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Do you have to accommodate an employee’s anxiety disorder?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2022 | Disability Discrimination |

There’s a lot of stress going around these days, and many of your employees may be quietly struggling with some form of anxiety disorder.

What happens, then, when your company begins to limit remote work again, moves everybody back into the office and an employee says, “I can’t do that. My anxiety disorder is just too severe.”

Do you have to accommodate them? You might.

The question is whether the accommodations they want are reasonable

As far as the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws, mental health disorders are treated just as seriously as physical disorders. An employee with a crippling anxiety disorder is due no less consideration than an employee who needs a wheelchair. It’s important to remember that an invisible disability is still a disability.

The real question is whether or not the accommodations they want are possible, reasonable and avoid putting an undue burden on your business. Depending on the nature of the employee’s anxiety disorder and their triggers, you may be required to:

  • Allow the employee to continue working remotely (assuming their job duties can be fulfilled that way).
  • Permit flexible scheduling, including varying start and stop times or a modified break plan that will allow the employee necessary “breathers.”
  • Allow the employee to bring a support person or a support animal with them to work.
  • Move the employee’s workstation to a spot with more privacy.

Obviously, each situation is unique, so it is wise to consider all your legal options carefully. The moment this becomes an issue for your company, make sure that you have some experienced guidance as you try to balance your company’s needs against those of your employees.