What are my rights if I’m out due to a mental illness?

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What are my rights if I’m out due to a mental illness?

I’ve been dealing with a mental illness of depression and anxiety and recently started seeing doctors. I emailed my employer a follow-up on things I was working on and what my condition entails. I received an email and phone call back stating that my email was deemed inappropriate and volatile and now I’m given 5 days to

get a return to work form from my therapist or I’m terminated.

Asked on May 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you did send an inappropriate or volitile email, your employer can require evidence that you are fit to return to work; while an employer must make "reasonable accommodations for an employee with a disability (including mental illness) that does not extend to requiring them to have someone disruptive, hostile, or potentially even dangerous at work--that is more than a "reasonable" accommodation requires. So if you did send an inappropriate email, your employer may take actions based on that--including not letting you return if you can't that it would be safe to do so.
Also, if your company is not covered by FMLA (has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius) and/or you are not eligible for it (did not work there at least a year; did not work at least 1,250 hours in the last year), you are not entitled to time off for a mental illness: except as per FMLA, your employer does not need to let you miss work, even for health reasons. If you miss more work than you have sick and/or vacation days to cover without using FMLA leave, you will have unauthorized absences and could be terminated for that reason.


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