Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Psychiatric Disabilities

Originally aired March 16, 2016


The principles prohibiting discrimination in the workplace under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were formulated for both physical and psychiatric disabilities; however, the statute as applied to physical disabilities tends to receive more attention. An estimated 61.5 million Americans have experienced a mental health impairment in a given year (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2013). The prevalence of employees with psychiatric disabilities in the workforce continues to rise. This session will discuss the employment rights of persons with psychiatric disabilities under the ADA with emphasis on workplace accommodations and discuss issues that arise including:

  • How the broadened definition of disability under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) affects individuals with psychiatric disabilities
  • Determining when a person with a psychiatric disability is "qualified" for a job
  • Common workplace issues involving persons with psychiatric disabilities
  • Recent or poignant cases
  • Identifying when safety issues or concerns arise and how the concept of "direct threat" may apply
  • Resources for both employers and employees

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Diego Demaya JD, Legal Specialist, Southwest ADA Center at ILRU