Is Anxiety a Disability in the Workplace?

Anxiety is often misunderstood and underestimated in the workplace. While some may not perceive it as a disability in the traditional sense, its impact on individuals can be profound and far-reaching.

The struggles associated with anxiety can affect various aspects of an individual’s professional life, from productivity and performance to relationships with colleagues and superiors. Recognizing and addressing anxiety as a potential disability in the workplace can foster a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees.

Anxiety can be considered a disability in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it substantially limits one or more major life activities. While anxiety disorders vary in severity and manifestation, individuals experiencing significant impairment due to anxiety may be protected under the ADA.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Anxiety in the Workplace?

Anxiety can manifest in many different ways, and its symptoms may differ from person to person. Some common symptoms of anxiety in the workplace include:

  • Excessive worry or apprehension about work-related tasks or situations.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, sweating, trembling, or rapid heartbeat.
  • Avoidance of work-related activities or social interactions.
  • Irritability or agitation.
  • Difficulty sleeping or fatigue.

Employers need to recognize these symptoms and provide support to employees experiencing anxiety in the workplace. Unfortunately, some employees do not speak up about their symptoms because they worry about job security.

How Can Employers Support Employees with Anxiety?

Employers can support employees with anxiety by implementing various strategies and accommodations, including:

  • Flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or adjusted work hours.
  • Providing a quiet or designated space for employees to take breaks or practice relaxation techniques.
  • Offering employee assistance programs (EAPs) or mental health resources.
  • Providing training and education for managers and colleagues on how to support individuals with anxiety.
  • Encouraging open communication and creating a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns.

By proactively addressing anxiety in the workplace and providing accommodations as needed, employers can help employees manage their symptoms and thrive in their roles. If your employer is not providing accommodations, you may want to speak to someone in your HR department.

What Legal Protections Do Employees with Anxiety Have in the Workplace?

Employees with anxiety are protected under the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, compensation, and job assignments.

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities, including those with anxiety, to ensure equal employment opportunities. Additionally, employees with anxiety may be entitled to protection under state and local anti-discrimination laws.

Contact Our South Jersey Workplace Discrimination Lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC for a Free Consultation

Contact our dedicated South Jersey workplace discrimination lawyers at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC for compassionate legal guidance and support in addressing workplace anxiety issues. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County. Call us at 856-235-7075 or contact us online for a free consultation.