Accommodations On The Job: Yes Or No?

A woman on Twitter tweeted that she regrets that people diagnosed with mental illnesses are told not to disclose to their employer and not to seek reasonable accommodations.

I, for one, see things differently. I obtained the job I liked and would be good at precisely so that the illness would not be an issue on the job.

A therapist boldly told me once: “Everyone knows anyway. Who are you kidding?” A dessert plate with a fortune cookie design that I own has this fortune: You Think It’s A Secret But It’s Not.

Thus it’s possible people will know you have something going on even if you don’t tell them.

I get it. I understand that individuals who have a harder time of it with their mental illness would like to have the equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace alongside others who do not have a diagnosis.

This is where you have the right to request a reasonable accommodation. Yet I still think that if you don’t need an accommodation it’s risky to disclose indiscriminately.

Yet another truth exists that makes asking for accommodations possible:

Normal people get to break the rules by extending their lunch hour to shop for cute shoes in a nearby store. The Brazen Careerist suggests talking longer breaks as a valid get-ahead strategy.

And other people enter therapy for non-mental illness reasons: like the ending of a marriage or a loved one’s illness. They have to leave work early or come in late for various kinds of doctor’s appointments. And people call in sick because the have to stay home to care for a sick kid who is home from school. Or they call in to say they have an emergency at home.

Really then: what’s the big deal about the reason for the accommodation requested when all things being equal everyone needs some kind of accommodation at some point?

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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