The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a resource document last week that explains workplace rights for individuals with mental health conditions under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Depression, PTSD and Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights explains that employees with mental health conditions are protected from employment discrimination and harassment based on their conditions. They may also have a right to reasonable accommodations at work.
Reasonable accommodations are work adjustments that can help individuals to perform their jobs and remain employed. The resource document answers questions about how to get an accommodation, describes some types of accommodations, and addresses restrictions on employer access to medical information, confidentiality, and the role of the EEOC in enforcing the rights of people with disabilities. The new publication has a companion document for medical providers: The Mental Health Provider’s Role in a Client’s Request for a Reasonable Accommodation at Work.
This document is part of an ongoing series of EEOC publications providing individuals with user-friendly explanations of their rights. Earlier this year the EEOC published resource documents addressing the employment rights of individuals with HIV infection and individuals who are pregnant. Last month it issued new enforcement guidance on national origin discrimination.
If reasonable accommodation at work is not possible, postal employees have another option—federal disability retirement. The connection between your mental and/or physical condition and your inability to do the work satisfactorily must be documented. A good example would be it causes you to have poor attendance. The condition must have or be expected to last more than one year. You do not have to establish that your condition was caused by your work to be eligible for federal disability retirement benefits.
There are a handful of qualified attorneys nationwide that can help you with a federal disability retirement. Google “federal disability retirement attorney” to view their websites. If you read the instructions from HR Shared Services, do some online research and pull your own medical records, you can do it yourself. Many do. A FERS disability retirement can pay more than a regular retirement, depending upon the circumstances. You are allowed to get a job anywhere in the private sector to help supplement your income (subject to some earnings restrictions).
First Name: Don
Last Name: Cheney
Union/Local: APWU – Auburn WA Local
Office held if any: Retired President