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This Is What Stigma Looks Like

Anyone with ADHD knows that revealing your diagnosis can be scary. You never know how people will react.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?”

DiscriminationWell, as one New York office manager recently learned, the worst that can happen appears to be immediate dismissal from your job.

Adrienne Thiery, whose story was recently covered in the New York Post, started working at Manhattan-based marketing firm Slover and Company in July 2015. Her work over the ensuing months apparently wasn’t too shabby, because she got a $12,000 bonus in May 2016.

The same month, Thiery decided to share her ADHD diagnosis with her bosses. And that’s when things started to go off the rails.

According to a discrimination lawsuit filed by Thiery, her bosses took to email to ridicule her diagnosis. Moreover, it seems that in an inattentive error of their own, Thiery’s bosses mistakenly CC’ed Thiery on their emails!

Included in the suit are copies of the emails sent between Rosemary Kuropat and Susan Slover, owners of Slover and Company, on June 2 – here are some excerpts, as provided by the NY Post article:

  • Kuropat: “Turns out Adrienne told Jenn she has ADHD! ai yi yi!”
  • Slover: “It cannot be our problem and at a higher salary … It’s all very tiring.”
  • Kuropat: “I wasn’t suggesting we should be more sensitive … I was thinking … THE CHICK IS HOPELESS!”

The next day, June 3, Thiery was fired.

What’s unique about this story isn’t necessarily even the fact that Thiery was apparently fired for having ADHD. It’s that her bosses went to such great lengths to provide her with written documentation of the illegal actions they were allegedly taking against her.

There are probably a couple things we can learn.

The first is that stigma against ADHD is alive and well, and it’s not always subtle.

The second is that if you’re going to do something illegal, it’s a good idea to be extra careful about who you CC. Better yet, though, just be a decent human being and don’t discriminate against people with disabilities.

I’d encourage you to read the New York Post article for more details and to share it on social media to help shine light on ADHD stigma.

I was going to follow this up with some thoughts on when to disclose your diagnosis, but I’m going to move that to a separate post because I think this story should stand on its own. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you’re discriminated againstbecause of ADHD, know that you’re not alone!

Image: Deaconescu

This Is What Stigma Looks Like

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2016). This Is What Stigma Looks Like. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Aug 2016
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