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What You Should Know About Disclosing Your Bipolar Disorder At Work

by Marie Caldwell

When it comes to managing bipolar disorder and taking care of your mental health, there are many different factors and issues to consider. One of those issues is how you will go about managing your bipolar disorder at work. If you are considering disclosing your bipolar disorder at work, get to know some important facts to be aware of and what you should expect in doing so. Then, you can be sure you are putting your mental health first, at work and in general. 

You Are Not Required to Disclose Your Disability

Bipolar disorder is a condition that is considered a disability. When you apply for a job, one of the questions that you are asked is if you have a disability for which you may or may not need accommodations. Even if you have a qualifying condition like bipolar disorder, you are not required to answer yes to this question. 

If you are diagnosed after you have a job, you are not required by law to tell your employer about your health condition. Bipolar disorder, like any other disability, is a deeply personal condition, and it is up to your discretion to disclose or not disclose. 

If You Need Accommodations, Talk to Human Resources

If you do decide to disclose your bipolar disorder to your employer, the correct place to go to report it is the human resources department. They are in charge of setting up and providing any necessary accommodations for you.

For example, if you need some flexibility in the absence policy so you can go to therapy and psychiatry appointments, they would be the ones to ensure that this is provided to you. If you need more frequent breaks during the day to avoid overwhelm, this would be another area where human resources would step in and work this out with your supervisor. 

Technically, you do not have to disclose your bipolar disorder to anyone else aside from human resources. They can set up accommodations for you without directly telling your supervisor or anyone else what your disability is. That way, you can keep your privacy unless you want more people to know. 

You Have Options If Your Feel Discriminated Against

When you disclose your bipolar disorder, particularly if you disclose to your direct supervisor as well as to human resources, there is a slight possibility that you will be treated differently because of this condition. There have been employers that wrongfully mistreated employees or even fired them because of their disability. 

While this is rare, if it does happen to you, it is important that you try to document everything that happens at work that feels discriminatory. Keeping records will help you if you need to build a case. Consult with a disability discrimination attorney as well. They can help you to build a case, particularly if you have been terminated from your position unfairly.

Now that you know more about disclosing your bipolar disorder at work, you can be sure you go about it in the right way and you can know how to protect yourself in case something goes wrong. 

For more information, contact a disability discrimination attorney.