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Personality Disorders in Employment Litigation


The traditional role of the mental health expert in a civil lawsuit alleging emotional injury has been to determine whether such an injury occurred and, if so, what was the cause. In recent years, however, some courts have allowed mental health experts to play an expanded role in employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits. Specifically, these courts have become increasingly willing to consider whether the plaintiff's own prior psychopathology contributed to the genesis of the workplace dispute being litigated. In other words, the plaintiff's psychological problems may have caused the workplace dispute in question, instead of vice versa. These prior problems typically take the form of a personality disorder.

This article appeared in the April 2002 issue of Psychiatric Times.

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