Should You Tell Your Boss You Have a TBI?

According to Dr. Carolyn Dewa, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, of the 40% of workers who would not tell their boss they had a mental health problem half of them would want to do something to help a colleague with a mental health problem. Why the difference in attitude? Dr. Dewa’s research shows that employees suffering from temporary cognitive or emotional difficulties that force them to miss work are reluctant to explain why out of fear their boss will either fire them, dislike them or disrespect them. She found that if employees worked in a truly positive workplace where they felt they would get support if they were honest about their condition would disclose it.

Is your workplace a positive one? Do you believe your boss would support you while you took time off for rest, recuperation, treatment or rehabilitation? What if your boss is not supportive? Remember that you may well have rights against being fired under state workers’ compensation laws or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Leaving your work absences a mystery after you sustain a TBI is probably not the best way to go. Consulting a lawyer familiar with workplace protections against firing and worker’s rights to access care would be a smart thing to do.

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