Today is World Mental Health Day, a day set up by the World Health Organisation to promote public awareness of mental health issues. The theme this year is “Depression: A Global Crisis”. Depression is an increasingly common condition which can have a particularly profound impact on an individual’s ability to work.
More and more employers are faced with employees on long-term sickness absence or those taking repeated short term absences as a result of mental health conditions including depression and work-place induced stress. Despite this many employers find it difficult to know how best to act when a mental condition affects an employee's performance or attendance.
My colleague, Pamela Macaulay, recently wrote a useful article providing guidance on how employers can identify when depression is a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act. Perhaps most importantly, employers should be careful to heed when a duty to make reasonable adjustments arises – namely when the disability in question places the employee at a substantial disadvantage (in relation to the workplace or the role performed) in comparison to their non-disabled colleagues.
To play your part in World Mental Health Day, read Pamela’s article for an overview of dealing with depression in the workplace.