Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts

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Employment Discrimination and Advocacy Project History

Employees living with a mental illness are at a high risk of being discriminated against in the workplace. The ability of a person living with a mental illness is not about their illness as much as it has to do with a healthy work environment which includes the appropriate resources and an avenue to access reasonable accommodations. The vast majority of employees living with a mental illness can be quite successful and an addition to any team, provided they can access the tools they need. Unfortunately, many employers do not look past the stigma of mental illness and react by creating illegitimate reasons to treat those with mental illness differently. This is illegal.

Many employees with mental illnesses are discriminated against and are unsure how to assert their rights without benefits of counsel of judicial process. Micro-aggressions against people with disabilities in the workplace are a sufficient source of stress. They are known to either exacerbate mental health issues or form mental illnesses in people who are predisposed. Furthermore, the loss of gainful employment may act as a barrier to successful rehabilitation as well as a significant source of distress for anybody with a mental illness. Legal representation for people in this situation has not been provided by traditional legal services agencies or pro bono attorneys due to lack of resources and the difficult nature of these cases.

For these reasons MHLAC established the EDAP. At present we have an experienced employment attorney representing low income clients. This Project Attorney has provided effective legal representation to low income people with mental illness in employment matters.

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