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Expanded DSM-5 could make employers liable for employee disorders

The newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will add numerous social and mental disorders to its pages, while expanding the definition of other disorders. This has led to a lot of worry amongst employers that they will be held liable for incidents of discrimination that, just a few days ago, they would not have been liable for.

Some are calling this update to the DSM a "challenge" for employers who now face increased scrutiny over their handling of employees who should be reasonably accommodated. However, isn't the initial challenge already with the employees who are dealing with these disorders -- many of which can be devastating to someone's ability to cultivate personal and professional relationships?

It would seem that this expanded DSM-5 is more of an opportunity for employees who have disorders than it is a challenge to employers. Now, the employees can go and get the help they need to try to combat the disorders they face. Under the new DSM-5, employees all across Texas can strive towards getting a handle on whatever disorder (or disorders) they face on a daily basis.

If the employer does engage in acts of discrimination because of a person's disability or disorder; or if an employer fails to accommodate someone with a disability or disorder; then they certainly open themselves up to liability. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has warned employers that requiring a high school diploma for a position could be discriminatory, because social or mental disorders could make a skilled person incapable of graduating high school.

Source: Washington Times, "Discrimination suits for disabilities could rise with new list of psychiatric disorders," Luke Rosiak, May 19, 2013

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