Attention Deficit Disorder

What is Attention Deficit Disorder?

Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by inability to pay attention and hyperactivity. Symptoms initially appear as hyperactivity, forgetfulness, poor impulse control, and distractibility. Individuals with ADHD often do not pay attention to details, are not able to pay attention when spoken to, cannot exert mental energy for a long period of time, and are forgetful in daily activities. Culturally, there is disagreement if a diagnosis denotes a genuine disability or simply serves as a label for different but normal behavior. Some believe that the disorder does not exist or that it need not be treated.

According to most medical research in the United States, however, ADHD is generally regarded to be a non-curable but treatable psychiatric disorder. Stimulant medication is currently perceived as the most effective way to treat the disorder. Methods of treatment usually involve a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Nevertheless, some people earn to control their symptoms without the use of medication.

Ways in Which You Might be Discriminated Against Because of Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Your employer does not allow you to miss work for medical appointments
  • Your employer does not accommodate your need to take a reasonable amount of time off of work
  • Your employer will not provide reasonable on-site accommodations for your disability
  • Your employer does not allow you additional time to complete your tasks
How the Law Protects You if You Have Attention Deficit Disorder

To state a cause of action for disability discrimination, an employee must be disabled, regarded as disabled, or have a record of being disabled. The employee must then show that:

  • his or her disability results in physical limitations
  • that he or she can still perform the essential functions of the job (with or without reasonable accommodations)
  • and that the employer took some adverse action (such as not hiring, firing, or demoting the employee) on the basis of that disability.

According to both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's mental disability. An adverse employment action would include discriminatory hiring, firing, or lack of accommodation. Having ADHD is a mental disability, deserving of protection from discrimination, as long as the ADHD limits the individual's ability to work. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with ADHD so as to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The law will protect an employee whose employer does not provide these necessary accommodations. For example, an employee might be limited because she needs to additional time to accomplish various tasks because she cannot concentrate as well as other employees. This would be a limitation in her work. An employer is required to provide an employee additional time, if necessary, so long as this accommodation does not place an undue burden on the employer.

Further Information