The Mental Health of Employees at Work
Addressing the legal issues related to the mental health of employees at work is one of the more perplexing issues facing employers in Canada. It is because of the nature of this sensitive topic and a lack of awareness that issues begin stemming from mental health in an office environment. It is important to protect your employees and educate yourself on the steps to take to accommodate your employees.
An Employer’s Lack of Awareness
In the Globe and Mail article, Dealing with mental illness in the workplace, employment lawyer, Daniel Lublin, concludes that an employer’s lack of awareness of their employees’ mental well-being may not free them from liability in the event that violence occurs in the workplace. In the article, Mr. Lublin details and explains the following key points:
- Employers have a duty to accommodate their employees so that the employee may fulfill their job responsibilities;
- Employers have a duty to inquire where the mental state of their employee is in question;
- Employees may even in some instances have a duty to disclose their mental illness to their employer;
- Employers have a duty to prevent harm to others in the workplace by taking every reasonable measure to protect their employees from committing or being victims of violence;
- Employers should establish procedures for informing their employees of health benefits and wellness programs that are available to them;
- Employers should remain vigilant and record any unusual behaviours. They are responsible for ensuring employees receive all reasonable accommodations; and
- Employers should regularly review and update their action plan for managing a potential or real fallout from workplace incidents.