May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health is vital to overall health and well-being. It is necessary to recognize and address mental health concerns in the workplace, both for job seekers and employers. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines protections for individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace, including job seekers.

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For job seekers, it is crucial to understand that the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with mental health conditions in the hiring process. Employers cannot ask about an individual’s mental health history or require a medical examination until they offer a job. Job seekers with mental health conditions have the right to privacy and to be evaluated based on their qualifications and ability to perform job duties with or without reasonable accommodations.

Job seekers with mental health conditions also have the right to request reasonable accommodations during the hiring process. For example, individuals may ask to interview on the phone or computer to accommodate anxiety. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations unless it would create an undue hardship.

For hiring managers, it is necessary to recognize that mental health conditions are disabilities under the ADA, and individuals with mental health conditions have the same rights and protections as individuals with physical disabilities. Companies must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with mental health conditions to enable them to perform their job duties and ensure that the workplace is free from discrimination and harassment based on mental health conditions.

It is imperative that employers and employees in workplace settings acknowledge and accommodate the mental health challenges of coworkers and customers. This commitment to accessibility can appear in many ways. Workplaces can provide mental health resources. Leaders can provide a compassionate and confidential line of communication with employees who may be struggling, provide customers alternative meeting times or spaces to account for their individualized needs, and train staff members to be sensitive to mental health symptoms and simple modifications to accommodate coworkers and customers as needed.

In conclusion, the ADA provides necessary protections for individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace, both for job seekers and employers. Job seekers have the right to privacy and to request reasonable accommodations during the hiring process. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations and create a workplace culture that supports and values mental health and well-being. Let us work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace for all.

Kim Blanchard is a Disability Navigator on the Regional Team for Workforce Solutions. She assists those with disabilities in the job search process to ensure customers are provided with all appropriate opportunities to begin or improve their careers. She has a Master of Science in Applied Psychology and enjoys sharing her knowledge and time in service to individuals who face challenges due to differing abilities.

Soha Mohammed is a Disability Navigator for Workforce Solutions. As a native Houstonian and graduate from University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, she is passionate about health and wellness, specifically workplace wellness, and strives to achieve her fitness goals daily and share her knowledge with others.

Author: Blogforce

Workforce Solutions provides comprehensive human resource services for businesses and residents of the 13-county Houston-Galveston Gulf Coast region. Workforce Solutions helps employers solve workforce-related business problems and area residents build careers, so that both can better compete in the changing worldwide economy. Our Employer Service Division provides personalized service to help employers find qualified applicants for their jobs, build the skills and expertise of their new and current employees, and address human resource needs. We operate multiple community-based career offices in 13 Texas Gulf Coast counties to help residents get a job, keep a job or get a better job – offering placement, career counseling and financial aid services. We partner with the region’s businesses, educational institutions, civic organizations and community leaders to find solutions to current and future labor needs of industries that are vital to the region and its economy.

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