If you struggle with understanding whether you must accommodate an employee with a mental disorder, you're not alone. The Americans with Disabilities Act can become a tricky labyrinth to navigate, and now the maze has gotten even more complicated.
In the past, California employers have had to walk the compliance tightrope to ensure that their accommodations practices align with the ADA and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which in many ways is more pro-employee than the federal law. Now, you've got another compliance beast to contend with since the American Psychiatric Association has published its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
This, the fifth edition of DSM-5, includes several diagnostic categories not present in past editions. The practical translation: More employees may now qualify for protection under the ADA/FEHA than ever before, and that means you must be at the ready to address issues of reasonable accommodation, or in some cases extended leaves of absence.
Also, the announcement of the new DSM-5 manual comes on the heels of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidance on mental health professionals' role in helping an employer with the reasonable accommodation process. This is important because in general, the nature of mental disabilities can be more subjective than physical disabilities; thus, this guidance may prove useful in getting mental health providers to play a bigger role in providing statements of functional capacity and work restrictions that are essential to help employers identify appropriate accommodations for employees disabled due to mental health conditions, such as depression.
In addition, the application of the new DSM-5 standards in conjunction with the FEHA disability regulations, which went into effect in December 2012, can get tricky. For instance, would an employee plagued by social awkwardness or extreme shyness be entitled to accommodation? It's clear that now is the time for California employers to get up to legal speed on compliance obligations under the ADA/FEHA concerning employees with mental disorders.
Participate in this interactive webinar for California employers, and you'll learn:
- How DSM-5 defines many new diagnoses and symptoms, such as binge eating disorder, mild neurocognitive disorder, pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, and depression stemming from bereavement
- How the DSM-5 definition of social (pragmatic) communication disorder interplays with FEHA disability regulations that went into effect in 2012
- What the new manual means for existing disorders, including major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders, such as anti-social and borderline personality
- How DSM-5 may impact requests for extended bereavement leave, because the "bereavement exclusion" has been removed from the definition of major depressive disorder
- How changes to the way post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed could increase both California workers' comp claims and the number of individuals who request accommodations
- The practical challenges HR professionals in California face with the introduction of the new DSM-5 diagnostic categories and symptoms
- Strategies for reducing the risk of being sued under FEHA or the ADA for failing to accommodate or for discriminating against an employee with a mental disorder in the terms and conditions of employment
- And much more!
In just 90 minutes, you'll learn how DSM-5 affects your obligations to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with mental disorders under the ADA/FEHA.
Plus, as a bonus for attending, you'll get a handy checklist on addressing accommodations for mental disabilities, including key definitions.
About your presenter:
Attorney Patricia Eyres is the managing partner of Eyres Law Group, LLP, a specialized law practice focusing exclusively on helping employers in the areas of labor, employment, and education law. Her clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, school districts, and public agencies. In addition to guiding employers through the maze of risks associated with workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, she is an expert on return-to-work, reasonable accommodation, and leave of absence compliance.
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