California employment lawyer

A company has responsibility to its employees to recognize their dignity as human beings.

Mental disability discrimination and harassment

People who have mental disorders are often afraid to speak up. This is because society treats people who have mental health issues differently than other disabled people. Lots of people get harassed because of their mental health condition. This is wrong! You have a right to be treated fairly.

Do you feel that your boss doesn’t like you because of your mental condition? Do people tell jokes about you in the workplace that make you uncomfortable? Has your employer bullied you because of your mental condition? Has your employer replaced your co-workers with healthy people? Do you feel you were fired because of your mental disability? We can help!

What rights do you have in the workplace?

Do you have a mental condition that limits your ability to eat, sleep, or work? Are you comfortable working the shift you work in light of your mental condition? Is your condition making it impossible to get to work on time? Do you need to occasionally work from home? Do you need a quiet space away from from distractions in order to concentrate? There are a lot of things to consider.

  If you have anxiety or bipolar disorder, you may require occasional absences or the right to work from home.  

Just as every condition is different, every employment situation is unique, too. If you have attention deficit disorder, you might need an office, a cubicle with partitions, or a quiet corner to do your work away from the distractions of the office. If you have anxiety or bipolar disorder, you may require occasional absences or the right to do your job from home.

I have worked extensively with disabled clients with needs unique to their mental condition. I have represented an assistant with bipolar disorder who was fired because of absenteeism, even though she requested occasional time off because of her disorder. I represented who needed time off to attend therapy sessions. I represented a client who worked for a major, national retail store who checked himself into a mental hospital due to a problem with his medications, and was terminated within days of his release from the hospital.

  I have worked extensively with disabled clients with needs unique to their mental condition.  

This is just a small sampling of the clients I’ve represented whose employers refused to accommodate employees' mental conditions and then wrongfully terminated them so the employers wouldn’t have to provide accommodation. As long as you can still perform the essential functions of your job with reasonable accommodation, you have the right to be accommodated and to have your requests taken seriously.

Is it wrong for your job to deny you time off?

As you know, being mentally disabled comes with a lot of appointments and errands. Those commitments can conflict with your job. Don’t worry! You have many different kinds of requests you can make for time off. You can leave for different time periods and different reasons, based on your own special circumstances.

  You can ask for flexibility in how, when, and where you do your job.  

Being mentally disabled gives you rights. You can ask for flexibility in how, when, and where you do your job. You can also ask to be treated the same as your co workers. The company has to listen to you because it has an obligation to “engage in the interactive process” with you. That means, once you tell your boss you’re disabled, he can’t sweep the matter under the rug. He is required to talk to you about your needs and how the company can accommodate you. We can help you talk to your employer about what you need.

Is your boss treating you in an illegal way?

Have you already taken leave? You have rights to help you transition to work after staying at home. Do you want to return part-time or full-time? Or do you want to return with a different set of duties? Talk to us to determine your options.

Your employer may not want to respect your rights. If your employer is harassing you because of your mental condition, we’re here to help. Being harassed is wrong. You’re facing a horrible situation: you’re scared to speak up and lose your job, but you can’t bear the unfair treatment, either.

Are you being treated unfairly or bullied?

You don’t have to endure a hostile work environment. In fact, being quiet sometimes causes bad bosses to take advantage of you or unfairly fire you. We can help to fight your boss’s illegal treatment. And we can do so while also protecting your right to keep your job.

Harassment can cause further health issues. If your condition has become complicated for whatever reason, you may need someone to fight for you.

Is it wrong for your employer to harass you because of someone else’s disability?

Are you reading this because you have a disabled person in your life? Your spouse, child, or sibling may need your support. Your job should treat you fairly. The law is designed to help families.

Is it wrong for your employer to harass you because they think you have a disability, even if you don’t?

Sometimes, employers get the idea in their head that you have a disability, even if you don’t. I had a client whose boss constantly accused her of having attention deficit disorder, even though she didn’t. Eventually she was wrongfully terminated. Should her boss have been able to get away with firing her just because she didn’t actually have attention deficit diorder? No.

  Harassment can cause further health issues.  

Employers can’t fire you if it regards you as having a mental disability. In the case of Diffey v. Riverside County Sheriff's Dept., the California appellate court said: "[T]he purpose of the 'regarded-as' prong is to protect individuals rejected from a job because of the 'myths, fears and stereotypes' associated with disabilities. In other words, to find a perceived disability, the perception must stem from a false idea about the existence of or the limiting effect of a disability."

So if your boss got the false impression that you had a disability and discriminated against you or harassed you because of it, give us a call. We want to help!

Is your boss bullying you because you reported discrimination or harrassment?

Perhaps you already suspect that you are being unfairly treated because of your mental condition. Maybe you told your boss or someone else that you believe your employer is treating you wrongfully because of your mental condition. You were very courageous to speak up! You have the right to feel safe and to have job security even after complaining.

Retaliation based upon your complaints of mental disability discrimination or harassment is illegal. Your boss may say that you weren’t being discriminated against based on your disability. But even if your employer can prove that, it’s never fair to discriminate against you because you spoke up. If you feel you’ve been retaliated against because of your complaints, let us help you.

How can I prove my boss harassed or discriminated against me because of my disability?

The appellate court decided in the case of Brundage v. Hahn that disability discrimination and harassment occur when your boss illegally demotes, harasses, or fires you based upon your disability.
To prove your case, you only need the judge or jury to believe that you or someone you were associated had a mental disability and that a substantial motivation for your firing, demotion, or harassment was due to your mental disability. If you have witnesses and documents, of course it’s much easier to prove your case. However, if you don’t have these things, don’t feel discouraged. We have handled many cases where someone has been discriminated and harassed because of their mental disability, but no one was around to see it and it wasn’t in writing. In fact, it’s pretty common for bad bosses to wait until a time when you’re alone before they harass you.

If you’ve been treated differently because of your mental disability, that’s wrong. You deserve to be treated with respect.

We can help you fight for justice.

When your employer judges you because of your disability, you can feel hopeless. Employers should not get away with it! By standing up for your rights, you are standing up for yourself. You are also standing up for everyone who has ever suffered the injustice of disability discrimination and harassment.

Please make an appointment for a free consultation in our Newport Beach office. You can contact us by email or phone. We want to help.