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Mental health at work – what does the law say?

We’ve looked at the human cost of mental ill health at work many times on these pages.

 

However, what is the law regarding workplace stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions?

 

The Equality Act 2010 states that it is against the law to discriminate against an individual because of a ‘protected characteristic’ such as gender, race or disability.

 

Mental ill health counts as a disability if it has a substantially adverse and long-term effect on someone’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

 

“Long-term” means that the condition has affected the individual for 12 months or longer.

 

At work, the effect can include anything that prevents an employee doing their job, such as interacting with customers.

 

The 2017 abolition of employment tribunal legal fees means employers could leave themselves open to claims from employees who believe they have been discriminated against.

 

This means that there is not only a moral obligation to look after mental health in the workplace, but a legal one too.

 

The key to preventing discrimination in your organisation is raising awareness of mental health.

 

If managers and employees know how to deal with someone who may be having mental health issues, then the chance of doing or saying the wrong thing is vastly reduced.

 

Training also opens up a dialogue, so employees can feel more comfortable disclosing issues.

 

This means managers can act quickly to put safeguards and reasonable adjustments in place. This itself protects employers against possible tribunal claims, and helps the employee continue to work and live their life.

 

Mental Health First Aid training is ideal for all of this.

 

At BounceBack, we’re hosting a number of MHFA sessions across the country in various locations.

 

If you think it could help your business, find out which one is nearest to you on our dedicated MHFA page.

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