Can I Be Fired for Mental Health Problems?

Written by alexis writing | 13/05/2017
Can I Be Fired for Mental Health Problems?
Employees are protected by the ADA (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Some types of mental illness do not impair individuals to the point where they are not able to work. However, in some circumstances even people with these types of mental illness can allow their disability to get in the way on the job. Many managers are cautious about firing a mentally ill employee due to the special protections that they have regarding employment. In some circumstances though, firing has been determined to be justified and reasonable.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Often the decision to fire a disabled employee gets more than the once over. This is due to the protection offered to those who are disabled by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA. The Act was established in 1990 and strictly prohibits the mistreatment of those with disabilities. The Act pertains to employment, education, housing and public service access. The law mandates that employers must make every viable and reasonable effort to support the needs of a mentally ill person in the work environment once they are hired and cannot make the choice to not hire them based solely on their mental illness alone. If these efforts have not been made by the employer and the employee is fired, there are grounds for the terminated mentally ill employee to take legal action against the employer for discrimination. according to the Cornell University Law School.

Employers right to fire you

If the employer has taken every opportunity to make reasonable considerations to aid the mentally ill individual in performing their necessary tasks and function on the job and that employee still cannot perform the job duties, the employer has every right to terminate the employee. It is reasonable to expect that all employees, including those with a mental illness, will behave properly in the workplace towards customers and co-workers in addition to performing their necessary job functions. Therefore, any outbursts towards co-workers or customers are rightful grounds for termination, regardless of an employee's mental status. Additionally, inability to perform the job after reasonable and necessary efforts have been made to aid you to perform your job duties, is also grounds for justified termination despite mental capacity.

Can You Be Fired for Mental Disability

Under the law, therefore, you cannot be fired for mental health problems unless those problems interfere with your ability to do your job, and the employer cannot accommodate your problem reasonably.

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