Do employers have to make reasonable adjustments for mental health?

An employee suffering from a mental health condition that amounts to a disability under the Equality Act, is entitled to have reasonable adjustments made to support them at work. When making reasonable adjustments for mental health, it is helpful to remember that every job is different, so what works in one situation might not necessarily work in another. It is also important for employers to bear in mind that because mental health problems can fluctuate, what works for an employee now may require to be reviewed and changed in the future. 

It is therefore best for employers and employees to work together to agree and review reasonable adjustments over a period of time to make sure that the adjustments work well. It is also important for both parties to recognise that identifying, agreeing and monitoring reasonable adjustments can take time.

Employers should: 

  • be aware that even relatively low-level mental health symptoms, or what appear to be low level symptoms, may amount to a disability under the Equality Act.
  • take any possible or diagnosed mental health issues seriously, with the same care as any physical condition.
  • remember that every job role and every employee is different, so what works in one situation might not necessarily work in another.
  • recognise that a person’s condition may have fluctuating or recurring effects, where the ability of a person to cope with the demands of a job might change over time.
  • work together with the employee, listening to what suggestions that they may have.
  • clearly monitor the effect of adjustments that have been put in place and be prepared to explore other possibilities.
  • keep a record of what reports have been made by or about employees suffering from poor mental health and what reasonable adjustments were put in place to help.

There are various risks associated with failing to provide reasonable adjustments for mental health, not least the possibility that the employer could face allegations of unlawful disability discrimination before an employment tribunal.121 HR Solutions can provide accredited Mental Health First Aid training. If this is of interest, contact us atenquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk

 

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