HR Professionals wear many hats: mediators, compensation and benefits specialist, investigators, training and development, and so on. Some of us work with a team or counsel, and some are a party of one tasked with making decisions that impact the welfare of others and the company.
Accommodation requests for mental health disabilities have increased significantly, most noticeably during the pandemic era. Although mental health disabilities are not new, many employers still do not know how to respond to these requests. The Americans with Disability Act of 1990 and the EEOC provide guidance on addressing these situations. If you’re not familiar with either one, check out the Enforcement Guidance on the ADA and Psychiatric Disabilities, this is a great resource to help answer questions.
Recently, Gravity Diagnostics paid $450,000 for their mistake of ignoring an accommodation request of an employee who suffered from an anxiety disorder. Mr. Berling asked the office manager not to hold a celebration for his birthday, however, the request was ignored, and the party triggered a panic attack. A few days later after another panic attack, the employee was fired. Kevin Berling v. Gravity Diagnostics, LLC., Commonwealth of Kentucky, Kenton Circuit Court Division IV, Case No. 19-CI-01631. This is an example of an employer not adhering to an accommodation request and also a learning lesson for many of us to stop and go through the interactive process.
ADA - Did You Know - Mental Health in the Workplace © 2022 by Cristina Rangel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0