The PRC Mental Health Law (the “Mental Health Law”) came into force on May 1, 2013.
For the purpose of the Mental Health Law, “mental disorders” means disorder or abnormity of mental activities such as perception, emotion and thinking due to a variety of reasons, resulting in obvious psychological pains or dysfunction of social adaptation of the patients. The diagnosis of mental disorders shall be made by practicing psychiatrists.
In accordance with the Mental Health Law, the employer shall, according to the actual situation of the patient with mental disorders (the “Patient”), assign the Patient to undertake work as his/her capacity allows, ensure equal treatment for the Patient as other employees and arrange necessary vocational skill training for the Patient.
The relevant entities and individuals shall keep confidential the Patient’s name, portrait, address, employer, medical records and other information from which the Patient’s identities may be inferred. Any violation of the above which causes damages to the Patient will result in liability for damage; and the directly responsible person in charge and other directly liable persons of the entity shall be subject to disciplinary actions pursuant to the law.
Where a suspect Patient has committed, or has the potential to commit any act of harming himself/herself or endangering the safety of others, his/her employer shall immediately take measures to stop him/her and send him/her to a medical institution for diagnosis of mental disorders. If a suspect Patient has committed, or has the potential to commit any act of endangering the safety of others, and his/her guardian fails to process the hospitalization formalities for him/her, the employer of the Patient or the village/residents’ committee shall process the hospitalization formalities, and the medical institution shall record it in the Patient’s medical records.
The employers, in their daily management, are usually faced with employees with paranoia, mania, depression or other mental disorders and find it difficult to communicate with them on the issues related with their engagement, management and dismissal. The Mental Health Law, as the only existing national law with regard to mentally disordered employee management in China, provides more protection to those employees and places heavier burden on the employers.