Do mental health issues get the same ‘reasonable acomidations’ that other health issues do in the work place?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do mental health issues get the same ‘reasonable acomidations’ that other health issues do in the work place?

I have been working for my employer for a few months now, helping them open their new business, handling office work, bills, PR, social media and a lot of public inquiries. Things were seemingly fine for a while but recently have tanked hard.

I have a few mental health issues and have been open and honest with them about it. Recently it seems they’re becoming very aggressive towards me and this triggers my PTSD.

Yesterday this happened, and my boss was forcing me to read my job description to him one line at a time, being very aggressive and demeaning, swearing at me, claiming they had been talking about me a lot and that it may not be working out. Mind you, they’re saying this because I haven’t gone into their office to take out trash because I do two 8 hour shifts worth of work in 7 hours everyday and I would rather focus on things that will make them money and keep their bills paid, than take out the trash, especially since we have plenty of staff to empty small trash cans. They won’t bring in someone for me to train for second shift, which leaves them in deep water if I quit since I am the only one here who knows how to do my job. I bust my butt, do a three person job by myself and I’m only making 8.00/hr. This is not even enough to cover my car and insurance payment, let alone that and my rent. At the end of the conversation he says that they’ll give me a raise, but not sure how much and then continued to be aggressive towards me. Telling me I couldn’t leave his office until I smiled because I needed to smile, all the while I was having a panic attack due to the anxiety caused by my PTSD.

I guess my main question is

Do mental health issues get the ‘reasonable accommodations’ that physical health issues do in the work place? Is there anything I can do about the way they have treated me other than to just quit?

Asked on February 14, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The way you have been focusing at work may be logical--but work doesn't have to be logical. If we understand your question correctly, you were not doing part of your job (taking out the trash) the way your employer wanted you to. If so, there is most likely nothing you can do about this:
1) PTSD does not impair you from doing functions like removing the trash;
2) Your employer, not you, gets to decide what your job is, what to focus on, what is a priority, etc.;
3) If you fail to do part of your job, your employer can critique you for it--even if you have a mental/emotional/psychological condition, since having such does not exempt you from being managed, even harshly, when you fail to do what is required.
4) Your employer is allowed to overwork and underpay you.
This does not appear to be a "reasonable accommodation" issue based on what you write.

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.

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