Should I disclose my major depression diagnosis to my employer?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Should I disclose my major depression diagnosis to my employer?

I was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety. I did not list it on my ADA

form when hired. Should I disclose it now to protect myself and the company?

Asked on May 5, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you don't formally disclose it, then if they take action against you which *may* be due, at least in part, to the depression, you will be unable to get the protection of the ADA and other anti-disability (depression is a disability for this purpose) laws; you also cannot request a "reasonable accommodation" (some reasonable change in rules, procedures, etc. to let you better do your job despite depression). This is because the employer has no obligations regarding a condition or disability of which it is unaware.
So disclosure gives you certain legal rights. On the other hand, if you have managed your depression well so that they employer is not aware of it, if you disclose it now, that may change how managers, etc. view you and interact with you. Therefore, there is no simple or easy answer to the question: you  have to balance your possible need for legal protection vs. any impact on your relationship to your job and how you are viewed at it.

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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