can I be discriminated against because I have schizophrenia

I have been passed over for a lead position for a person who has no experience and got the lead position on her date of hire. I have years of experience a proven track record of hard work dependability and quick learning. I am an admitted schizophrenic and believe that factor is being used to hold me back

Asked on October 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot be discriminated against in employment because you *have* schizophrenia: the law if very clear that an employer may not discriminate (which includes passing over for promotions or other opportunities) an employee because he or she has a disability, which includes  a mental condition.
If you ever "acted out" at work due to your condition in a way that may have disrupted work, threatened or created a risk of injury to yourself or others, caused you to not be productive, and/or have alarmed customers or prospective customers, that would be different: in that case, you engaged in conduct antitheical to your employer's legitimate interests, and they may take action on that basis. Not discriminating because an employee has a condition is not the same thing as not taking acdtion because an employee is a poor-performer or has caused problems; employers may act in their own best interests.
If you believe you have not caused problems at work or for your employer, but that you are suffering for simply *having* schizophrenia, then you be the victim of illegal disability-based employment discrimination. If you think that is the case,   contact the federal EEOC about possibly filing a discrimination complaint.

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