A friendly reminder that, according to ADA laws, discriminating against a candidate or employee based on their mental health is illegal. Which is why, however tongue-in-cheek, San Francisco-based ad agency Palmer Advertising's Craigslist ad for a designer is cause for concern. In part of their requirements for the open Print & Web Designer gig, they note: "The successful candidate will have ... Sanity. If you are a prima donna, bipolar, or require anger management, please go to a big agency where you can hide in the crowd."
What does the ADA have to say about eschewing bipolars in the workplace? The National Alliance on Mental Illness has more:
The ADA requires employers who provide "reasonable accommodations" for qualified individuals with disabilities. What are "reasonable accommodations" for people with severe mental illness?
Examples of reasonable accommodations for people with severe mental illnesses included providing self-paced workloads and flexible hours, modifying job responsibilities, allowing leave (paid or unpaid) during periods of hospitalization or incapacity, assigning a supportive and understanding supervisor, modifying work hours to allow people to attend appointments with their psychiatrist, providing easy access to supervision and supports in the workplace, and providing frequent guidance and feedback about job performance.
Further, California employment law dictates:
The FEHA is the principal California statute prohibiting employment discrimination covering employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and any person or entity who aids, abets, incites, compels, or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act. It prohibits employment discrimination based on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability; mental disability or medical condition.
In an ironic twist, the ad agency in question boasts the following client base: Health & Medicine, CalCPA ProtectPlus, Conquest Imaging, Doctors Medical Center, Hana Biosciences, San Joaquin General Hospital, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, and—get this—the United States Postal Service.
Look, we get it. The agency took a stab, if you will, at humor. Or something resembling humor. Palmer doesn't want any loose-cannon, ego-driven jerks applying for the job. Makes sense. But bipolar disorder is a very serious (and very treatable!) mental illness, and an offhand comment like that was, at best, careless. At worst, cruel. Some of the finest, most talented people we personally know live with it—successfully so. You would have to be crazy to shun a pal, a colleague, or a qualified candidate living with bipolarism.
Update: As commenter Justin Alan Ryan points out, an agency with fewer than 15 people are not subject to the ADA. But they are subject to California Employment Law, which "prohibits employment discrimination based on race or color; religion; national origin or ancestry, physical disability; mental disability or medical condition."