Disability Law

Employment Lawyers Cringe at Proposal to Add Gambling, Binge Eating to Mental Disorder List

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In a development that is drawing fire from management-side employment lawyers, the American Psychiatric Association wants binge eating and excess gambling to be considered psychiatric disorders.

The APA has asked that the problems be listed in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a fifth edition of which is slated to be published in 2013, the National Law Journal reports.

Critics tell the NLJ that the proposed disorders will open the door to even more workplace litigation filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Binge eating? Come on. How are you going to be able to determine if someone is a binge-eater or not?” employment lawyer Steve Miller, of Fisher & Phillips, said. “The concern is, Where does it stop?”

However, Dermot Sullivan, of Bryan Cave, told the NLJ that inclusion of gambling in particular won’t likely have much litigation impact because the ADA specifically excludes gambling as a disability.

A draft of the forthcoming DSM-5 was released Tuesday and will be up for public comment through April 20. The proposed changes to the DSM were outline in a press release (PDF) from the APA.

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