Can I Be Fired If I Have Bipolar Disorder?
If you have bipolar disorder and were fired or wrongfully disciplined from your occupation, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer for disability discrimination. Employers are not allowed to make decisions based solely on the disability of an employee. Discriminating against an employee with a protected disability is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as well as California employment law. Our lawyers can sue the employer or the company that discriminated against you and prove your case to get you the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
Our attorneys help people like you who have been wronged every single day and help answer questions about their unjust termination or other discipline. Examples of such questions include:
- Is depression a disability under the ADA?
- Can I be fired for having depression?
- I missed work because of depression. Can my boss legally fire me? Can I hire a lawyer to sue my employer?
- Do I have to disclose my depression to my boss?
What Laws Exist to Protect Employees With Bipolar Disorder?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law in order to prevent employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities. But it wasn’t until 2008 that an amendment was added to the ADA to include “invisible” conditions – illnesses that affect the psyche of a person like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, along with many other mental disorders.
You may be asking yourself what the ADA can do you for you? Because bipolar disorder can affect one or more of your major life tasks, you may be protected against discrimination from an employer. A major life task is all of the things that one does in order to sustain oneself. They include, but are not limited to “being able to perform manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.” If your bipolar disorder affects anyone of these facets of living a normal life, then you may qualify for discrimination protection under the ADA.
Discrimination occurs when an employer treats a disabled employee differently or with unfavorable actions. Things like assuming an employee needs assistance just because they have a disability (if they have not asked for reasonable accommodation), saying unwanted/inoffensive jokes about that person’s disability, and overlooking them for promotions/other advances just because of their disability. For example, if you have proven that you are more than capable of doing work and are the most qualified in your position, your employer cannot skip your consideration simply because of your disability. An employer may decide against a disabled employee if they believe that their disability – in this case, bipolar disorder – may hinder their ability to do the job. An employer is not allowed to make such assumptions and needs to consider you with the same weight as an unaffected employee.
Do I Have to Disclose My Bipolar Disorder to My Employer?
Maybe. If you are taking medication to keep it under control and you do not need reasonable accommodation to perform the essential job functions of your occupation, you may not need to tell your employer because it may never be an issue.
If you don’t take medications or are changing prescription/doses to your existing medication, you may not know how your psyche will react to such a change and may interfere with your ability to do your job. If you let your employer know about your bipolar disorder (and it is protected under the ADA), your employer must A) keep it confidential; and B) provide reasonable accommodation should you require it. If you need extra time during your lunch to take the proper medication and have it go into effect, your employer may legally be required to provide such accommodation.
How Do I File a Lawsuit If I Have Been Discriminated Against for Having Bipolar Disorder?
Before you can legally file a lawsuit against your employer for discriminating against you for having bipolar disorder, you must first file a discrimination charge with an employment government agency. There are two agencies available to you, the federal agency and the state agency. The federal agency is called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and enforces the ADA to ensure that employer treat all employees equally. Under the EEOC, you have 180 days to file to file the charge. The deadline can be extended if both state and federal laws protect the same kind of discrimination. Disability discrimination is unlawful in California under the Department of Fair Employment & Housing, and so the deadline is extended to 300 calendar days. Both of these agencies have a work-sharing agreement, which means that whichever agency you file with, a duplicate copy will be sent to the other agency. This dual filing serves to best protect your rights under both state and federal law. You will then have the option to request a “right-to-sue” letter which gives you the green light to file that discrimination lawsuit against your employer. Note that you only have 90 days to take action against your employer, so it is recommended that you only request this letter once you and our attorney are ready to go to court. If you would like to speak to a lawyer to sue your employer, please contact our law firm. Our Los Angeles attorneys are able to meet with you anywhere in California to help you get the justice that you deserve.
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The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to fight for you – for employees who have faced employment injustice. We are located in Los Angeles and you can come to our Los Angeles offices to get a free consultation. On the other hand, you can always call our law firm and an experienced attorney will be able to help you. In addition to the free consultation, we also provide a zero fee guarantee. This means that all of the financial risk is on us, not you! Give us a call today to find out if your rights have been infringed upon and what you can do next.
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