If a California employee identifies as having bipolar disorder, should you request a doctor’s note? What rights does he or she have under the ADA, FEHA, and other laws? What qualifies as reasonable accommodation? What about CFRA leave? Similarly, how should you respond when employees disclose other mental health conditions, such as depression?
Bipolar disorder affects 1 in 20 Americans, but because there’s a stigma attached to it, employees who have it seldom reveal it. It's considered a disability under the ADA and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), so you have to be prepared.
Bipolar disorder can appear as mood swings ranging from manic stages to depression and can affect an employee’s performance. Workers with bipolar disorder may seem to be the most talented and productive, then quickly become the least so. The same worker may exhibit sluggishness and have difficulty concentrating or remembering things. This inconsistency presents accommodation and management challenges for HR.
As with other disabilities, leaves of absence may be requested as an accommodation, so you must understand your legal responsibilities under both FMLA and the CFRA.
Join us when our presenter, a skilled California employment attorney, will provide an in-depth view of the ins and outs of how best to deal with employees with bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental conditions, as well as what the state and federal legal bounds are around handling leave requests and associated accommodations.Learning Objectives:
About Your Presenter:
- When bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental conditions are considered disabilities under the ADA and FEHA
- How to keep employees’ medical information private
- What you can and can’t require from employees under the ADA and FEHA
- The key attributes of bipolar disorder and depression
- Tips on how best to accommodate employees with mental health conditions in the California workplace
- Whether you should treat a worker you suspect of having a mental condition as if they have it
- What kinds of time off or leaves of absence employees with bipolar disorder might be entitled to
- Whether reasonable accommodations can extend to changing supervisors
- Keeping accommodations reasonable—not eliminating essential functions
- How to handle infractions by employees who have bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental conditions
Jason Brown is in the San Francisco office of Fisher & Phillips LLP who focuses on litigation prevention and litigation defense, as well as generally advising management and human resources professionals on the legal issues in the California workplace. Brown’s practice includes drafting handbooks, overseeing severance agreements and employee separation, overseeing employment agreements and employee hiring, advising on new policies and legislation, representing companies in defending against employee compensation disputes from single plaintiff labor board filings to larger class action and representative suits. Brown provides counseling on preventing and defending against sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation lawsuits, advice and representation for administrative hearings, EEOC investigations, and DLSE matters, and generally provides human resources counseling on a general or project basis.