Searching for a new job is stressful, even when unemployment is low, and you may find a new position quickly. One thing you may be concerned about is how a potential employer will react if a company knows you have a mental health condition, such as depression, PTSD or bipolar disorder. Will that stop you from being hired?
Mental health and legal protection
First, mental health conditions are protected under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). That means no employer can discriminate against hiring you simply because you have a mental health condition. If you can perform the job, with reasonable accommodations, you are protected against facing any harassment, job loss or not being hired or promoted.
Employers also are not allowed to judge whether you can perform your job based on any myths or stereotypes about your mental health condition.
If you ask for a reasonable accommodation to perform your job, you should get that. A reasonable accommodation is a change in the way you work. For mental health conditions, this could include an altered work schedule, break schedule or the ability to work from home.
Another reasonable accommodation includes changing how you interact with your supervisor. Some employees with anxiety, depression or PTSD may request that their supervisor only provides written feedback of their work. This could make it easier for them to perform their duties.
When to disclose a mental health condition
You don’t have to disclose your condition before you are hired. If you feel you will need a reasonable accommodation, you can ask for that once an offer has been made.
If you do reveal your mental health condition to your employer, you have a right for that information to remain private. Only the human resources department and your supervisor know about it.
If you feel an employer has discriminated against you by firing you, rescinding a hiring offer or not promoting you because of a mental health condition, you need to consult an employment law attorney. An attorney can help you seek discrimination compensation.