Employment Law Report

Will New Psychiatric Disorders Equal New Disability Claims?

By Kim Koratsky

The American Psychiatric Association has proposed adding binge eating and excess gambling to the list of psychiatric disorders in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).   Certainly, mere inclusion in the DSM-5 won’t mean that one of these disorders will automatically fall under the ADA.  For example, the ADA specifically excludes gambling from the list of disabilities.  And it is doubtful that these additions will cause a flood of disability suits.  But HR Managers should watch for the change as it may trigger accommodation requests or require a change in company policies.   Also, we should look to the EEOC for guidance before changing any policy language.  The draft of the DSM-5 update is available for public comment at www.dsm5.org.