Mental illness and employee termination: 3 important facts

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | wrongful termination |

Mental illness affects millions of Americans, and issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder may seriously impact those who suffer from such ailments in a number of ways. Mental illness may even impact one’s role in the workplace.

Mental Health America notes that the Americans With Disabilities Act protects those with mental illness; however, those affected by these disorders may want to learn a few facts about employment laws that concern them, especially in connection with wrongful termination.

1. Documentation equals protection

People who live with invisible illnesses, such as mental disorders, may not display symptoms openly. In fact, their employers may have no idea about the challenges they face. Documenting anxiety and bipolar disorders, depression and other mental issues can protect employees from wrongful termination when symptoms flare up and employees struggle with their job performance.

2. ADA protection includes limitations

The ADA does protect employees who face challenges at their job because of their mental illness; however, the act does include certain limitations. It cannot protect employees who do not make their employers aware of their depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses that fall under the umbrella of the act’s protection.

3. Small companies lack protection

Very small companies, such as those that employ fewer than 15 employees, carry no ADA protection. Those with documented or diagnosed mental illnesses may want to keep this in mind, as they may run the risk of termination with no legal recourse.

The Family and Medical Leave Act may also assist those who feel they need time off to care for themselves when mental illness symptoms start to affect their daily lives.