Depressing Depression

Hi EvilHRLady,
I was fired after missing 3 weeks of work due to major depression and a bad reaction to the medication I was placed on.

When I was diagnosed, I let my manager and HR Manager know approximately a month and a half prior to getting terminated as I was having problems with insomnia and coming in late.

I supplied them with a doctor’s note, but unfortunately my doctor just wrote the dsm-iv diagnosis code and I had to explain it to them in plain english.

A friend has urged me to try to use the ADA to arrange back pay/benefits or perhaps reinstatement with the company. I’m not sure if this is a very good idea (not practical/plausible, perhaps internal talk of it could ruin any future recommendation) since someone else has been hired to replace me.

I also worry about getting re-employed and don’t know how to explain the situation to perspective employers.

I am thinking of speaking to my ex-supervisor to see if we can agree upon a more palatable explanation.

I don’t think he was apprised of my condition(my manager and supervisor were separate people).

I’m not sure what to do and feel like my career (Software Engineer) and even the possibility of future employment is ruined.


Dear Sad,

First of all, your career is not ruined. Depression happens. I don’t know if you have a valid ADA claim or not. There are specific rules around it and while depression can qualify under ADA, you may or may not be successful.

I suggest that you look towards moving forward rather than backwards. You can’t undo what has been done. Battling will probably not help your depression. (Please keep in mind I’m not a psychologist or therapist or any such thing.) Here is some additional information about finding a job while dealing with a mental illness.

If, prior to your difficulties, you were performing well at work, it may well be worth your time to schedule an appointment with your prior managers. Talk about the probability of coming back and, if that’s not possible, what kind of reference they will give you. They may be able to help you find a job and help you network.

I’m sure my fellow HR professionals will have additional advice for you.

Good luck!

Evil HR Lady

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2 thoughts on “Depressing Depression

  1. Dear Sad,
    Check into the FMLA laws (Family Medical Leave Act) both for your state and the federal laws. I know the federal laws give employees 12 weeks of job protection in a 1 year period if you meet the criteria. Some states have more employee friendly laws, for instance in CT we get 16 weeks job protection every 2 years. If you search FMLA in google you will get a lot info.


  2. Looks like the legislation is just as complex over the pond as it is here in the UK!

    sometimes I wish they would just STOP and start again!

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