave if your work performance has begun to suffer due to your mental illness. If you need time off to get treatment, you can obtain up to 12 weeks of leave in a single year through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In most cases, your direct supervisor will have no specific information about your illness if the FMLA application was processed correctly.

  • If you need regular time off

Should you need to go to treatments or therapy sessions for your disability, you may be able to apply for intermittent Family and Medical Leave. You can’t be punished for missing time under FMLA leave, and it won’t cut into your sick days or PTO.

  • If you need accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employees with mental disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodations for your mental illness, your employer is required to make them, unless it would be an undue hardship on the company.

Living with a mental illness may require you to request certain accommodations in the workplace. This disclosure can be private and professional, and hardly affect your work life at all. If you have experienced discrimination due to your mental illness, or would like more information about your specific circumstances, don’t hesitate to contact our seasoned Los Angeles employment lawyer.