Employers aren’t required to ask about mental health, but mental health issues have been on the rise due to the current work-at-home situation. Not many disabilities are visible, but many people could be struggling to cope with addiction, depression, or other conditions. It’s hard to know if your employees are in distress because there are no clear symptoms besides working less, mood swings, oversleeping etc.
Employers should take steps to accommodate employees with illnesses or disabilities before dismissing them. They cannot terminate an employee because of their disability, but employers are legally obligated to help and accommodate the employee until they reach “undue hardship.” However, many employers dismiss employees for mental health-related reasons and may find themselves served with a human rights complaint or lawsuit.
Employers have a duty to protect the human rights of their employees, and that includes accommodating employees with disabilities. Trouble can arise if you do not know what mental illnesses are or how they work, which is why it’s important employers take steps to learn how to accommodate employees who suffer from them.
Imagine that an employee has a physical disability. The employer would need to provide a workplace that allows the employee to do their work at full capacity, adjusting tasks to make it possible. Employers should consider asking about mental health when considering employees to make businesses more inclusive for everyone.
With so many laws and regulations on this issue, employers should not be afraid to ask about mental health disabilities. If an employer learns that there may be a connection with a disability and unsuccessful job performance, they have a duty to inquire. Once the possible medical issues such as mental health kicks into play, employers must offer assistance and accommodation.
Employers should be observant so they can try to address issues before cost starts piling up. These tips can improve both employee health and production while keeping workplace standards strong. First of all, pay attention to employees that might be struggling, and consider time off for stress or anxiety. In particular, employers may want to reach out to employees with whom they have had more personal conversations about their health. When the employee proposes getting a lot of time off from work, the employer should always request medical documentation to ensure it has met their obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.