Is it legal for your bosses to tell each other jokes about your mental illness?

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Is it legal for your bosses to tell each other jokes about your mental illness?

In September 2016 I had to stay in an in-patient mental health institution because I had a breakdown due to all the stress I’m under in my work life and personal life. I have 3 bosses that I report to so I had my assistant call them and explain what was going on and to let them know I would be out for a week due to a mental breakdown. This week, on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, I had to go to the doctor for a severe sinus infection. I emailed all 3 of my bosses and told them that I had to go to the doctor and didn’t know if I would be back that day or not and that my assistant was there and in charge. I didn’t make it back to the office on Tuesday because I was feeling to bad to go back in. I was off work the following day. When I went into work today, Thursday, January 12, 2017 I had an email from one of my bosses. I opened it and read his reply to it. I believe it wasn’t meant to be sent to me because it said,

Asked on January 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The law makes it illegal to harass or discriminate against an employee due to disability, including mental illness. But it's not illegal to privately tell jokes or make comments about an employee  as long as they are not directed to the employee and he does not suffer any negative employment consequences. You intercepted accidentally a private communication, so it's not harassment of you; therefore if you do not suffer any negative consequences at work, there is no legal claim or cause of action. Keep the email, however, as evidence of their attitude in case you later do experience harassment or suffer any negative job consequences.


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