Saturday, September 02, 2006

Scary article

Articles such as this...

Bipolar Disorder Takes Heavy Toll on Workplace

...scare the shit out of me. One of the focuses of many companies is employee productivity and with good reason. Certainly no one wants to hire a slacker. It is routine for companies to squeeze the most work out of their employees for the smallest amount of money, it helps them maintain competitiveness in the market, or so they say. It mostly helps maintain steady profits.

Companies fire people all the time for their lack of productivity. I'm sure in most states, if not all, it's a valid reason to let someone go even if proof is required. Arm employers with statistical data such as this article provides, and you've just given them all the more reason to rid themselves of anyone that is mentally ill or who they suspect might be. Why would they retain an employee when the data shows they are less productive and miss more days of work?

People seem to think their jobs are protected in such instances because of the American's with Disabilities Act. But most companies aren't stupid. They know they can't outright fire you for being mentally ill without landing their asses in court. So instead they find ways to skirt the law, ways that aren't difficult to find.

Illinois is an "employment at will" state, meaning they don't need a reason to fire you. I often wonder, had I not walked off the job myself, how long would it have been til I was given the ax after returning from short term disability for my depression. How many more people will lose their jobs now that this information has been released?

As for the part that says "They (the study's authors) also suggested that workplace support programs are needed to help depressed workers better manage their job demands", maybe in a utopian society that might happen. But in the real world, most companies are not going to be willing to spend extra money on employees they've just been told have low productivity.

Kudos to the companies that are supportive and understanding of employees with mental illness, but those companies are in the severe minority.


Blogger Polar Bear said...

Sad, but true - lots of companies discrimminate against people who are mentally ill. I find that it is easier to get into a job without revealing you are mentally ill, and by working hard and proving to the employer that you can be efficient when you are well, and if things get bad and you need time off work for your illness, your employer is easier on you and most willo be quite understanding.

5:38 PM, September 03, 2006  
Blogger Maggs said...

It pissed me off too. I have a hard enough time working a 40 hr a week without some fucked up thing coming up that I need 2 hrs off for.

4:58 PM, September 04, 2006  
Blogger sansanity said...

i'm having that problem now (low productivity). but my current boss already knew the deal, although i am not sure she knew how bad. but my coworkers do notn know and so they are always griping about my low productivity. and i just laff it off and say "whatever" so they think i am a slacker.

my workplace has employee assistance program. but it is for temp solutions and it's not that great. the counselro told me "everyone feels this bad."

maybe if employers learned to let mentally ill people work within their illnesses, for instance, i need a nap in the afternoon. working from home would be so much better on bad days without having to use up my sick days.

i also liked it better when i was salaried. i'd work as long (or as short--during the more manic like times) as necessary to complete the week's objectives.

9:34 PM, September 04, 2006  

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