Employment Readings

Readings for Mental Health Providers


Carling, P. (1993) Reasonable accommodations in the workplace for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Consulting Psychology Journal, 45(2), 46-67.

This article discusses current employment rates for people with disabilities, approaches to supported employment, and regulations and policies of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The article goes on to describe types of accommodations that have been useful and concerns employers face when attempting to accommodate employees with psychiatric disabilities.


Fabian, E. S., Waterworth, A., & Ripke, B. (1993) Reasonable accommodations for workers with serious mental illness: Type, frequency, and associated outcomes. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal, 17(2), 163-172.

The authors studied reasonable accommodations provided to 30 participants in a supported employment program. Two types of accommodations most frequently used were Training of Supervisors, and Modifications of the Non-Physical Work Environment. The authors also noted that employment tenure was positively related with number of accommodations provided to the employee.


MacDonald-Wilson, K. L., Crean, T., Abramson, L., Fishbein, S. & Miller, N. (in press) How employers, supported employment service providers, and employees with psychiatric disabilities develop reasonable workplace accommodations: The state of the practice. Monograph, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University. Available from: Publications, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 930 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, (617)353-3549, /.

This monograph reports on the findings of Focus Groups held to identify a process of developing accommodations. Types of accommodations and functional limitations are described, as well as the steps used to develop accommodations. Issues, problems and solutions are presented, along with vignettes and extensive lists of resources and readings.


MacDonald-Wilson, K. & Whitman, A. (1995) Encouraging disclosure of psychiatric disability: Mental health consumer and service provider perspectives on what employers can do. American Rehabilitation, 142, 15-19.

This article describes strategies that consumers and service providers can use to help employers create accepting work environments, including posting notices, conducting education and training sessions, responding to disclosure, providing accommodations, and developing relationships with rehabilitation programs to recruit people with psychiatric disabilities into the workforce.


Mancuso, L.L. (1995) Achieving reasonable accommodation for workers with psychiatric disabilities: Understanding the employer’s perspective. American Rehabilitation, 21(1), 2-8.

This article outlines 6 reasons why employers might be hesitant to make reasonable accommodations, reviews relevant guidance from the ADA, and proposes constructive approaches that rehabilitation counselors and mental health consumers can take in response.


Marshall, A.N. (1995) A hope not yet fulfilled: People with psychiatric disabilities and the ADA. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6 (4), 41-43.

Stigma, fear, misunderstanding, and lack of information about people with psychiatric disabilities remain an invisible barrier for men and women who want to ride a bus to work and punch a time clock like any other American. Before The ADA can remove these invisible barriers, however, more guidance and information about psychiatric disabilities need to be provided to employers, especially in the area of interpersonal relationships.


Ravid, R. & Srikumar, M. (1993) Guidelines for disclosure of patient information under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 44(3), 280-281.

This brief article for clinical staff overviews the basic concepts of mental illness, the ADA, and medical confidentiality in the employment setting. It provides a case example and specific guidelines related to advising job applicants, drugs tests, psychotropic medications, sensitive employment positions, informed consent, the abilities of the patient, and the “ to protect” in assessing “ threat” inquiries.


Satcher, J. (1992) Responding to employer concerns about the ADA and job applicants with disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 23(3), 37-40.

This article shows how rehabilitation counselors can help both to dispel stereotypes about persons with disabilities and to help employers identify and provide needed accommodations in the workplace.


Schaefer, R. (1995) Still talking after all these years. The Journal of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 6(4), 21-22.

Rita Schaefer is a rehabilitation counselor who works to educate employers about people with disabilities and to encourage employers to hire them. She writes of her experience of moving to Portland, Oregon and the difficulties she encountered there with prejudice toward people with physical and mental disabilities.


Note: The information contained in these pages is for educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. Individuals should contact the appropriate legal resources for specific legal advice regarding their particular situations.