Stigma in the workplace

I was diagnosed with psychosis at age 13 and schizophrenia at age 15. I am now 20 years old living in Philadelphia. I was doing alright working full time getting by decently enough. My manager at work pulled me aside and said i was moving too slow and looked out of it. I was reluctant to tell him about the circumstances and my medicaiton, ( i had already lost a job because i told my diagnosis to my employer). So i made a general statement that my medication was sedative. He then proceed to grill me with questions about what i was taking. i finally broke and said i was a schizophrenic and my medication was called clozapine. A week went by and next weeks schedule came out, my boss had cut my shifts and continues to not let me pick up shifts or work more then two days a week. Now im scrambling to find another job and can barely pay this months bills. Now i have gone from ok to having more intense and frequent episodes. We have come a long way but i still see the discrimination and general ignorance about mental illness. Schizophrenia is a scary word to alot of people. Hopefully in the future we will all understand mental illness better.

I feel for you, I lost two jobs because my employers found out about my SZ, well to be honest I quit one of them after my boss started treating me like a ticking time bomb and never let me get too stressed out. It got to the point where I was isolated from everyone else, was only working 3 days a week, but everyone smiled at me and patted my back…it was so freaking fake…

The other my boss flat out told me that the company couldnt afford to have a potentially dangerous employee on payroll. I sued them for discrimination but only got a written apology and years pay at the hours they SAID I was getting…they claimed I was part time and only working 15 hours a week, when I was full time, and working 60…screw them though

Hope you find an employer like my current one, that knows about my SZ, but feels it makes me a more creative person.

Having your hours reduced as a direct result of disclosing mental illness would be an offence under the human rights act where I live. If a doctor signs off that I’m healthy enough to work, that’s the end of it. A complaint to the provincial human rights commission would get the hours restored, you compensated for lost wages, and the employer heavily fined. Do you have that sort of recourse where you live?


Your boss needs to be subject to the intervention my thesis used. It was shown to be effective in reducing stigma across the gambit of psychological disorders.

It’s sad. Yeah, there is a lot of research on stigma in the workplace. The key fact is that you should weigh the pros and cons of sharing your diagnosis. It sometimes hurts us. For people like me, it has hurt a lot and also helped a lot. I am public about it because I am graduating top of my class in psychology and going to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology this fall. I know my illness and how to cope inside and also out.

It’s not for everyone to take on stigma. Some people find it easier to tell a white lie and say you have something like hypertension and that the medicine is sedating. I’ve pulled that one before and sometimes still do with great success!

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I’m sorry this happened. People don’t understand and don’t know how to react. It’s sad really.

Good luck on the job hunt.