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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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i have been absent frequently from my job as a mental health

Resolved Question:

i have been absent frequently from my job as a mental health counselor due to depression. this last week, I called in for the week because I knew I needed to seek counseling support and see a psychiatrist to get back on track. When I spoke to my supervisor, she said they couldn't have me work there anymore. I had previously talked with them about stress and anxiety and requested a reduced work week but they said no. Is this right?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer!

 

What happened when you called the EEOC?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
they said my depression "may" be covered by the ADA
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
Did your doctor say that a reduced work week was necessary for your health?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I took this last week off in order to seek professional support and had planned to discuss this further wtih the psychiatrist, but I was termed the day before. I believe he would have supported a reduced work week for the short term until I was back to myself again
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
What did the EEOC tell you to do?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
their only response was to file a charge - I would like to talk with my employer supervisor and director about this first but want to make sure I have ground to stand on in requesting that they reconsider termination and provide reasonable accommodation
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.
How many people work there?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
about 25 or so
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.

Did your employer know that you were being treated for depression?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I didn't state it outright but did say I was struggling with stress and anxiety
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.

Under the unfortunate facts you've described, you probably do not have a viable ADA discrimination claim for two reasons.

 

First, as the EEOC suggested to you, although clinical depression is a mental impairment under the ADA, not everyone with clinical depression will qualify for coverage. Even though clinical depression is a permanent condition, if you are able through medications and therapy to perform major life activities without difficulty you will not meet the ADA's definition of "disability." More information on this topic can be found here: http://depression.about.com/cs/disability/a/ada.htm

 

Second, it does not appear that the employer was aware of your diagnosis or degree of treatment. In fairness to an employer, they cannot be charged with disability discrimination if the employee did not put them on clear notice of the disability.

 

So, you have every right to file a complaint with the EEOC. And, you have nothing to lose by filing a complaint. However, it's important to be mindful of these two hurdles that you will face as the complaint is processed.

 

Good luck and best wishes for better days ahead. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
it is reasonsable to talk with my employer further to clarify that I am seeking treatment for depression and request some accommodation in the short term, with understanding that I will be able to go back to full time within a few months
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.

You have nothing to lose by asking.

 

Because your employer has already terminated you, your employer has no legal obligation to grant your request. They may -- you don't know.

 

If they don't grant your request, you should still be able to file for unemployment.

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