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Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Employment Law / Manager with Depression Fired Because Employer Was Afraid “He Might Hurt Other People”

Manager with Depression Fired Because Employer Was Afraid “He Might Hurt Other People”


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently settled a lawsuit with a hotel management group over the firing of an employee with depression. According to the lawsuit, the employee requested a couple of days off from work to seek treatment for depression. When he returned from the hospital, his employer allegedly fired him on the grounds that they were afraid “he might hurt other people.” The EEOC was able to secure a settlement on behalf of the employee for $100,000 to be paid by his employer for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is no good reason to believe that an employee suffering from depression would cause harm to another person. Such conduct violates the ADA, common sense, and federal law.

When most people think about disability discrimination, they imagine people with physical ailments. However, psychiatric conditions are also covered under the ADA. An employee can never be fired for seeking treatment related to a mental health condition. This is a clear violation of federal law and the ADA.

The EEOC contended that the employee’s supervisors failed to accurately judge the situation and instead relied on myths and stereotypes leveled against people with mental illness. The employer did not conduct an accurate assessment of whether or not the employee could perform his job duties.

Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act 

According to an attorney for the EEOC, before an employer can fire an employee based on their disability—which includes mental health disabilities—the employer must have objective evidence that the employee would be unable to perform the duties related to their job or would create a significant safety risk even with a reasonable accommodation. Employers may not rely on myths or stereotypes to make decisions regarding an employee’s fitness to do their job. There was no good reason to believe that the employee was a threat to any of his coworkers or customers.

Employees with mental health disorders often face discrimination in the workplace due to stigma concerning psychiatric disease, its causes, and its treatments. Disability discrimination is illegal regardless of whether or not it’s based on a physical or mental illness. While issues related to stigma are improving across the country, sometimes, employers still violate federal laws related to disability discrimination. When they do, they can be sued by the employee who was discriminated against.

The defense 

According to the employer, the employee did not report to work for several days in a row before relating that he was seeking treatment for depression. They contend that he told them he did not report to work because he feared he might hurt someone. However, they agreed to settle the case for $100,000 without admitting fault.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Disability Discrimination Attorney Today 

If you have been discriminated against in the workplace due to a mental health condition, the Tampa employment lawyers at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC can help you file a disability discrimination lawsuit against your employer. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin investigating your case right away.



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