Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans struggle with mental health conditions, including depression. And these illnesses can make it extraordinarily difficult to do routine things like go to work. It can be particularly challenging to do these things after a mental health or suicidal crisis.
If you are recovering from this type of event, going to work can feel frightening and possibly embarrassing if your boss knows what you have been through. There are some things you should know if you are in this situation.
You have rights
State and federal laws protect workers with mental health disabilities and conditions. They prevent employers from firing or retaliating against a worker because of their mental health status. Employers cannot discriminate against a person based on their mental health or punishing someone for requesting time off to address their mental health.
Further, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations to help you at work.
It can also be crucial to know that if your boss does learn about a mental health issue or crisis, they should not share any medical information with anyone else.
There are resources that can help
One of the most essential things to secure after a mental health crisis is support. Resources like support groups, counselors and mental health programs can help you manage your condition and feelings in the wake of a traumatic event.
Engaging in activities you enjoy, making a safety plan and talking to loved ones can also be vital.
Further, depending on your relationship with your boss, you may be able to work out a plan that helps you gradually return to your previous duties.
Not everyone will do the right thing
Unfortunately, not every boss, colleague or customer does the right thing when someone returns to work after a difficult, painful experience. However, when these failures to do the right thing cost you your job, create a hostile work environment or cause you harm, you have the option of taking legal action.
Talking to an experienced employment law attorney, like those at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, can help you understand your rights and whether they have been violated by your employer. Addressing your mental health and recovering from a crisis is already a challenge; your job should not make things worse.