Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts
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About Employment Discrimination and Advocacy Project

The Employment Discrimination & Advocacy Project (EDAP) provides legal representation, in employment matters, to low income people living with mental illness. The EDAP is a pilot project initiated by MHLAC.

People living with mental illness often face employment discrimination. This discrimination, appears as workplace bullying, employer retaliation, a refusal to provide reasonable accommodations, or a denial of earned wages. Employment provides resources making treatment affordable, as well as much needed regular social interaction. In essence, the ability to remain employed in a healthy work environment is vital for recovery from mental illness. As such EDAP assists group by advocating for their rights to realize the full benefit and enjoyment of employment opportunities they are qualified for. EDAP also takes a systemic approach to combating employment discrimination, by working towards reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace.

What We Do

Representation
EDAP attorneys represent plaintiffs in discrimination claims under state and federal employment statutes. These include wrongful termination, refusal to provide reasonable accommodations, leave requests, and discriminatory adverse employment actions. We also selectively assist in wage & salary claims as well as Unemployment Insurance Claims.

Education
MHLAC hosts several conferences every year. These conferences provide training on topics at the cross-section of mental health and legal representation for judges, lawyers and other public officials. Go to our training page for more information.

Advocacy
EDAP engages with various community groups to change the laws. At present we are engaged with the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association to make binding arbitration illegal in employment contracts. Binding arbitration negatively impacts employees as it shifts the balance of power in any employment dispute to the employer. Furthermore, it effectively prevents an employee from having their day in court. Please contact MHLAC staff if you care to discuss an initiative you would like us to partner on.

Litigation
MHLAC has a successful history of engaging in impact litigation. We have prevailed in claims against Bridgewater State Hospital, the Department and Mental Health and other large institutional actors. EDAP is available to discuss employment class-actions you may wish to file.

 

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