The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Given A, B, & C, Accommodations for Workers with Depression & Anxiety Should be Required

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/30/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,439 times Debate No: 58391
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)




Please leave a comment if interested in debating this!

A: No terms were set prior to employment that would be affected by the accommodation
B: The worker has committed no wrong doing in obtaining the accommodation
C: The worker should not be required to reveal his or her health conditions until the issue needing accommodation arises

Here is an example to work with:

"A New Jersey woman is suing her former employer for not letting her avoid commuting during rush hour, which she says aggravated her anxiety and depression.

Andrea DeGerolamo says her employer, Fulton Financial Corp. of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was legally required to accommodate her doctor-backed request for different work hours." [1]

I claim that Andrea's employer should have legally been required to accommodate her for different work hours, given terms A, B, and C. The resolution of this debate is to prove whether or not requiring doctor-backed accommodations for individuals with depression or anxiety is justified, given the terms described. Again, they must be doctor-backed accommodations.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments & rebuttals
Round 3: Arguments & rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals & conclusion only



Looking forward to a great debate. Cheers!
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Emily77, for accepting my debate! :) I have to apologize in advance - my arguments get lengthy XD

Here's the basis to my first point:

P1: Depression and anxiety can be very disabling conditions.
P2: Arthritis can be a very disabling condition.
P3: Employers accommodate employees with severe arthritis
C: Employers should accommodate employees with severe depression and anxiety.

Disabling: "(Of an action or circumstance) prevent or discourage (someone) from doing something" -

Also, just to note, I'm taking "doctor-backed accommodations" to imply that some aspect of the condition is severe.

1. To prove the first premise, I must prove that depression and anxiety can be very disabling.

I'd like to point out that many people believe depression is just sadness. It's not. Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, and lack of interest in once pleasurable activities are all symptoms of depression. [1] Individuals with severe depression do not believe they can really be happy again. These feelings contribute to suicidal ideation, another symptom of depression [1]. When serious suicidal thoughts come into play, and a certain aspect of the work field is causing it, work becomes a danger to an individual's life.

If a woman with a respiratory disease could die by inhaling fumes from cleaning products, then her employer likely wouldn't direct her to do any cleaning work. But if a task is "only" mentally taxing to the point where a person wants to kill himself, is it a matter of maturity? No. Why should physical stress to the body be taken more seriously than psychological stress? Psychological stress actually contributes greatly to physical problems; there is indeed a chemical response to stress that often compromises healthy functioning of the body. [2] Since depression and anxiety are all about psychological stress, let's take a peek at what stress can do to the body:

"...evidence is emerging that stress-induced immunosuppression can indeed increase the risk and severity of some diseases..." (p. 145)
"...depressive patients often are at least mildly immunosuppressed, and are more prone to osteoporosis... prolonged major depression increases the risk of heart disease about three- to fourfold, even after controlling for smoking and alcohol consumption..." (p. 295)
In some depressives, "...the "architecture" of sleep is different... the normal pattern of shifting between deep and shallow sleep, the rhythm of the onset of dream states, are disturbed." (p.276)
"...fibromyalgia is more likely to strike people with anxious... personalities." (p. 200) [2]

Here's some of physical symptoms of depression and anxiety:

For depression: decreased energy, fatigue, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, stomachaches, indigestion, constant headaches, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing. [1]

For anxiety (based on Generalized Anxiety Disorder): "feeling tired for no reason; headaches; muscle tension and aches; having a hard time swallowing; trembling or twitching; "sweating; nausea; feeling lightheaded; feeling out of breath; "and hot flashes." [3]

Take a moment to mix even just three of these symptoms together. Sound comfortable? How about having them for a whole day? That"s not nearly enough for a diagnosis of depression or anxiety. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), "For major depression, you must have five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period, most of the day, nearly every day. At least one of the symptoms must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure." [4] My source lists those symptoms, and you can check them out, but they're mostly a rehashing of symptoms I've mentioned in this round thus far. For anxiety, the DSM requires, "Excessive anxiety and worry about several events or activities most days of the week, for at least six months." [5]

Sure, some of symptoms I've mentioned thus far may not seem "that bad". However, recall a time you were sick. Perhaps your nose was running, you were nauseated, your head was throbbing, you couldn't sleep - and then all of sudden, you got a cold sore. It shouldn't be that bothersome, it's just a cold sore, right? Well, sometimes minor things put you over the edge when enough is enough. The flu comes and goes though. Depression and anxiety are continuous. They can be described as exhausting and draining.

Let me go a little farther into depth with the muscle tension and aches symptom, because that creates, arguably, the most difficulties. You might say that the average working person gets aches and pains, and that's true, but listen to what the APA says: "With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders." [5.5]

I also wanted to offer more on the fatigue aspect of stress. "When the body is stressed, the SNS generates what is known as the "fight or flight" response" Chronic stress, experiencing stressors over a prolonged period of time, can result in a long-term drain on the body. As the SNS continues to trigger physical reactions, it causes a wear-and-tear on the body. It's... what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other bodily systems that become problematic." [5.5]

2. I argue that, by not accommodating people with depression and anxiety in the workforce, the economy indirectly suffers.

Remember all those feelings I mentioned for depression earlier? Emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness? Those feelings do not promote a successful work environment. Employers want confidence and enthusiasm. Lethargy, a negative outlook on life, and poor self-esteem do not equate to productivity. Actually, "...experts estimate that depression costs the nation more than $83 billion a year in direct medical costs, lost productivity in the workplace and expenses related to suicide." [6] That's a pretty high cost.

Also, anxiety is characterized by avoidance behaviors. Some people's anxiety is so severe that they avoid leaving their home! Guess what that means. If they don"t leave their home, they can"t go to school or work. Perhaps if their fears weren't so intense - if they knew they could be accommodated for - they would work (though laws against discrimination are in place, there-s still a stigma about mental disorders, which probably stops people from asking for accommodations). Why should anyone care if they work or not? Some people with severe anxiety do qualify for disability and receive Social Security Income. [7] Some people with depression also quality for disability. [8] While some of them might really need SSI, what percentage of them would be more willing to work if they could have accommodations? Fewer people on SSI is arguably very good for the economy!

3. These accommodations won't harm stable employers.

Requesting different work hours is well within reason. If the company is in operation at that time, it's a suitable time to request hours. If the old hours need to be filled, then someone out there needs a job and will work those hours. If it costs too much to hire one more single person, then the employer is not financially sound enough to support the business. Sounds harsh, but that's not the fault of the person with depression or anxiety. Employers are responsible for their employees to some extent. Some employers are required to buy health insurance for their employees. It would not be acceptable to drop the health insurance coverage because there's a need for more employees. We should expect companies to plan for financial upsets. Employers wouldn't drop a woman's maternity-leave because of a financial issue. Why treat mental disorders any differently?

Maybe an individual with anxiety wants to opt out of giving tours of the company. Have someone else do it. Maybe an individual with depression can't handle being asked to do overtime. Ask someone else do overtime. Since we are talking about doctor-backed accommodations, we can likely assume that they are also reasonable ones.

[2] "Why Don't Zebras Get Ulcers?" (third edition) by Robert M. Sapolsky


Your first point is based in solid premises:
P1-P3 are all valid. However, you've made a major logical flaw here because the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises: Arthritis is not comparable to depression/anxiety.

Rebuttal: Physical ailments are radically different than mental ailments, and should not be used comparatively.

Taking Advantage of Disadvantage
1. This brings me to my first argument. Depression and anxiety are, though punctuated with physical symptoms, mental disorders. The burden of proof is radically different. Physical ailments, such as arthritis, require tests to confirm them, in this case, an x-ray. Depression and anxiety, on the other hand, are diagnosed through patients' self-confirmation of their symptoms. This method in itself, is riddled with problems because of the ease in misdiagnosis. But more importantly, it means that a person who wishes accommodation for, say, watching their soap opera at 4 pm, can simply convey the appropriate symptoms to a psychiatrist and get a diagnosis that claims they require accommodation to leave work early.

Obviously, there are people with real symptoms who are suffering, however, as the above example suggests, the system is far too easy to exploit by anyone who wishes to do so. "Doctor-backed" accommodations mean little when the only way to confirm depression and anxiety is essentially self-diagnosis of one's own symptoms.

Conclusion: Because the diagnosis of depression and anxiety are based on hearsay, the ease of exploitation is inherently harmful to employers.

When the Mental Gets Physical
You argued that mental disorders can often take on physical symptoms. Certainly. However, I not only disagree with your argument that these physical symptoms can impair productivity in the workplace so severely that accommodation is required, but moreover, I believe that your example of the woman inhaling fumes actually disproves your own argument.

Just as a blind person would not be hired as a photographer, and a paraplegic would not be hired as a quarry worker, a woman who was deathly allergic to fumes from cleaning products wouldn't be hired for a position that required her to use these. A person suffering from depression is no different; they are required to fulfill a role upon being hired, and if they are unable to do so because physical symptoms prevent them, then they have no business occupying that role. It is not the employers responsibility to offer charity employment, it is their job to see that a particular objective is fulfilled. Why is the onus on them to accommodate someone who is unsuitable for the position?

Rebuttal: If the employee is unable to fulfill their obligations, then the onus must be on the employee to find a job that better accommodates their limitations.

2. This further ties into my second argument. The symptoms experienced by those suffering from depression and anxiety are not sufficient to require accommodation. Certainly, they are unpleasant, and it is why employers give sick days. When employees are suffering from several of the symptoms you listed, they are unable to fulfill their role. As such, there is little point in having them in. However, these type of illnesses are short term; depression and anxiety are not. Thus, if they are for a long period of time incapable of fulfilling their duties, then it is their responsibility to, like a person with a flu, acknowledge their incapacitation and seek remedies for their ailments (such as therapy, medication, etc.) or not burden their workplace with their inabilities.

The reality is that most people suffer from mild symptoms. Pregnant women still continue to go to work in spite of nausea, aches, hot flashes, etc. People on prescription medications who suffer from side effects of fatigue, sleep apnea, migraines, etc. are offered no work accommodation. If the anxious and depressives of the world are given accommodation, than we must also give it to the gym-buff who aches, the stressed spouse going through a divorce or the birth control user who experiences migraines and irritability. It is obviously, impossible to accommodate everyone.

Conclusion: Everyone by the very nature of being biological creatures will experience minor physical limitations (including stress) at some period in their lives and to accommodate every one of them is setting the accommodation threshold far too low.

Depressives Driving Up Shampoo Prices
Your stance on economics undermines your own argument. You are entirely correct in saying that, "Emptiness, worthlessness and not promote a successful work environment. Employers want confidence and enthusiasm," and by your own argument, it is clear that the depressive is not fulfilling his employment objectives. As such, he and his kind are the blind photographers, costing the employers of the nation $83 billion a year in what is essentially, wasted capital.

The dictionary definition of a parasite is, "a person who receives support, advantage or the like from another or others without giving any useful or proper return". A person who is depressive or anxious and unable to cope is less capable than an otherwise qualified employee yet leech money and benefits. You say that putting them on SSI is more costly than employing them, but a little basic math shows this as completely false.

The current population of The U.S is 317,000,000 people. [1]
The percentage of people who are diagnosed with suffering major depression in The U.S is 6.2% of the total population per year. [2]
Therefore, it can be assumed that 28,530,000 people are suffering depression in The U.S annually.

However, only 30% of these cases are categorized as severe. [3]
Therefore, only 8,559,000 people in America would be considered "eligible" for accommodation.

The maximum SSI monthly payment is $721 in The U.S. Assuming every single person with severe depression got the maximum per month, this only amounts to $74,052,468,000 annually.

Not only is this number several billions less than what the depressives are currently costing the economy, but moreover, most don't receive the maximum allotment. This means the number would actually be several billions less than the math shows. Further, because it is impossible to account for all lost productivity caused by depression, your $83 billion dollar figure would most likely be much higher.

Rebuttal: Based on your cost figures, those suffering from depression would be less of a drain on the economy were they to get SSI payments rather than continue working.

3. Now there is an obvious rebuttal to my argument here; that the SSI payments come out of taxpayers' pockets rather than big corporations. I'd like to explain why this is faulty thinking and is a mistake commonly made by people who don't thoroughly understand opportunity-cost economics.

SSI payments come directly from taxpayer funds; costs that are relatively fixed and predictable. Thus, we know how much is coming out of our pocket, and can plan accordingly. The alternative is unfixed and unpredictable. These are higher prices due to loss of profit on part of employers which results in inflation. Inflation then requires medical costs to rise, which further financially burdens employers, who again must raise prices and pass the burden on to the consumer. It is a vicious cycle; one that is exacerbated by placing the onus on the employer to cover costs of employee incompetence. [4]

Large corporations pay much more in taxes than we do. Thus rather than the majority of the cost burden falling on consumers through inflation, the burden of the SSI tax funding comes from corporations themselves. And because their taxes are based on the amount of gross sales, the money paid in taxes does not result in price hikes.

The top 20 American corporations alone accounted for $122.55 billion in tax revenue.*[5] This would cover the cost of putting each and every single severe depressive on SSI at the maximum monthly allowance TWICE OVER at NO additional cost to the consumer!

Conclusion: Putting depressives on SSI is SIGNIFICANTLY less damaging to the economy than keeping them at work.

Economic Burdens 101

"If the old hours need to be filled, then someone out there needs a job and will work those hours. If it costs too much to hire one more single person, then the employer is not financially sound enough to support the business."

This sentence conveys one of the most limited understandings of economics I've seen in many years. Rather than point out all of the glaringly obvious logical flaws (such as how someone being hired for one hour, 9-10 am, so an anxious person can avoid rush hour traffic is asinine), I will simply remind you that any law that applies to accommodating large corporations also applies to small "mom and pop shops".

New businesses are necessary for the economy. Hiring one new person may pose no problem to Wal-Mart, but when you are a single mother seeking to support your children and taking a huge risk trying to start up a bakery, hiring one new person for frivolous and unnecessary reasons in addition to the costly burden of lost productivity and medical benefits conferred to depressives is enough to break a business. Moreover, to say that it puts no additional burden on employers is extremely narrow-minded, because you've only accounted for one possible accommodation; alternate work hours. If that person is accommodated, then it is necessary to accommodate the depressive who has coaxed their doctor into recommending 4 day weekends. Accommodations can get extremely costly and burdensome, especially considering you are robbing a perfectly eligible and capable person from an employment opportunity.

Conclusion: Accommodations can easily become extremely burdensome to employers, and can prevent new business from entering the market.

1. United States Census Bureau



4. Henry Hazlitt, 'Economics in One Lesson'


Debate Round No. 2


Con says that arthritis isn't comparable. I will demonstrate how it is: Arthritis is characterized by painful joints, yet not necessarily inabilities. The painful aspect of arthritis causes psychological stress. It is the psychological stress, rather than the physical aspect of the ailment, which raises the need to accommodate. If an individual unknowingly had arthritis, with an accompanying condition in which he couldn't feel pain, then psychological stress wouldn't be an issue. He wouldn't perceive pain and therefore couldn't be distressed by it. With severe arthritis, we get into inabilities to perform tasks, like having limited range of motion. As you said, many people have symptoms of some sort. I argue that having physical symptoms isn't enough to receive an accommodation. I argue that the physical symptom must do at least one of two things: be extremely damaging to the individual's body OR psychological state. Let's deduce why the first isn't good: A woman who can't feel pain has a bone condition, breaks her leg, and can't walk. It's not painful, but she's distraught about her immobility. This is why we care about physical conditions. Because of the psychological consequences.

-All 3 conditions produce mental stress
-The mental stress of these conditions is what prompts a need for accommodation
-Ignoring their symptoms can lead to consequences which produce further mental stress

1. The DSM has strict requirements for diagnosis. Con says the BoP is radically different, suggesting there's not much objective evidence for diagnosing depression or anxiety. I ask that my opponent reviews my first source showing 2 PET scans comparing a "depressed brain" to that of a non-depressed one. [1] Also, "Anxiety disorders appear as brain dysfunction in different parts of the brain..." [2] Con says, depression and anxiety are diagnosed through patients' self-confirmation. A psychologist/psychiatrist is in charge of diagnosis, not the patient. Therapists do more than listen to symptoms. They observe in other ways. Clearly, cut wrists would be an objective indicator that someone is depressed. A therapist will likely interpret trembling as indicators of anxiety. Could it be faked? Sure. People can also fake limping.

Con says a person can simply convey the right symptoms to leave work early. Therapists would be very reluctant to recommend this for someone. Therapists constantly weigh the pros and cons of how they treat their patients (even just with deciding whether or not to tell a patient his diagnosis [3]). Ex. "Sam is upset about not making friends in his club at school. If I recommend dropping the club, it will send the message that he isn't able to make friends. I should give him advice to start a conservation." A therapist automatically recommending that a patient leave work early sends the message that the individual isn't capable of ordinary tasks. This can create feelings of guilt and lower self-esteem. If a con artist is indeed lying, he'll have to work with a therapist for a little while. Therapy isn't cheap either. "An hour therapy session can cost between $90 and $250." [4] The stigma of mental health problems is also a deterrent. By con's reasoning, absences of grievance shouldn't be allowed because they could be exploited. People have pretended to attend funerals for days off from work. Any system can be abused.

"...a blind person would not be hired as a photographer..." In that case, it would disrupt term A. The terms of accepting a photography job would be being able to take photographs. The woman who can"t inhale fumes isn't necessarily disrupting term A. She may be an office worker. Yet that doesn't mean her boss won't suddenly throw other duties besides paperwork at her.

"...they are required to fulfill a role upon being hired, and if they are unable to do so... then they have no business occupying that role." Simply because someone can't fulfill all duties doesn't mean he has no business occupying the role. My sister is nearly deaf and can't hear on the phone, so she requests not to answer the phone at work. The rest of her job gets fulfilled.

2. "The symptoms experienced... are not sufficient to require accommodation... When employees are suffering from several of the symptoms... they are unable to fulfill their role." These two statements are conflicting. Also, having several symptoms does not mean being unable to fulfill the role itself. The job may be completed, but perhaps not as successfully as possible. The solutions con offers are harsh.

1) For depression, "...less than 40% of patients typically respond well to initial treatment. They may need to try several treatments over many weeks or months before finally getting symptom relief." [5] Also: "Anxiety sufferers see an average of 5 physicians before being successfully diagnosed and treated." [6] 2) This would deny individuals the right to pursue happiness. Denying access to the work field because of depression or anxiety is discriminating.

"...most people suffer from mild symptoms." This is about severe conditions, so it's only fair to compare with other severe conditions. However, sure, a pregnant lady or a man on meds could be accommodated. Ex. 1: The woman's job involves vigorous activity and she is well into her pregnancy. Then grant her early maternity leave. Ex. 2: The man sometimes drives the pizza delivery car, but his prescription requires him not to drive; therefore, he shouldn't drive it. Not accommodating for 1 or 2 could be extremely damaging to the individual's body and psychological state. The woman could lose her baby and the man could be in a car accident, causing physical and mental stress. I'm not arguing that having less-than-fun symptoms is enough to require accommodations. I'm arguing that if some aspect of work is extremely damaging to the individual's body or mental state (contributing to severe anxiety and depression), then they should be required.

3. Con states a 6.2 percentage for the US, yet cites the Canadian Mental Health Association homepage. I found that about 6.7% of the US suffers from major depressive disorder [7] I request that con links the exact page of her sources. I can't find the 30% statistic. Anyway, I disagree with it. Major depressive disorder is not JUST depression. It is a severe type of depression. [8] If major depressives are the severe cases, taking 30% of major depressives is not justified. Furthermore, 6.2% of 317,000,000 is 19,654,000 (not 28 bil.) The 6.7 percentage puts that number at 21,239,000. If all major depressives received the max SSI, that would equate to $183,759,828,000. That's over $183 billion versus $122 billion in tax revenue. None of this math even accounts for severe anxiety unaccompanied by depression. Even if all severe cases didn't receive SSI, a max of $721 per month automatically puts SSI recipients more than $3K below the poverty line. [9] They would likely qualify for Medicaid, in which "Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses." [10] Individuals with severe depression and anxiety should receive treatment, but on SSI, the funds for such treatment will likely come from Medicaid. SSI recipients may also be eligible for programs like SNAP. Thus more costs. So, what would happen if individuals with severe depression or anxiety didn't work? A study found that: "being out of work for long periods was generally bad for your health, resulting in: more consultations, higher use of medication and higher hospital admission rates than for the average population, a two-to-three times increased risk of poor general health, a two-to-three times increased risk of mental health problems, and a 20% higher death rate." [11] Thus increasing economic costs by raising medical costs and costs involved with suicides.

" someone being hired for one hour, 9-10 am, so an anxious person can avoid rush hour traffic is asinine" - This follows an emotional appeal, not a logical one. Prior to employment, if terms were set specifically requiring the woman to take a 9-5 shift, then she does not have a case. Also, hiring another worker wouldn't likely be a resort. An available employee has probably already been hired. I see you're gearing this argument toward small businesses, so I will make a case for that. Ex. If Jane owns a bakery and requires that someone fill a 9-5 shift and someone fill a 5-9 shift, then those terms should be set when hiring people.

"...depressives is enough to break a business" - Accommodating them will treat their conditions to some extent, improving their effectiveness at work.

"...coaxed their doctor into recommending 4 day weekends." Most employers have sense enough to set terms concerning hours. Furthermore, if someone required at least 4 days of recovery a week, then a doctor would likely recommend finding another job. If a job is that detrimental to a person's mental health, it is reasonable to assume that a doctor would discourage the person from working there period. Again, because accommodations would be doctor-backed, we can also assume they're reasonable.



Emily77 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


First, I would like to thank Emily for debating this topic with me! I feel bad that you missed the last round, but you were a worthy opponent nonetheless!


1. Physical ailments aren't comparable to mental ailments. Arthritis is specifically not comparable to depression or anxiety.
-All 3 conditions produce mental stress
-The mental stress of these conditions is what prompts a need for accommodation
-Ignoring their symptoms can lead to consequences which produce further mental stress

2. People can take advantage of doctors to get accommodations
-There are objective tests for depression and anxiety.
-Psychologists/psychiatrists are professionally trained. Clinical psychology is a profession and therapists should be regarded no less than general practitioners. They won't recommend unreasonable accommodations. Just as a general doctor wouldn't recommend taking a year off for a sprained ankle, a therapist wouldn't recommend taking a year off for depression or anxiety. A general doctor wouldn't even recommend this for a mental health patient.
-Any system can be abused. We shouldn't penalize the majority for the wrong-doing of a few. We regulate and oversee.
-People can take advantage of regular physicians. e.g. "I hurt my back. I need a week off from work."

3. It's the employee's burden to find a job that better suits his or her limitations.
-An accommodation doesn't imply that the employee is not able to fulfill his or her hired role. Refer to the example of my sister in round three and of the woman with a respiratory problem.
-Importance of term A

4. We'll have to extend these accommodations to the average person.
-Unless they experience severe conditions, the average person isn't comparable to someone experiencing severe depression or anxiety.
-If an aspect of work is extremely damaging to an individual's body or mental state, then we would grant an accommodation to the average person. Refer to my round 3 examples about the pregnant woman and man on prescription medicine.

5. It would be less costly to the economy for individuals with depression to receive SSI than to work.
-Putting JUST severe depression cases on the max SSI amounts to over $183 billion. Over a $60 billion difference with the tax revenue con mentioned.
-This doesn't account for individuals with severe anxiety unaccompanied by severe depression.
-Individuals on SSI are automatically $3K under poverty level, so Medicare and other assistance programs will probably be necessary.
-Being out of work for extended periods of time is extremely detrimental to physical and mental health, results in increased medical treatment, and increases death rate (I'd like to retract the fact that I assumed my source meant increased suicide rates in round 3). These consequences would undoubtedly increase medical costs for the economy, especially considering people with severe depression and anxiety. I argue that this is an unethical alternative for them (if forced).

6. Accommodating these individuals would be a burden.
-Accommodating individuals will treat them to some extent, boosting their effectiveness in the workplace. This will result in fewer costs for the economy.
-See new rebuttal*

7. It would especially be a burden to small businesses.
-If it is extremely important that a worker fill a specific shift, then terms should be set about this prior to employment. Term A prevents unnecessary burdens.
-See new rebuttal**


While an accommodation could still be a burden, I emphasize that employers are responsible for their employees to an extent. Maternity leave can still be a burden for employers who are required to offer it, but it's justified because - in particular - the mother needs to recover physically. It's also justified because it's generally accepted that a mother needs some time to bond with her newborn. Note that adopting a child could also mandate a medical leave. That's a psychological accommodation. There's no physical recovery, indicating that psychological needs are indeed important. Eliminating requirements for maternity/paternity leave would not be justified simply because employers are burdened. Therefore, restricting accommodations for individuals with severe depression or anxiety would not be justified simply because employers are burdened. Employers are burdened by various factors: e.g. Worker's Compensation Insurance and various business regulations. These aren't reasons to get rid of those regulations.

I'd like to concede to the fact that small businesses should be exempt from certain regulations. I found that some small businesses were exempt from offering maternity leave. "The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 mandates that companies with more than 50 employees offer eligible workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave with benefits and job protection after the birth or adoption of a child. While some states have laws that apply to smaller companies, the decision to offer maternity leave, even without pay, can be entirely at the owner's discretion." [1] Since some employers are exempt from offering maternity leave (an accommodation), employers could be similarly exempt in accommodating individuals with severe anxiety and depression. It could exempt small businesses from being required to fulfill a doctor-backed request for a shift change.


The psychological and physical symptoms that individuals with severe depression and anxiety experience differ from the symptoms of stress experienced by the average person (in quantity of symptoms and severity). They can discourage and prevent someone from performing tasks, much like the symptoms of severe arthritis can. Those with depression and anxiety are also at higher risk for serious stress-correlated physical conditions and suicide. Therefore: depression and anxiety should be given the full weight of consideration for accommodations that physical conditions are.

It's no doubt that depression and anxiety can negatively impact the work field, but accommodating individuals will treat them and improve their performance and efficiency at work, costing the economy less in terms of depression and anxiety. The alternative - putting individuals with severe depression or anxiety on SSI - is far more costly. Alongside this, it will result in increased medical costs and an increased need for assistance programs like Medicaid. Even though SSI may be an option, all individuals with severe depression and anxiety won't necessarily go on SSI because they have the right to pursue happiness (like working). Should the employer accommodate for them, it can treat their conditions, thus boosting their effectiveness in the workplace and reducing the costs I mentioned in round two.

My opponent does present a valid point about these accommodations burdening businesses; however, it doesn't justify why these accommodations shouldn't be required. A concern for small businesses isn't necessarily... necessary either! Like with offering maternity leave, small businesses could be exempt in accommodating individuals with severe depression and anxiety (to some extent). As far as any business goes, it can be reasonably assumed that the burden won't truly be that burdensome because (1) If a patient wants a hefty accommodation, a doctor would more than likely recommend quitting the job than back the accommodation. (2) The employee is fulfilling term A and B. Lastly, while taking advantage of an accommodation is a possibility, it's not a justification for not requiring accommodations either.

Therefore, given terms A, B, & C, doctor-backed accommodations for workers with depression and/or anxiety should be required.



Emily77 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ThoughtsandThoughts 7 years ago
Yeah, I would say it's very condensed. Maybe in fault to how I worded the resolution?
Posted by Envisage 7 years ago
Or 'condensed'
Posted by Envisage 7 years ago
Maybe that's why I'm finding it hard to read.. As it is quite dense....
Posted by ThoughtsandThoughts 7 years ago
Ahaha, would you believe I had to cut out stuff from two of my rounds? :P Anyway, thanks! I look forward to your evaluation =)
Posted by Envisage 7 years ago
I am working through this debate....slowly....

Like at a rate of 2 paragraphs/day. I will have my RFD done sometime before the deadline.....
Posted by ThoughtsandThoughts 7 years ago
Emily, if you post your argument within the comments (within the next hour), I will still accept it =)
Posted by Emily77 7 years ago
Well that's annoying. I just spent 2.5 hours crafting my argument and missed the deadline by less than 30 seconds. -__-
Posted by Envisage 7 years ago
Posted by ThoughtsandThoughts 7 years ago
@ChosenWolff - I know it exists; however, I found that many people disagreed with it being in place. Especially when I stumbled upon the Andrea case. So I wanted to debate it xD
Posted by ChosenWolff 7 years ago
My comment didn't get posted. Anyways, this already exists.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Splenic_Warrior 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit

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