Many forms of mental ill health are likely to be disabilities and, where that is so, you as an employer have a responsibility under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to ensure that relevant job seekers and employees are not subjected to disability discrimination.
Disability discrimination can occur in a number of ways, for example, disability-related harassment might occur where derogatory or insensitive comments are made about an employee’s mental ill health.
However, the most common form of disability discrimination occurs where an employer fails to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments. This is a special duty which requires employers to remove or reduce physical, procedural and attitudinal barriers that prevent disabled people from enjoying the same equality of opportunity in employment that non-disabled people enjoy.
Creating a positive mental health culture will greatly help employers to comply with the reasonable adjustment duty.
Advantages of creating a culture for positive mental health
Some of the key benefits of creating a culture that respects and helps employees with mental ill health are that it can:
- reduce staff turnover and retain key skills
- make your business more attractive to potential employees
- show you have a demonstrable aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility
- reduce sick absence
- create a healthier workplace
- create a more engaged, motivated and committed workforce
- help your business to provide a better service
- help you to comply with the reasonable adjustment duty