Accommodating Anxiety, Workplace Stress and PTSD Under the ADA
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Learn how to properly respond to accommodation requests for anxiety, workplace stress, and PTSD under the ADA.Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 or older or 18.1% of the population every year (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Nearly 8% of Americans will experience PTSD in their lives and about 30% of men and women spending time in war zones experience PTSD (Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs). Additionally, some 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 (Health and Safety Executive) and 50% of employees in one survey said that stress and anxiety impacts the quality of their work (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Given such data, it is not a surprise that employers large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit are now frequently confronted with issues, accommodation requests and claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to workplace stress, anxiety disorders, PTSD and related conditions. Grappling with such issues can be difficult and costly. Employers must be able to assess whether applicants and employees with such conditions are qualified to perform the essential functions of a position. They need to know how properly to respond to requests for reasonable accommodations, when and what medical information may be requested, and when a direct threat or other safety risk may be presented. These issues and more will be addressed in this material.
Kathleen M. Williams, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
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