Do federal anti-discrimination laws protect against denial of a job promotion based on mental illness?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do federal anti-discrimination laws protect against denial of a job promotion based on mental illness?

I have recently resigned from a position in a corporation with a federal charter and union laws preventing employment discrimination. However, in my research I have not found whether or not it is lawful to be discriminated against when being considered for advancement opportunity. Their claim for denying me promotions was that, after having been diagnosed and treated for severe depression, I was deemed “unable to handle the stress of the position”. I had also stated in my resignation that this was the case.

Asked on August 1, 2011 Wyoming


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Federal law does prohibit discrimination, including in advance opportunities or promotions, against the disabled. Not all mental illness or psychiatric conditions would qualify as a disability, etc.--there are elments or permanence, significant effect on everyday life, accepted diagnosis, etc. which must be met for something to be a disability.

Also, all the law requires is that an employer make a "reasonable accomodation" to the disability. That is, if the person could do the job he or she wants with reasonable (not too expensive or disruptive) changes to duties or hours, or assistive devices (in the case of physical disabilities), then the company may have to let him or her do it. But if he or she couldn't do the job without an unfair level (to the company) of cost or change in responsibilities, the company doesn't need to give them the position.

So the short answer is, it MAY be discrimination, if your condition would constitute a disability and if you could do the job you wanted, even with some accomodation, as long as that accomodation is reasonable. You should consult with an employment attorney who can evalute all  the specifics of your situation with you, to advise as to any rights you may have. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption