About Employment Discrimination and Advocacy Project
The Employment Discrimination & Advocacy Project (EDAP) provides legal representation to low income people living with mental illness in employment matters. The EDAP is a pilot project initiated by MHLAC.
People living with mental illness often face employment discrimination. This discrimination can appear 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 individuals by advocating for their rights to realize the full benefit and enjoyment of the 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
EDAP attorneys represent plaintiffs in discrimination claims under state and federal employment statutes. These claims include wrongful termination, refusal to provide reasonable accommodations and leave requests; and discriminatory adverse employment actions. We also selectively assist in wage and salary claims Unemployment Insurance Claims.
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.
EDAP engages with various community groups to change employment 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.
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.