10th October marks World Mental Health Day, a chance to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourage support for those who need it. It’s a great opportunity for businesses to look at their own approach to mental health and ensure that employees receive the right support in the workplace.
As an employer, it’s important to understand the impact of employment law and mental health. In this guide, we detail the different areas of employment law surrounding mental health and how you can ensure your organisation does right by its employees both now and in the future.
Fulfilling your duty of care
All employers have a duty of care towards their employees. According to ACAS, employers must do everything they can to protect employees health and wellbeing, including:
- Maintain a safe work environment
- Protect staff from discrimination
- Carry out risk assessments
Preventing stress at work is an important part of your duty of care and after carrying out a risk assessment around stress, steps must be taken to prevent it. Many employers introduce mental health policies which set out their processes and employees rights regarding mental health conditions.
Mental health and disabilities
There are many types of mental health conditions. Some may be short-lived, while others can be chronic. Under the Equality Act 2010, mental health becomes a disability when it has a long-term effect on your day-to-day activities. Some examples of mental health conditions that can become disabilities include dementia, depression and bipolar disorder.
As preventing discrimination comes under your duty of care, as an employer, you must take steps to ensure this doesnâ€™t happen in the workplace. An employee cannot discriminate against someone with a disability and should work with the employee to make adjustments that will help them feel more comfortable and supported at work.
Employers cannot discriminate against someone with a mental health condition when applying for jobs. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any questions about someone’s mental health until a job offer is made, although there are exceptions for certain job roles where a health assessment is needed to make sure a person can carry out the job.Â
In cases where discrimination takes place and an employee brings a claim, such as unfair dismissal, it’s important to take immediate action. Many of these cases could be resolved informally, although there is a possibility that the employee will proceed to an Employment Tribunal if the matter can’t be resolved in another way. Ensuring you have the right legal advice can help you deal with these disputes and ensure the best outcome for you and your employees.
Employment law advice in Devon
In need of some employment law advice? The team at Curtis Whiteford Crocker are employment law experts who can guide you through the difficult area of mental health and ensure your business does everything it can to protect its employees in fulfilling your legal obligations.
For employment law advice in Plymouth, Torpoint, Tavistock, Plymstock and Kingsbridge, contactÂ Curtis Whiteford Crocker today.