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Terminated from employment due to mental illness (Bipolar)

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by NeedAdvocacyMA, May 21, 2015.

  1. NeedAdvocacyMA

    NeedAdvocacyMA Law Topic Starter Guest

    Hello All, I Wish You The Best.

    I am currently unemployed after working for a Non-Profit, Government Agency with 7+ years of service under my belt. Two years with the department who terminated me for my illness because of "occupational needs".

    Back story: I had a late diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder in 2013. This caused erratic behavior and led to suspensions for missed workdays without phoning in. I would have had my union challenge these suspensions, but I was not capable in my state of mind. So I have them on my record. From there the disease progressed. I needed time off as I was Manic and Depressive for periods. I had a psychotic break in which I could not function as a normal human, eat, sleep, groom, etc for a month. I needed medication and treatment to stabilize. This was not a fast process. It took months. I used sick, vacation, any time i had. Then I used an FMLA. I was out for 6 months. During this six months I was harassed by multiple emails, letters, and even a hand delivered termination from my commissioner. I was terminated 3 times in that period all being rescinded as I was ILL and under critical care.

    I then returned to work. I was doing well. I worked for 5 months until my doctor and I decided it would be best to enter a renowned mental facility to lower the amount of medication I was taking. This backfired on me. The facility pulled all my medication except my PTSD medication (I had this prior and the Office was aware). I returned to work a basket case, manic out of control! I had lost my mind. I returned to this world renowned inpatient facility and they stayed on the same route, saying I had terrible anxiety... I went to outpatient at this facility and they found that I did have bipolar. They started back on my medication for the illness. I was progressing. I needed a month more time to reestablish homeostasis and they denied my request "Terminating my employment because of absence and strain on other employees, department and clients (Veterans) in need. (PAST FACT: I worked in the same conditions while a coworker was out with heart conditions. Not a complaint here.) My department deals with those who have PTSD and other mental illness. We try to get them gainfully employed by employers who understand. Mine was not one of those because maybe I was not a veteran?

    This is Pure Disability discrimination correct?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your termination, according to your statement: "Terminating my employment because of absence and strain on other employees, department and clients (Veterans) in need" was because your absences placed a greater strain on your co-workers and left the clients in need.

    These days, employers rarely provide a reason for terminating someone, especially if its performance related.
    Truth is, employers aren't required to say why an employee was terminated, anymore than employees are when they quite.

    I see no discrimination in your termination.
    You are free to discuss the matter with your union, or a labor lawyer.
     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Important question:

    In the 12 months immediately preceding your termination, EXACTLY how much time had you missed for this condition?
     
  4. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Under the ADA, you having a disability doesn't mean you can have job performance/standards that doesn't meet the employer's standards/expectations. You have to meet the same standards as non-disabled employees are required to meet in the same job. However, a reasonable accommodation may be required to assist an employee in meeting a specific standard which you have to ask for under the ADA. "Sometimes" (depending on the situation) some additional time off work can be a reasonable accommodation but generally only up to a certain limit. You had missed a lot of work already.

    However, it's possible you "might" have qualified for some additional job protected leave but we will need the answer to cbg's question.

    Thanks.
     

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