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Personality Disorder

Accommodation and Compliance: Personality Disorder

About Personality Disorder

A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.  There are 10 specific personality disorders. They are as follows:

  • Paranoid personality disorder – a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness such that others' motives are interpreted as malevolent.
  • Schizoid personality disorder – a pattern of detachment from social relationship and a restricted range of emotional expression.
  • Schizotypal personality disorder – a pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior.
  • Antisocial personality disorder – a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
  • Borderline personality disorder – a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.
  • Histrionic personality disorder – a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder – a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
  • Avoidant personality disorder – a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.
  • Dependent personality disorder – a pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of.
  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder – a pattern of preoccupations with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.

Personality Disorder and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Personality Disorder

People with personality disorders may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with personality disorders will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

Events Regarding Personality Disorder