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Taking FMLA leave for mental illness

| Jun 3, 2020 | FMLA |

Many people in Washington, D.C. and across the country live with mental illness. For some, their conditions can make certain aspects of their lives more difficult but not unmanageable, and others may have conditions that require assistance and care daily. For those who are able to work, their conditions could still flare up at certain times and result in their needing time off. If extended time off is needed, applying for FMLA leave may be necessary.

Applying for leave under the FMLA can certainly be nerve-wracking. Though it is a federal protection for workers, many people may worry that their employers will not grant them leave or that they will face negative consequences for taking leave. Some parties may even feel guilty for taking leave, but it is important to remember that qualifying individuals have a right to take time off under the FMLA if needed.

Some people may have concerns about telling their employers about their mental illness because they are afraid of being treated differently. If a person needs FMLA leave, disclosing the condition will be necessary as paperwork must be filed to request leave. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act also offers protections to workers. Accordingly, if an employee needs to take time off for issues relating to a mental illness, an employer should not take that illness into consideration for work-related duties in the future.

Though workers in Washington, D.C. have the right to take FMLA leave if they qualify, some could face denials, delays or even retaliation for taking leave. If this happens, it is important that workers understand their rights. It may be necessary to contact employment law attorneys who can go over the details of such incidents and provide information on available legal options.