Being Fired Because of Your Depression

Being Fired Because of Your Depression

The fact is, unfortunately it happens, and happens a lot. People are being dismissed because of their depression.

This is somewhat of a vicious circle.

While we are a part of a workforce and feeling like we are developing depression or anxiety, we do all we can to hide this fact instead of trying to get some help through all the proper channels. People either ignore their mental health problems or try to self-medicate, which is equally bad.

Then comes the nervous breakdown or a suicide attempt, and poof. Next thing you know you’ve lost your job, and your last paycheck is in the post.

I’ve heard plenty of stories like that. This is all connected to how our society regards depression – as some sort of infectious disease, some sort of mental leprosy (fact is, actually leprosy is very difficult to catch), something to be ashamed of.

So the usual scenario of what happens when your employer finds out about your mental health problems is that you’re either being left without support and promotion and then quietly pushed out, or you are being dismissed on some sort of inappropriate work conduct grounds.

With the current high unemployment rates situation is somewhat changes as people are desperate enough to feel like cornered rats and to fight back.

I’ve seen few cases of lawsuit where people were dismissed because they tried to commit suicide or admitted that they were depressed.

One of them was for a person working in the bank who attempted to commit suicide because of his mood disorder. The bank dismissed him, and here is interesting tidbit why, they regarded him as disabled (this is what the court said), where his mental problem wasn’t an actual disability. But because in the eyes of society he was disabled, he is suing them for dismissing him on disability grounds.

The other case is more straightforward. The man in Ohio nearly committed suicide, but managed to persuade himself to ask his colleagues for help and was driven to the emergency room. While there his wife received a call saying that her husband was fired. Now they are suing the employer, trying to receive compensation. What strikes me as ironic is that he was working for a non-profit organization which is supposed to help people!

Truth be told, not all the employers are like that. Some will give you time off work to get help and start a course of antidepressants, but most do not understand the nature of depression.

This is why we need better laws and better publicity for this kind of very common mental health problem.