When dealing with a mental health condition, it can be difficult to speak up to ask for help in any circumstance. The workplace is no exception. But when an accommodation can help you do your job better, it’s crucial to know your rights and make a plan to seek an accommodation. Here’s a few fast facts about mental health accommodations in the workplace.
Discrimination is illegal.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, your employer legally cannot discriminate against you because of a medical condition, physical or mental. This includes firing, rejecting from a job or promotion, or forcing paid leave. But if there’s evidence you can’t perform the job you’ve been hired to do, then action can be taken. So, it’s important to ask for a reasonable accommodation before then to prevent getting to that point.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable mental health accommodations in the workplace would be a change to the workplace or work day that doesn’t affect others too much. For example, you can request a quiet space at work, extra-structured supervision, or the option to work from home.
How to go about it
Most people wait until after they get a job before requesting an accommodation. You may want to give things a try and see how much assistance you will need, then go from there. It’s important for employers to know your symptoms may come and go, so the need for certain accommodations might ebb and flow. You may be required to put the request in writing. Either way, give a lot of thought to what it is that will help you do your best.
You didn’t ask for your mental health condition. And with a little help, you should be able to thrive in your work environment. When you know your rights for mental health accommodations in the workplace, you should feel empowered to be your best and shine in your career.