Employees generally recognize that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides them with important protections in the face of their own serious health concerns or a serious health concern that one of their close relatives experiences. Many employees, however, aren’t sure whether FMLA covers mental health conditions, which can be debilitating. Fortunately, FMLA covers both physical and mental health concerns, and employees who experience either are well advised to seek the skilled legal guidance of an experienced California employment law attorney.
Employees who suffer from mental health conditions are forced to carefully consider their needs and legal rights in relation to the stigma that tends to accompany mental illness. Stereotypes related to mental illness that are left unchecked in the workplace can lead to harmful discrimination. Employees who suffer from mental health issues are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the law and are protected from both discrimination and unfair practices at work.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) affords employees with disabilities, such as mental illnesses, considerable protections. To qualify, an employee must demonstrate they suffer from a condition that significantly impairs at least one primary life activity, such as having difficulty concentrating, regulating one’s emotions, or communicating. Further, the employee must demonstrate that they are capable of performing their job’s core duties – either with or without reasonable accommodations.
A psychiatric concern can require extended time off the job, and FMLA guarantees employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in response to a mental health crisis of their own or of a close relative. FMLA ensures that the employee’s job – or a similar position – and benefits are protected throughout their leave. In order to qualify, the employee must have worked for their current employer for at least 12 months.
While employees must be capable of performing the primary tasks required by their jobs, they’re entitled to any reasonable accommodations that can help them do so. Some examples of accommodations that are commonly used in relation to mental health issues include:
The seasoned California employment law attorneys at Minnis & Smallets dedicate their practice to fiercely protecting employee rights, including those related to mental health issues. Too many employees are afraid to share their mental health concerns due to fear of negative consequences on the job, but skilled legal guidance can help. Don’t put off contacting us for more information today.
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