An article by "Forbes" about bipolar in the workplace explains employees with the disorder usually approach their disorder at work in one of three ways: telling everyone, supervisors included; telling no one; or telling a couple of coworkers they trust. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, states that employers must not discriminate based on a disability or mental disorder and must be reasonably accommodating to employees. Many who suffer from bipolar can function in the workplace and many are hireable.
Research the type of bipolar your employee has. A variety of online resources exist to provide information to people who know someone with bipolar. Find out what types of behaviors to expect and how to approach the specific type of bipolar.
Accommodate your employee. Before assuming what he needs, ask him. The employee might request an office with a window, a later starting time, several short breaks throughout the day instead of one long lunch break. If the requests are reasonable and won't affect productivity, meet as many needs as you can.
Offer broad encouragement, but don't be a therapist. Employers often think their position of power gives them the right to bring up the disorder in the workplace, but it doesn't. If your employee wants to talk about it, he will. However, always be positive around the employee, offering encouragement and asking if he needs anything from time to time.
Watch employee progress. Despite being compassionate and encouraging to employees who suffer from bipolar, supervisors must still be concerned and watchful for the company. Take note of how your employee works with others, productivity, absences and special needs. If an area of concern arises, confront it directly and work with your employee to take care of it.
Give promotions objectively. Think of your best employee, regardless of mental disorders, and promote based on skill. If your top employee is a person with bipolar, gauge his performance, absences, relationships with coworkers and how much you've actually noticed the bipolar affecting his performance. If you avoid promoting a person with mental illness because of "what might happen" without proper evidence, you don't have good enough reason. Promote fairly.