Working with Social Anxiety
Do you have social anxiety? Do you think this could be a reason why your employer might fire you? It is a common misconception that employers can fire people because they have any kind of disability.
As a general rule, you can’t be fired for having social anxiety disorder if your symptoms are not interfering with your job performance or ability to complete tasks.
This is not a straightforward situation, however. While it is illegal to fire someone for a disability such as social anxiety disorder, the employer will not be breaking any laws if they decide that your symptoms are too severe for you to perform your job duties and there is no reasonable accommodation available.
If you have been fired from your job because of social anxiety disorder, you may want to consult a local attorney for advice. Keep reading for more general advice if you are concerned about being fired for having social anxiety.
Can You Be Fired for Social Anxiety?
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is federal legislation that prohibits discrimination against employees because of their mental or physical disabilities. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations so that employees can perform the essential functions of their job duties regardless of whether they have social anxiety disorder or any other form of disability.
In the case of social anxiety disorder, these accommodations might include things like restructuring work duties, modifying the environment to make it more comfortable for employees with anxiety symptoms, and scheduling an employee’s shifts around their therapy sessions.
As a general rule, if an employee has a diagnosed mental health condition such as social anxiety disorder and their symptoms are not interfering with their job performance or ability to complete tasks, then it would be illegal for them to be fired.
It is possible that your employer will claim that you were unable to perform certain aspects of your job because of stress from work-related activities such as meetings and presentations. If this is the case, they may attempt to justify terminating your employment on these grounds.
In short: employers cannot discriminate against workers based on disabilities under federal law. If you have been fired from your job because of a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, you may want to consult a local attorney for advice.
Is Social Anxiety Considered a Disability?
While mild social anxiety is not considered a disability, a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is recognized as a disability. If your symptoms are significant enough to interfere with school, work, or other important aspects of life, then this can be considered a disability.
In order for a diagnosis to qualify as a disability under federal law, it must limit at least one major aspect of daily living such as self-care or interpersonal functioning. In the case of social anxiety disorder, the primary limitation would be an inability to interact with other people.
How Do You Tell Your Boss You Have Social Anxiety?
If you have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, you may wish to disclose your condition to your employer so that you can be offered accommodations that allow you to perform at work.
In addition, telling your employer about your condition ensures that you will be protected against discrimination and wrongful dismissal.
When deciding whether or not to disclose your social anxiety disorder (SAD) diagnosis, take into consideration the pros and cons of disclosing.
The choice is ultimately up to you—you can choose when and if it’s best for you personally!
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Under the ADA, you are not required to disclose your mental disability unless you want certain workplace accommodations.
An employer is also not allowed to ask whether you have a disability during the hiring process. They may however make a job offer conditional on a medical examination. This exam must be required of all candidates, not just those suspected of having disabilities.
If your potential employer discovers that you are disabled during this exam, he or she can inquire about the condition and how it will affect your ability to perform at work.
The ADA allows job applicants to disclose their disability at different points in the interview process.
This could be
- before applying for a job
- during the application or interview stage
- after being offered a position but prior to starting work
- any time thereafter if changes take place with regards to ability and duties of employment
If you do decide to disclose, it’s important to understand what exactly your job entails.
You should also be prepared with ways that your potential employer can provide accommodations such as with flexible hours or allowing telecommuting when possible.
It may be helpful to plan what you are going to say ahead of time with a simple script.
Here is an example of what you might say when explaining your condition to an employer.
“I’d like to tell you that I have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Currently, I have the skills required to do this job, but sometimes my anxiety interferes with my ability to interact with people. It helps if I can work independently or in a role that doesn’t involve continuous interaction with others. I work best when I can telecommute some of the time. Here is the number of my doctor if you require information about my ability to carry out the job duties.”
Is it Hard to Get a Job With Social Anxiety?
While it is important to understand your rights under the ADA, some people with social anxiety disorder are not interested in disclosing their condition.
They may worry that doing so will be uncomfortable or create friction at work.
Remember that employers cannot ask about your disability unless it is necessary to make sure you have appropriate accommodations during the application process.
This means the only time they are allowed to ask about your condition is after you have been offered a job.
You should know that many people with social anxiety disorder do find ways to make their conditions manageable in order for them to be successful at work.
For instance, some individuals take medication or learn how to manage stress better so that it doesn’t interfere as much with daily living and productivity.
Others may choose not to disclose their diagnoses if there’s no way for them to receive accommodations through an employer. Knowing what options are available can help you reach this decision on your own terms.
Are you concerned about being fired for social anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Related Posts about Work and Social Anxiety
- How to Ace a Job Interview
- Best Jobs for People with Social Anxiety
- 5 Stay at Home Jobs for People with Social Anxiety
Can You Be Fired for Social Anxiety?
Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
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