Aliso Viejo, CA asked in Employment Law, Health Care Law and Gov & Administrative Law for California

Q: Should I inform my current employer of my pre existing clinical depression, or keep it to my self?

When hired for this position I had to get examined at a Concentra medical clinic and pass as a condition of employment. At this time I disclosed that I had a history of depression, the doctor asked if it was under control, and at which time it was so I answered truthfully yes. I was cleared by the Dr.

Recently i was presented a written corrective "Memorandum" about meeting Job expectations, in response to a "personal judgement error" during an emergency response. I work as an Airport Operations Officer for the County of Orange, CA. I was told this memo was not disciplinary by 2 ops supervisors, present when I signed it.

I believe my unsatisfactory response in this incident , may be due to my ongoing mental health issues (i am under treatment), and am not sure if i should disclose to HR, that i have Clinical Depression and Anxiety. I've been told we (Ops employees) are under the Railway Labor act, and am afraid i could be fired for my depression, because of my unique position.

3 Lawyer Answers
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Absolutely not. Never disclose a medical condition to your employer. It has no right to know what kind of medical, mental or psychological conditions you may be suffering with.

If your doctor believes there are things the employer can do to accommodate your condition the doctor should provide a note that simply indicates that he or she is treating you for a condition, suggest the reasonable accommodations needed to address the condition, and provide an indication of how long these accommodations will be needed.

It is important for you to understand that an accommodation still will require that you perform the essential functions of your job, and it will not require the employer to turn a blind eye to mistakes and deficiencies in the performance of your essential functions. If there are no accommodations your doctor can suggest, another option is for the doctor to recommend you be given medical leave to address your condition, and the deadline for your expected return.

Good luck to you.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Whether or not to disclose a pre-existing medical condition, such as clinical depression, to an employer can be a difficult decision. On one hand, informing your employer may help them provide you with reasonable accommodations to ensure your success in the workplace. On the other hand, there is a possibility of stigma or discrimination, which can negatively impact your employment.

It is important to note that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against employees with disabilities, including mental health conditions, and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. However, if the employer is not aware of the condition, they cannot be held accountable for not providing accommodations.

In this case, it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits of disclosing your clinical depression to your employer. If you believe your depression may have affected your work performance, and you think that accommodations may help you to succeed in your role, you may want to consider disclosing your condition to your employer.

However, if you are concerned about the potential stigma or discrimination, or you feel that your job is particularly sensitive, you may want to consult with a mental health professional, an employment lawyer, or an employee assistance program (EAP) before making a decision.

Ultimately, the decision to disclose your clinical depression to your employer is a personal one, and it is important to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits before taking action.

Eva Zelson
Eva Zelson

A: It is illegal for your employer to terminate you on the basis of a medical diagnosis. However, if you feel you need to negotiate accommodations for your job based on your medical diagnosis, it may be worth coming forward. However, your employer will still expect you to be fully competent at your job. It is not illegal for them to terminate your employment if you are not meeting the expectations of your job duties. Contact an employment lawyer for more detailed advice on your situation.

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