Mental Illness in the Workplace: Employer Responsibilities

BY: Koszdin | Saturday, October 20, 2018.

In the past few years, mental illness has become a relevant issue in the workplace. While people have always experienced struggles with mental health, awareness of the issue has only recently brought it to the forefront of national discussion. As expected with such an upsurge in the relevancy of mental illness, mental health claims are also on the rise.

Since the issue is so new, some employers may be confused over the rights of employees struggling with mental health. However, being knowledgeable about employer responsibilities when it comes to mental illness can be the difference in receiving a mental health claim due to negligence. And as an employee, you should be familiar with the responsibilities your employer has regarding your mental health.

The following article will provide an overview of some established responsibilities employers have regarding the mental health of their employees. With that being said, mental health claims are complex and you should consider consulting with a Van Nuys mental health claim attorney to address questions on an individual basis.

Disregarding Mental Health Conditions Is Discrimination

A common mistake employers make when dealing with an employee’s mental health is dismissing their illness. If your employee comes to you asking for time off due to health concerns, do not dismiss them without engaging them first. Even if you think their mental health claim is invalid, you could still be at risk for a mental health claim. For example, that employee could not show up to work after coming to you with their issue, and you could fire them for being absent without permission. The fired employee could potentially have a valid mental health claim.

Always Engage Employees Struggling with Mental Health

As an employer, you are responsible for engaging dialogue about possible accommodations when an employee requests them. This does not mean you must always meet their demands, but dismissing them outright will put you in a compromised position. You must also engage an employee if you have observed behavior that reflects a need for accommodation, or if a third party brings the need for accommodation to your attention.

Never Share an Employee’s Mental Health Condition

As with any medical condition, the mental health issues of your employees must not be shared with anyone. There are only a few instances that would permit discussing your employee’s mental health condition. Such instances include the following:

  • If a superior of an employee struggling with mental health issues must be aware of any accommodations said employee requires.
  • If medical personal must be aware of said condition to properly treat an employee
  • If the condition is relevant to an ongoing government investigation in California.

The Next Step

If you are an employer or an employee dealing with a mental health claim, you should not take on the process alone. Consulting with a Van Nuys mental health claim attorney is a wise decision. At The Law Offices of Koszdin, Fields & Sherry, we have the experience necessary to protect your best interests. For a free consultation, contact us or give us a call at 818-812-5639 or 800-747-3447.

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