No, you cannot be fired for having depression. Depression is a very common mental health disorder with over 3 million cases in the United States per year. It’s characterized by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, which causes significant impairment in daily life. There are many possible causes to depression such as biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Depression can lead to changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self esteem. The main type of treatment is usually a combination of talk therapy and medication. If you have been discriminated against or lost your job because of your depression then you need to get in touch with one of our lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group to help you on your way to a lawsuit against your employer.
If the most common treatment for depression includes talk therapy, this means many therapy appointments. Scheduling therapy appointments can be very difficult in this day and age. We are busy people, that work many jobs and having many obligations. The Americans with Disabilities Act actually protects you from being fired for having to go to appointments related to your depression and requires your employer to not only allows you to go to these appointments, but even restructure your work schedule to accommodate for these appointments. You cannot lose your job or be discriminated in any way by your employer because you have disclosed to them that you have depression. Contact one of our depression discrimination attorneys to learn more about your rights.
Does the ADA cover depression?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), protects those with disabilities from discrimination in all areas of public life, which includes at work. The ADA applies to anyone at a company with 15 or more employees. A disability under the ADA is defined as any physical or mental impairment that limits one’s ability to perform one or more major life activities. Major life activities are:
- General life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, etc.
- The operation of major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, circulatory and respiratory systems, etc.
Depression is considered a disability because it affects the neurological system, which is considered a major life activity. Depression may also be severe enough to limits someone’s ability to perform major life activities such as sleeping and eating. If your depression does affect your ability to work, then your employer, under the ADA, may be re quired to provide you with reasonable accommodations for your depression as long as it does not cause them undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. A few examples are:
- Making existing facilities accessible and usable
- Restructuring jobs, modifying schedules, or reassigning to vacant positions
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices
What are reasonable accommodations for depression?
Some other symptoms that may stem from depression are fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty remembering. Besides accommodating for your therapy appointments, other examples of reasonable accommodations your employer may need to provide for you are:
- A change in your work location to keep you from distractions so that is it easier to concentrate
- Allowed to work from home a couple days a week to help with your fatigue
- Giving work instructions to you in writing if you have trouble remembering
These are just a few examples, and if you are unsure of what you are entitled to, feel free to speak with one of our depression discrimination lawyers to discern what exactly it is you need from your employer or what it is they are withholding from you. If your employer is not providing you with reasonable accommodations for your depression, then you may want to file a lawsuit against them, which our attorneys can also help you with.
Can I sue my employer if they didn’t fire me for having depression?
The ADA protects those with disabilities not only from being fired for having a disability, but from any form of employment discrimination. Employment discrimination includes discrimination in:
- Job application procedures
- Hiring, firing, advancement, or discharge of employees
- Employee compensation
- Job training
- Terms, conditions, and privileges of employment
So even if you did not lose your job, but you are enduring some other kind of employment discrimination or refusal from your employer to exercise your rights under the ADA, then you have a discrimination lawsuit on your hands. You should also know that the ADA prohibits any kind of retaliation from your employer in response to enacting your rights under the law. Retaliation can be firing, but it can also be:
- Giving a low employee evaluation
- Transferring an employee to a less than desirable position
- Physical and verbal abuse
- Making work more difficult
- Spreading rumors
These are just a few examples of retaliation. If you have attempted to file a claim, made your employer aware that you intended to file a claim, or participated in an investigation, your employer cannot retaliate against you. If you employer has unlawfully reprimanded you for taking any of these actions then you need to speak with one of our lawyers immediately.
What California employment law protects depression?
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is a state law that protects those at companies with 5 or more employees under a protected category from discrimination in employment and housing. The protected categories include:
- Race and color
- Ancestry and national origin
- Religion and creed
- Age (over 40)
- Physical and mental disabilities
- Sex and gender
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identification
- Genetic information
- Medical condition
- Marital status
- Military and veteran status
Depression is considered a mental disability under the state law and is protected. The Unruh Civil Rights Act is another anti-discrimination California law that protects from discrimination by all business establishments in California. Disability is a protected category under this law as well. The Disabled Persons Act is a California law specifically for those who are disabled. It too protects those who are disabled from being discriminated against at the workplace.
As you can see, there are many laws that protect you if you have depression. You are entitled to being treated fair and equally at work. You may also be entitled to reasonable accommodations.These are all things your employer cannot withhold from you. If your rights under these California state laws have been violated then you need to seek help from one of our depression discrimination attorneys. We will help you with your claim and if you decided to pursue a lawsuit against your employer we will fight for you to gain your rights back. Be aware that these California laws also prohibit your employers from retaliating against you. If you lost your job for enacting your rights under these laws they you may want to sue for wrongful termination.
Free Consultation and Zero Fee Guarantee
Depression can have many physical and mental effects on someone. We understand dealing with them can be difficult at times and that every case can be a little different. Our lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group want to help you if you have been fired or discriminated against because of your depression. Call us to schedule a free consultation in which we will listen to your particular story and give you the best legal advice for your situation. If you decide to sue your employer, then we will take on your case without asking for any upfront fees. Our zero fee guarantee means we do not charge anything unless your case is won. If you have already spoken with an attorney, you can still get in contact with us to schedule a free second opinion. It will cost you anything to get advice from our experienced depression discrimination lawyers. It’s time to show your employers your depression is not a reason to have your job taken away from you.