Understanding mental health issues at work

There are roughly 43.8 million people throughout the country who deal with mental illness in a given year. That is according to the National Alliance on Mental Health, and it could have an impact on how such individuals are treated at work. For instance, Tennessee workers might be more likely to face harassment from their employers because of their condition. They could also be discriminated against when applying for jobs.

In most cases, employers are not allowed to ask about the severity of a mental health condition. They are only allowed to make a job offer contingent on a medical exam if all candidates must take an exam as a condition of employment. Those who experience mental health problems may be entitled to reasonable accommodations from their employers. Examples of accommodations may include quieter spaces to perform tasks or being allowed to work from home.

Individuals may also be able to work fewer hours or be given light duty for a period of time. If an employee with a mental health problem does face discrimination at work, he or she may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It may also be possible to work with an employer to resolve the problem without outside intervention.

Employees who are treated differently at work because of a mental or physical condition may be experiencing disability discrimination. This may make it harder to find work or advance within a company. Individuals who believe that they have been discriminated against may wish to consult with legal counsel who could help a worker prepare for a lawsuit or with any complaint made to the EEOC.

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