14 November, 2013
Forbes Solicitors is warning employers to be aware of their obligations towards employees with mental health problems or risk facing significant financial penalties.
A recent survey revealed that only 35% of people would be open with their employer if they had schizophrenia, a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms. Mental health could be classed as a disability if it has a serious impact on day-to-day life over a long period of time and is covered by the Equality Act which protects people from discrimination.
Peter Byrne, Employment Partner at Forbes Solicitors comments, "It is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of a mental disability or fail to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a worker with a disability. If an employer fails to treat a person with a mental illness fairly they could be subject to an Employment Tribunal where the maximum award for compensation in 2011/2012 was £390,871 - a figure which few firms can afford."