Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Social Anxiety Disorder Is ADA Disability
Christina Jacobs worked as a deputy clerk at a courthouse in New Hanover County, North Carolina. Jacobs was assigned to provide customer service at the courthouse front counter. After suffering from several panic attacks and extreme stress from her position at the front counter, Jacobs went to one of the supervisors to request a role that involved less direct interpersonal interaction. The supervisor instructed Jacobs to seek medical attention. Once the stress and panic attacks began to increase, Jacobs submitted a second request for an accommodation. Jacobs was terminated following the second request. The United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that social anxiety disorder qualifies as a disability because it hinders a person’s ability to interact with others. The court explained that the ADA imposes a good-faith duty upon employers, to engage with their employees, to identify a reasonable accommodation when one is requested.