Date: August 15, 2014
Source: Bazelon Center

The U.S. Department of Justice today announced settlement of its investigation into complaints the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law filed on behalf of two Louisiana attorneys who faced discriminatory questions concerning their mental health and discriminatory requirements for “conditional” admission to the bar solely because of their mental health diagnosis and treatment.

The DOJ says the agreement “ensures the right of qualified bar applicants with mental health disabilities to have equal access to the legal profession as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

The Department previously sent a letter to Louisiana officials in February informing them that its investigation of the Bazelon Center’s complaints found that the state’s policies on admission to the bar violated the ADA on several grounds, including by making discriminatory inquiries regarding bar applicants’ mental health diagnoses and treatment, subjecting applicants to burdensome investigations into mental health status or treatment, and “implementing burdensome, intrusive, and unnecessary conditions on admission that are improperly based on individuals’ mental health diagnoses or treatment.”

Comment by Dr. Frese: This could be a major step in fighting legalized discrimination against persons with mental illnesses.