Disability Based on Personality Disorders and Anxiety in New Jersey
New Jersey Lawyers Advocating for the Rights of Employees
Disabled people have the right to obtain and keep employment without facing harassment or discrimination in New Jersey. Many people do not realize how disabling bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and anxiety are. Among other things, they can cause unusual shifts in the ability to handle daily tasks and treat other people appropriately. However, they can be treated with therapy, medication, or both, such that employees can be productive in the workplace. If you face disability discrimination based on personality disorders, anxiety, or another mental condition, you should consult the experienced New Jersey disability discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates.
Disability Based on Personality Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, or Anxiety
In New Jersey, "disability" is defined broadly. It includes any psychological, mental, or developmental disability arising from conditions that prevent the normal use of mental or bodily functions, or that can be shown to exist through accepted clinical or lab diagnostic tests. Generally, personality disorders, bipolar disorder (any other mood disorders), and anxiety are disabilities that can affect an employee's ability to function in the workplace. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination also prohibits discrimination based on any disability that somebody believes that you currently have, any disability that you had in the past or that you are believed to have had in the past, and any disability that you might develop in the future.
If you are qualified for a job and can do all of the things that a job requires, you should not be excluded or considered less qualified than another job candidate simply because you have a disabling personality, mood, or anxiety disorder.
However, in some cases, these types of disorders can make it more challenging for a person to do a job that requires strict adherence to schedules or certain types of social interactions. It may be the case that you can do a job if you are provided with reasonable accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations are any alterations or changes to the workplace, your work schedule, and how things are done in the workplace that would allow a qualified but disabled person to do the job. For example, if you have bipolar disorder, you may need more frequent rest breaks and a more flexible schedule than your coworkers in the same position do. Or, if you have an anxiety disorder, you may need to take longer breaks than similar workers and make up the time by staying later because you need to manage your anxiety through cognitive behavioral techniques, or to take medication. Some people with personality disorders may need to work from home because they cannot manage their interactions with other people in the workplace sufficiently.
Employers are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations that you may need to apply for a job, do an interview, take tests required for a job, or do the job, unless providing the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship. However, there are times when an employer has a valid basis to conclude that your disability stops you from performing essential job duties or presents the probability of serious harm. For example, if your personality disorder results in sadistic behavior toward other employees, and interacting in a collaborative fashion with a coworker is an essential job duty, your employer may not be required to hire you or retain you.
However, before it makes this determination, an employer is supposed to engage in a good-faith interactive process to figure out whether you could do the job with reasonable workplace accommodations. As part of this process, the employer may ask you some questions about your disability to figure out if there is a way to accommodate it. The accommodation that your employer offers may not be the same as the precise accommodation that you requested.
Consult a Disability Discrimination Attorney in New Jersey
Although a disability based on personality disorders, bipolar disorder, or anxiety can be seriously stigmatized, many people with these types of disabilities lead productive lives and do a good job for their employers. If you were subjected to a hostile work environment or another mistreatment, the attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to offer aggressive, experienced representation. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent workers in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties. Our attorneys do not charge upfront fees because we work on a contingency fee basis.
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