If I’m bipolar and also suffer from depression and anxiety, can I be legally fired for having these mental health issues?

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If I’m bipolar and also suffer from depression and anxiety, can I be legally fired for having these mental health issues?

Even when the company knew that I had these issues when I was hired? And is it legal to be fired for also mentioning I would contemplate suicide?

Asked on October 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can't be terminated for being bipolor or depressed, or having an anxiety disorder however, you may be terminated if those issues impair your work performance, since the employer is not required to retain an employee who is unproductive, has unexcused absences, makes mistakes, etc. So if your conditions affected your work, you could be terminated for performance issues, even if those issue derive from your conditions.
If you stated at work or to a supervisor that you were contemplating suicide, they could also likely legally fire you for that reason a suicide threat exposes the employer to potential liability and disruption of business if you carry through on your threat at work it could even expose co-workers to either physical threat if you do something drastic at work or at least to emotional harm. Making the suicide threat means you exposed the company to financial and other risks they are not obligated to bear, and so terminating you to protect themselves is likely justified.


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