Policy, Practice & Law
The efforts made by organisations to respond to the mental health needs of their staff should be supported by clear policies, work practices and legal obligations.
Policy, practice and the law
Employers and employees need to be aware of their rights and have a good understanding of the law in relation to mental health at work.
These should firstly spell out the obligations organisations owe their staff under the law:
- It is against the law to discriminate against staff specifically because of their mental health, where this is a disability as defined by the law
- This applies both in the way staff are recruited and in the course of their day to day work
- If a member of staff discloses a mental health problem it should be dealt with in confidence
- Organisations of all sizes have a legal duty to make what are known as “reasonable adjustments” by altering working condition to assist an employees with a mental health problem in work and when returning following a period of absence
Regardless of the law, it is good for the organisation’s business to focus on the needs of each person rather than on whether or not they are deemed to be disabled. Policies should reflect legal obligations and they need to be put into practice by management and staff.