Posted by: Fed-up | 2010-11-18

Bipolar and discrimination in the workplace


I have bi-polar (and some other mental conditions as well).

I just want to find out, where can I get information on Bi-polar and discrimination in the workplace? What is the steps that can be taken if somebody discriminates me on a personal level, and also discriminates me on my mental condition? The politics in my workplace is of such nature, that if I try to report this, I will make it even worse for myself!

What can I do, as things are starting to get out of control, and every time something goes wrong, I get verbally abused on a personal level, and not even dealt with on a professional level!

This is driving me insane as it happens more frequently nowadays!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I would think the people who should be expert on mental health and discrimination in the work-place, swould be good labour lawyers, and the relevant government departments. like Labour. Maybe some trades unions. And the CCMA.
Verbal abuse is intolerable in a work-place, whether discriminatory on the larger scale o not.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Christine van Duuren | 2016-05-31

I suffer from depression and bipolar disorder and are unfairly discriminated and victimised at work. I got a new boss who doesn't like me and informed during my performance year that my work was no good and I lost my raise and my bonus. They have refused to say what I did wrong in 2015 and up until this day they are still refusing. A grievance was put in at HR, but they took my bosses side, even if he had no reason to give me a bad rating. On our HR system they have to fill in during the 2015 performance year how my work was. They filled nothing in during the whole year so there is no record of any problems at my side. I showed various evidence to HR that my boss is lying, but they said "tough, if you do not like it, go to the CCMA", which I did. The hearing is taking place on 13 June 2016. I live very far from work, over 60km and work flexi time. Now HR wants to take that away from me. I was booked off for 3 weeks this year for acute stress disorder. HR informed me in a meeting afterwords not to use my mental health condition as an excuse not to do my work, which I never did. They also said not to dwell on the past - but hey!!! I have been discriminated/victimised. I lost my bonus and raise and work for a terrible boss. I am now in financial difficulty. Mentally Ill people have "constitutional right in the workplace". I would like to read up on that. Does anyone know where I can read up on mental health in the work place?

Reply to Christine van Duuren
Posted by: Anonymous | 2016-04-18

what about a lawyer who is trying to make somebody look bad just because they suffer bipolar disorder, my son is trying to fight for his children and the mother has seriously injured them all, the mother took out 3 separate protection orders against him but all three were set aside as the judge felt he had done nothing wrong whatsoever. the mothers lawyer uses his bipolar disorder at every twist and turn despite it has had no adverse effects on his children. It does however crush his self esteem and confidence. Can this lawyer be stopped from this discriminatory behaviour.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015-04-10

like in cancer bi-polar needs to be activated in a traumatic episode in your live, the company I work for that wants to discipline me and fire me were the people who activated the bi-polar in me by treating me unfair and breaking my spirit. I was a Auditor and work now in a totally different department and my manager told me he does not want me in his department and does not have time for sick people, I now work in a open space were there is a lot of noise that make it extremely difficult to work and concentrate. they do not want to accommodate me at all, what can I do in this situation I am very unhappy and at this moment I am in a deep depression, I am a widow and have 2 dependents, my husband passed away just after I was for 21 days in hospital to help me work thru what happened at work. I am haunted by those thoughts as well. I'm 46 and can not start a new live right now, WHAT SHOULD I DO I DONT IKNOW ANY MORE

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Mel Wormann | 2014-02-17

I have worked for my company for 5 years and have been a top performer for about 3.5 years. I was finally diagnosed with Manic Bipolar Disorder since 2009, and ensured that my company was fully aware of my Diagnosis, and even gave them the detailed Psych reports for them to have in depth knowledge of my specific needs and triggers. My environment has become worse and worse, to an extent that I have to do work that is not commissionable (I work in sales), to work harder and longer for less money than ever before (Commissions dropped to 5% of comms compared to 12 months ago) and new executive managers having a "Bully" and "Zero Tolerence" attitude. I suffered loss of 2 pregnancies due to the pressurized environment I was required to work in, 1 of them directly related to an unfair ruling of commission that was later overturned when I was discharged from hospital. I have been a top performer because I have had to be vocal and firm with other employees to keep my clients happy, who then keeps ordering. Since the start of the new executive's employment I have received numerous warnings and discrimination every time I have a manic episode, and although near booking myself into hospital (And the company advised of this) still get accused of being "Rude" and my conduct unacceptable. Half of the time I have said things have been when I have hit an ultimate manic high or low and I have never had any acknowledgement when I have indicated that I "Blacked out" or that I was not coping with the pressure. The last episode was when although I should have won the award as my sales were the highest, I was publically humiliated and the prise of R20 000 withheld because I was not acting within the values of the company. Although after 5 years I have mentored, become the "go-to" person and known as the most skilled consultant in the company. I have also received numerous compliments as to being a significant and very strong team player with exceptional abilities. I "Blacked out" and had a severe anxiety attack and manic episode - I handed in my resignation as I was publically humiliated and discriminated for qualities related to my Bipolar Disorder. My emails was immediately cut off after sending clients notice that I have resigned (A very professional email) and I was instructed not to tell clients I have resigned. Essentially I was treated like a suspended employee. I am not a "Chancer" nor am I someone who has hopped from Job to Job and used my disorder as an excuse. I have been doing my best to manage this until now... Can anyone advise what the right route is to take here as I have resigned with notice as required but booked off due to my manic episode. I cant be forced to work as I am booked off sick, but never before have I not worked whilst off sick because I have always had access to my email as to ensure I get to target even if I am sick. I received an email from my manager to advise that my clients orders will be distributed to other colleagues... Thus they are financially causing me further set back even though I am still technically employed by them. Any advice?

Reply to Mel Wormann
Posted by: Labour &  Disability Lawyer | 2010-11-22

The labour and discrimination law on the rights of employees living with Bipolar Mood Disorder has recently become very clear. The South African Labour Court (Gauteng) in the MARSDEN v NEW WAY ENGINEERING decision has ruled that unfair discrimination (as well as harassment and victimisation) by employers through words and actions toward is totally unacceptable and absolutely prohibited. Google the case on the net and read it carefully.

Reply to Labour &amp  Disability Lawyer | 2 comments (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015-07-23

don't know what to say

Posted by: Mel Worman | 2014-02-17

Thank you for your guidance! Do you perhaps have a link to send me? I am not able to pick this up anywhere on Google.

Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-11-20

I would think the people who should be expert on mental health and discrimination in the work-place, swould be good labour lawyers, and the relevant government departments. like Labour. Maybe some trades unions. And the CCMA.
Verbal abuse is intolerable in a work-place, whether discriminatory on the larger scale o not.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Millie | 2010-11-19


I have the same problem at work and have gone through to department who flat out told me its out of their jurisdiction i must follow the " company''s girevience process"  or speak to CCMA.

Basically companies can do whatever the hell they like with you because the only way to sort it out is their stupid pointless channels which they control ultimately -and 80% of employees are scared of itimidation so don''t put grieviences in!

CCMA also reccomended the same follow grievience process etc - if you not happy with the outcome they can step in on your behalf and take it further. Also advised me to join a union which i have. investigate places like NUM and Solidarity its like 1% of your income or R70.00 and let me tell you companies hate dealing with unions its a good investment. U don''t have to do the striking thing its merely " protection" 

Also u don''t need to be a bunch of people u can join yourself!
Otherwise look for another job - it ain''t easy especially this time of the year but good luck.

Reply to Millie
Posted by: Liza | 2010-11-19

You could take it up with the CCMA. There isn''t much else you can do. I had the same problem with a previous company I worked for. Eventually things got so bad that I landed up in hospital - hopelessly depressed. Then they told me I was too sick to work and offered me a package which I took. It was either that or get fired.

My personal opinion is that you should find another job. Things at your current workplace will only get worse. Corporate culture is a very difficult thing to change and it has a huge impact on your emotional well-being.

Good Luck

Reply to Liza
Posted by: reality | 2010-11-18

Well what do you want? a number to call? a societial group that will help you? You can try that but it wont change anything, if your work gives you trouble give them trouble, go to your HR people and discuss the issue. But hey when it comes to stigma and mental illness thats never going to end, fcuk look how long it took people to accept other ethnic groups, like black people...then look how long it took for acceptance of sexual orientation, hey lets not even mention religious differences theres some prime real estate in the middle east just waiting to get blown away and that shiiit is millenia old.

But hey i dont want to leave you with out any hope, go to your HR people talk to them, if you have no joy look around for another job.....remember the fire that started in the beginning no matter how long it burns is the fire that burns all other fires at the end.

Reply to reality | 1 comment (hide)
Posted by: Anonymous | 2015-05-18

In all honesty.. moving to another job cures nothing nor does it resolve an underlying problem.. Agreed in the time it took to accept various things as you indicated, yet these were accepted over time and understanding.. in some areas through force.. but thats another story... as for moving to another camp when the fire gets too big just adds another factor of problems to the affected person.. and thats a job stigma of not being able to stay long enough in a position to make a worthwhile impact and leads to questions by the new or potential employer.. until such time the significance of any disorder is fully accepted or taken into account or even understood as a "normal" thing that affects many, the affected person will ALWAYS be affected.. job hopping will not fix it.. the problem here is not the person who has the disability being at fault.. its the people who stigmatize and ridicule hat are the problem and are at fault.. anyway.. just my two cents

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