What are your employment rights if you have bipolar? Do you need to tell your employer? Should you tell your employer? What if you’re looking for a job, when can your potential employer ask you about bipolar?
We ran across a nice summary with some very useful links on the Bipolar Network News website.
Attorney Katharine Gordon writes –
It is now clear that people with bipolar disorder are protected under the ADA in employment. Prior to 2008, there was often a battle of the experts to prove that a person with bipolar disorder had a severe enough impairment to be protected… The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency responsible for enforcing this law, has made it clear in official regulations that bipolar should generally be covered as a disability for the purposes of protection in employment: “It should easily be concluded that the following types of impairments will, at a minimum, substantially limit the major life activities indicated:…major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia substantially limit brain function.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(3)(ii), (iii).
This means that you have a right to a “reasonable accommodation” from your employer, but what does that mean. And how do you negotiate such an accommodation?
The Job Accommodations Network has a very helpful guide Employees’ Practical Guide to Negotiating and Requesting Reasonable Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which includes sample documentation. Its Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Bipolar Disorder provides suggestions for accommodations that might help people with bipolar disorder maintain stamina and attention throughout the workday, stay organized, work effectively with supervisors, and handle stress and change.