Americans with Disabilities Act

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. It protects people with disabilities within the employment arena. Most people consider disabilities as something physical, something you can see. But when you read the act, mental disabilities are included. This includes Depression and Anxiety. You can look the act up on the internet, but it basically reads:

“To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

When you inquiry about accommodations from your employer, (1) the company need to employ more than 15 employees, (2) a form needs to be filled out by you, your doctor and the employer (Your employer may need to make up a form, if they do not already have one), (3) you will need have your doctor or therapist explain your condition, your limitations and determine what accommodations you’ll need.

I am writing this because I am covered by the ADA and have been for a couple of years. For the most part I haven’t invoked my rights under it until this past week (first time in 2 years). For months I have been expected to do 2 jobs at work, because my position is new and my supervisors don’t know how responsibilities need to be distributed. I got so stressed, I was almost in tears. I am the type of person who, no matter what, get my job done and done well. When I am not allowed to do that, the “Stress-o-meter” goes sky-high. I didn’t want to just leave everyone high and dry, so I asked if I could go work in a more quiet area so I could concentrate and de-stress. I should have done that for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to have any resentment from my coworkers…or supervisor. I know I should take care of me first, but that also isn’t like me. I have always come last.

I am now on a mission. First I need to lower my stress level by getting my responsibilities defined. Then I need to listen to myself. I can’ keep pushing and pushing without taking a breath.

For you, do not feel so self-conscious that you hurt yourself. If you need accommodations, take them!! Depression or Anxiety does not mean you are less than anyone. It just means you may need you need to work differently. Not a big deal.

Just remember to Fight the Darkness.

Some sites to peruse:

olmsteadrights.org

disabilityjustice.org

adata.org

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