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1.2million UK employees face disciplinary for disclosing mental health issues at work

1.2million UK employees face disciplinary for disclosing mental health issues at work

A staggering number of UK employees have faced demotion, disciplinary or dismissal after disclosing their mental health issues at work, a new report has found.

Charity, Business in the Community in partnership with MHFA England and Mind, found that 1.2 million employees could risk serious repercussions for disclosing a mental health issue.

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  • Willy White
    Willy White
    Mon, 9 Oct 2017 6:17pm BST
    This is a hugely important issue for all UK employers, and the report should be welcomed for informing how we deal with the mental health of our employees. That said it is very important that the data underpinning the report is accurate and reliable. With all due respect to YouGov and others involved in the compilation, can I pose a couple of questions?
    The survey sample frame and responses comprised 3,036 UK employees. In answer to the question. 'When you experienced mental health problems and disclosed them to your employer did any of the following things happen?',
    10% said they were 'sacked or forced out', so over 300 personnel.
    8% said they 'faced disciplinary procedures', so circa 240 personnel.
    Bearing in mind that a significant number of mental health conditions would result in the employee being classified as disabled in accordance with the 2010 Equality Act, that would be 300 occasions in which an employer was prepared to run the risk of a disability discrimination claim (which obviously includes unlimited damages), along with a significant number of possible unfair dismissal claims. Really?
    As far as disciplinary action is concerned, that surely can only be taken when an employer takes the view the employee has acted in an indisciplined manner, and there's the evidence to back up the contention. How can it even be construed that an employee has breached the disciplinary code for merely telling their employer they are experiencing mental health problems? And assuming that is indeed what happened, that is 240 occasions when again employees could possibly have registered claims of disability discrimination.
    Maybe I have been cosseted by working for an employer for the past 15 years where this type of response is inconceivable; maybe not. I do seriously wonder about the reliability of these figures. Am I alone (and naïve!)?
  • James Rees
    James Rees
    Mon, 9 Oct 2017 8:36am BST
    This is outrageous and it would be great if those firms demoting or dismissing employees with mh issues were highlighted. However, there is also irony in this. I've been working with a small number of FTSE leaders and each of them have declared that their skill as a leader improved after their own mh issues, which is fascinating. Could it be that one day mh might be considered a part of leadership development? Sounds odd but as Leadership now requires authenticity and connection between head, heart and gut, it is logical.

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