Turning a Stigmatizing Experience Into A Positive


Did you read over the weekend about Palmer Advertising in San Francisco, and the ad they put on Craigslist? No? Apparently they are looking for a business development person in the Stockton, California area and the ad, along with job description and required experience, listed this line: 

"The successful candidate will have ... Sanity. If you are a prima donna, bipolar, or require anger management, please go to a big agency where you can hide in the crowd." 

When Kristina Beard, fellow blogger and mental health advocate, alerted me to it this morning, I fired off an email to Mr. Palmer, explaining how his advertisement, while stigmatizing to persons with Bipolar Disorder, is also very, very illegal. 

EEOC law states:

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. The ADA’s nondiscrimination standards also apply to federal sector employees under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and its implementing rules.
An individual with a disability is a person who:


  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

In my email to Mr. Palmer, I cc'ed a few of his clients, including the Bank of Stockton, and The San Francisco 49ers President, Jeb York. 

This afternoon I received a reply from Mr. Palmer, apologizing profusely. It sounds like he's done this a few times over the past few days. He said, "I have admitted it was wrong. I am not sure what else to do. It was a regrettable and terrible mistake." 

So I gave him a suggestion. Reach out to the San Francisco chapter of NAMI and offer some free marketing services. That way he can help others learn about the damaging impact of stigma around mental illness. 

And he agreed. He will. So NAMI San Francisco, let me know when Mr. Drew Palmer contacts you. And thank you, Mr. Palmer, for realizing the gravity of the situation, and your willingness to do something positive to keep others from making a similar faux pas.


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