Posted by Packrat Pete on November 29, 1999, at 7:08:32
In reply to It's not so simple ..., posted by Bob on November 28, 1999, at 17:37:01
...to go the EEOC/ADA route, but to reiterate, in my state (Massachusetts), there is a Commission Against Discrimination that will accept complaints of discrimination against handicapped (i.e., mentally ill) individuals and investigate those complaints; the complaint is automatically filed with the EEOC. There's no guarantees here...I went this route several years ago, only to have the case thrown out after three years because of insufficient evidence (the Commission Against Discrimination misplaced important paperwork). Still, filing a complaint is better than just sitting on your hands doing nothing. Sadly, the situation keeps repeating itself, as I'm sure it foes for many of us...I'm now on medical leave from work (a different job this time) and contemplating yet another complaint because of the company's insistence on addressing what is essentially a medical condition with administrative approaches--using written warnings and letters of reprimand when symptoms arise. ironically, I'm a mental health professional working in the field; apparently, we aren't supposed to become mentally ill because we know so much about the various conditions. Thus the advantage of self-identifying as a handicapped person under the ADA at an appropriate time; typically, when the sympotms of a disorder have somehow interfered with your work--for me, it was when I was issued a written warning for falling alseep on the job because of side effects from the medication that I'm on. Doing so paved the way for an application for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. I'm now using sick time in an attempt to get my symptoms under control so that I can return to work. Is it tough? You bet! The last time I went through this, I was fired from a $35,000 a year job, and the company was extremely nasty in doing so. Will it get tougher? You bet! I'm now in essentially the same position, but at least I have documentation of treatment, etc. Will justice be served? Unfortunately, probably not. That's why we'd all like to hear from you, Bob, of the alternatives that you spoke of to the ADA/EEOC route. Maybe it will take a major financial award to a mentally ill individual to wake up corporate America to the fact that mental illness is a daily reality to many of this country's workers, who strive to do a good job under difficult personal conditions. Thanks for listening...