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Is bipolar protected under the ADA?

I have bipolar and the last week or so its been affecting my work. I have informed my employer what has been happening but now I'm afraid I'm going to be fired. I have been being moved from one department to another which is causing me stress, I don't really know where anything in the store is yet and when a customer ask me where something is, I get freaked out and anxious because I don't know. I want them to stick me in only one or two departments for a while. Do they have to work with me because or can I be fired? Thank you for your answers as this is a big deal for me!


I meant do they have to work with me because of my bipolar or can I be fired? Sorry for not making sense.

3 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes.... bipolar is covered by ADA (the short version of the answer)

    Does your employer have 15 or more employees? If so, then they are held to ADA... if not, then they are not required to follow ADA... and bear in mind, that means 15 active employees for the majority of the weeks of the year

    reasonable accommodation is different from unreasonable accommodation

    to ask for an accommodation, it would be best to talk with HR (if there is a home office with an HR person) or the highest level of management at your location --- find out what you need to do & provide to request a reasonable accommodation

    for example, they might ask you for a letter from your doctor explaining how your disability is affecting your ability to work under certain conditions & that you need an accommodation

    if there are typically enough workers to have all departments covered at all times... then it probably is reasonable to ask for you to be limited to just a couple of departments

    now, the real problem is this....... the law has room to argue... meaning an employer can argue what is reasonable & unreasonable for them

    in many cases, the smaller the pool of employees at any given workplace will render something that could be reasonable in one environment to be unreasonable in another

    can you be fired.... unfortunately employers fire people all the time.... sometimes for no reason at all --- most of the states in the US are at-will employment states

    will you be eligible for unemployment.... you would want to argue that they did not work with a request for reasonable accommodation ----- but only if you have followed their proper procedure to ask for one

    could you sue..... possibly, but again, only if you went through the proper channels in an attempt to get a reasonable accommodation

    Yes.. I know the law is written differently than this..... the law is written where an expression of need constitutes a request for accommodation; however, I have seen that defense/offense fail.... because employers are given the room to twist that into someone not using proper channels

    If you end up fired over this & then file to DOJ (Department of Justice).... I hate to tell you that they are in no hurry to look these problems.... and they usually side with the employer, even when the employee has done everything right ----- the only way you would "win" would be to get an excellent Civil Rights attorney... and that typically costs too much money up-front for most people to even try

    what do I suggest you do

    1) talk with your doctor... let them know you need a letter that verifies your disability & the need for accommodation... describe to the doctor what you have in mind (working a limit of 2 departments) & why this is needed (how changing departments is affecting you)

    2) talk with HR or highest level of management... find out what is the process for requesting a reasonable accommodation

    EDIT TO ADD: one of your answers says you can't be fired..... the truth is employer fire people in violation of ADA all the time... even if, in theory, they "can't".... the end result is still the same... you are left without your job.... and then attempt to get unemployment & possibly try to file a complaint and/or to sue ----- doesn't change the effect that you are without an income & without a job the moment they fire ---- so they CAN.. even though it technically would not be legal & even though they SHOULD NOT

    again, if you do end up fired over this..... then I would HIGHLY recommend you file for unemployment (if you qualify.. for example having worked long enough to get get unemployment)... and I would also HIGHLY recommend that you indicate that the firing seems to be a direct result of your asking for an accommodation.... expect the employer to fight & say the problem is your performance, etc... so make sure you are 100% doing the right things at work

    I gave that answer a thumbs-up anyway... but a dose of truth and clarity is needed

    there is a very valid point in that post... just because you would prefer to work only 1-2 departments & that is the accommodation that you would prefer... doesn't mean that is the accommodation that you will get --- as stated, they could counter offer with more training time for the other departments with the end result being that you are trained in as many departments as they want you to be trained in

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  • 8 years ago

    i guess all i can answer is yes because you have the full answer given to you above. It is covered by the ADA and if you cannot work due to it and it does change your life style then is disability a way to go. The above answer is the answer which i would have given to you

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  • Syrup
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    Talk to your therapist and have him write a doctor note to your boss, Being bipolar, depressed, ocd, or having anxiety won't stop your boss from firing you if you're not doing your job good enough. you should be seeing a doctor for medications and therapy to get it under control

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