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Debt Relief – Insolvency – Bankruptcy Information » Legal Help » Is it legal for employers to discriminate based on a history of depression?

Is it legal for employers to discriminate based on a history of depression?

I’m just curious.

I’ve heard the government can refuse to hire people if they’ve been hospitalized for it. There are jobs I’d love to go for, but I’m worried they’d do a background check, find out about how I was hospitalized for it, and refuse to hire me. And I’m thinking it would be legal for them to. Is it?
I am considering going into social work to help people who also suffer from depression. Will this get in the way of that?

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5 Responses to "Is it legal for employers to discriminate based on a history of depression?"

  1. ragtad says:
    Employees are not allowed to discriminate, period. I don’t think that social work should be at all hindered by a history of depression. I say go for it. There are some jobs that could be denied if a current problem of depression or mental illness was reported. I have been working as a security guard for three years now. When I was first hired I was required to have a mental health evaluation performed because of my history with depression. The doctor okay my line of work as long as I am not in a position that requires me to carry a weapon.
  2. Pink1967 says:
    Per the HIPAA act of 1996, you are protected from potential employers seeing your medical records. An employer cannot legally discriminate against you because of this and the ADA law of 1990.

    So the answer is no, employers cannot use your medical records against you when they are in the hiring process.

  3. tracymoo2002 says:
    Your medical records are not open to employer background checks, unless you were treated while incarcerated – then you have a whole ‘nother set of issues! The only worry here is if you are on certain medications that might show up in a urinalysis – there should be a disclaimer you can fill out prior to testing to list any prescribed medications. You are NOT obligated to state what the medications are for, though the employer may ask for a doctor’s certification that they prescribed it/them. Even if a potential employer finds out about your previous treatment or hospitalization, they would have to provide some other valid reason for not hiring you.
  4. Boo Boo Head says:
    You cannot be discriminated based on a hospitalization. However, you mention that there are Gov’t jobs that you are interested in as well. SOME, not all, gov’t jobs do require a security clearance. You must disclose this info if you are to be granted a certain level of security. But, that would only be for Top Secret. I highly doubt that is the type of work you want. You also mention that you want to help others who suffer…that could be your foot in the door. Having firsthand exp is always a plus….you just need the degree for it or the certifications. Go for it and help those who need it….I know that it was hard for me w/ depression and being able to tell them that you were in their shoes, at one point in your life, would help w/ the trust issue and make them feel like there is that hope that they have been searching for………

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  5. Dr_Adventure says:
    You are fully covered by the American with Disabilities Act. You can be terminated if you are unable to complete you job, which depression could cause. However, past or even future hospitalization are not grounds not to be hired and/or fired. That said I probably would consider how to present this information in an interview. In some contexts (such as a patient advocate) it could be a real asset (sometimes even a requirement).

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