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New Guidance on Accommodating Mental Health

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a resource document to educate employees and applicants with mental health issues on their workplace protections. The document is entitled Depression, PTSD, and Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.

This resource document lays out the information through a series of questions and answers. Of particular interest may be section 2, which begins with the question “Am I allowed to keep my condition private?” From the EEOC’s perspective, employers may only ask questions about an employee’s mental health a) in response to the employee’s request for accommodation; b) after making a job offer but before the job begins provided everyone is asked the same questions; c) for the purposes of “engaging in affirmative action for people with disabilities”; and d) during the course of employment when “there is objective evidence” that the employee may be unable to perform their job or pose a safety risk.

The remainder of the document addresses accommodation, leave, and harassment issues. Examples of possible accommodations include: “altered break and work schedules (e.g., scheduling work around therapy appointments), quiet office space or devices that create a quiet work environment, changes in supervisory methods…, specific shift assignments, and permission to work from home.” The resource document may be found at: