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Mental health discrimination in the workplace

May 13th, 2019

Mental health awareness week, an annual campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation to educate and raise awareness of mental illness, is well underway.

Mental health can affect anyone at anytime. We all can have those feelings of being worried, anxious, stressed, most often these feelings can pass. But when they don’t and things start to impact your daily life this can start to have a significant effect on your mental health and overall wellbeing.

It is understood that mental health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK workplace, with a staggering 70 million work days lost each year. Historically, mental health has been the elephant in the room, something that people can find hard to open up and talk about. But things are starting to change.

Both employers and employees are being proactive in promoting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. We see an increase in mental health champions, mental health first aid training is becoming the norm, all of which is encouraging positive working environments and relationships.

What happens if your employer discriminates against you because of your mental health?

Even with these great strides, sadly workplace mental health discrimination is yet to be a thing of the past. If you feel you are being treated unfairly by your employer or discriminated against because of your mental health, you may have a case under the disability laws in the equality act.

If you think you are being discriminated against, you should initially try and talk to your employer to see if the problem can be solved informally or through their formal grievance procedure. If this does not alleviate the problems, you should seek legal advice.

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