Is your business making reasonable adjustments for mental health issues?
The 8th – 14th May marks mental health awareness week and looks to shine a light on a topic that is rarely spoken about enough.
That is no more evident than in the workplace, where identifying and responding to mental health problems can be incredibly difficult for employers.
However, research by Mind has shown that 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress.
Employers’ responsibilities on mental health in the workplace
Employers do have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their staff which extends to taking reasonable care to prevent mental health issues occurring.
However, knowing an employee has a problem can be difficult. A survey carried out by the mental health charity Mind found that 1 in 5 people felt they couldn’t tell their boss if they were stressed at work and less than half of people diagnosed with a mental health problem had told their manager.
Introducing a clear mental health policy
One simple way to demonstrate that your workplace takes mental health seriously is to introduce a clear mental health policy.
By communicating this to employees, you can ensure that support is in place for anyone who is experiencing mental health problems.
If you would like advice on creating clear policies specific to your business, talk to our specialist employment solicitors on 01282 695 400.
Considering the law on protected characteristics
When dealing with mental health in the workplace, employers will need to be aware that some mental illnesses will constitute a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
If a mental illness does constitute a disability under the Equality Act 2010, it will be a protected characteristic. This means that employers cannot treat an employee less favourably because of their mental health.
You will also have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled employees do not face disadvantages in the workplace.
Reasonable adjustments could include:
- Training and supporting managers in communication and managing performance.
- Considering whether any company policies could put an employee suffering mental health issues at a disadvantage to other employees.
- Offering to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate those disadvantages.
- Communicating with an employee to ensure any adjustments made meet their needs.
- Keeping the situation under review. You should not assume that a mental health issue has disappeared when an employee outwardly seems better.
If you are concerned about the potential of discrimination of one of your employees, find out how you can prevent unfair treatment in the workplace.
Does your business need specific advice on handling mental health in the workplace?
Handling mental health issues in the workplace can be difficult for many employers.
At LawforEmployers, our dedicated solicitors are available to ensure you are following the correct procedures to both protect your business and offer your employees the support they need.
To talk to our specialist employment law solicitors today, call us on 01282 695 400.
Or, if you’d prefer to arrange a time to suit you, you can get in touch with us online to book your free consultation.