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What are ‘reasonable adjustments’ for mental health?

If you’re a manager, and someone at work discloses that they may be having trouble with their mental health, what can you do?

 

The answer will most likely involve making reasonable adjustments.

 

The Equality Act 2010 requires employers to make changes to enable anyone considered a ‘disabled person’ to continue carrying out their job.

 

Mental health-related issues count as a disability in the same way as a physical condition would – when “the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

 

People at work have the legal right to ask for reasonable adjustments in order to manage their mental health, and it is the employer’s duty of care to provide them.

 

Most requests are simply common sense, and can be granted after an open discussion between the manager and employee.

 

These can include having a quiet place to retreat, or changes to working hours. However, sometimes they can be trickier.

 

It may involve providing special equipment, changing the working environment, or altering an aspect of the employee’s role.

 

Either way, an open, honest working culture needs to exist so that these conversations can happen.

 

The organisation will also need the relevant policies in place that will outline what the procedure is regarding wellbeing and mental health.

 

If an organisation refuses make reasonable adjustments, then they leave themselves open to a discrimination claim under the Equality Act.

 

However, the adjustment has to be practical, effective at overcoming the employee’s disadvantage, and not impact on the health and safety of others.

 

The employer also has to be able to pay for it.

 

As you can see, there are several scenarios that can take place when it comes to reasonable adjustments.

 

To find out more, and see how your organisation can make changes to support employee mental health, simply take the free five-minute questionnaire on the BounceBack website.

 

Take care,

Team BounceBack

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