World Mental Health Day, observed every 10th of October, shines a spotlight on the importance of mental health education, the need to challenge stigmas, and employees who are affected by mental health discrimination at work. Starting from 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, this day now gets attention from over 150 countries. It highlights the big role mental health plays in our lives and gives experts a chance to talk about their work. This year’s theme, “Mental Health is a universal human right”, reminds us of the importance of mental well-being. But there’s still a problem of workplace discrimination against people with mental health issues. From an employment lawyer’s standpoint, the stigmas tied to mental health are often closely interwoven with instances of workplace discrimination. This article aims to shed light on the intricate connection between stigmas, discrimination, and the pivotal role employment lawyers play in safeguarding employee rights.
The Link Between Stigmas and Workplace Discrimination
Stigmas surrounding mental health often revolve around misconceptions and prejudices. These stigmas can lead to unfair treatment at workplaces. Employees with mental health issues may be wrongly perceived as less capable, unreliable, or even unstable. Such misconceptions can result in unfair hiring practices, unequal opportunities, or even wrongful terminations.
Employee Rights Surrounding Mental Health Discrimination
Every worker has rights, regardless of their mental health status. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with mental health conditions, ensuring they are treated fairly in the workplace. Under the ADA:
- Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to help employees with mental health conditions perform their roles effectively.
- Discrimination based on mental health, including in hiring, promotions, or job assignments, is prohibited.
- Harassment due to an employee’s mental health condition is not allowed.
- Retaliatory actions against employees who seek reasonable accommodations or report discrimination are illegal.
How an Employment Lawyer Can Assist
Facing discrimination can be daunting, and many might feel isolated or unsure about their next steps. This is where employment lawyers step in:
- Knowledge & Guidance: Employment lawyers are well-versed with the nuances of the ADA and can guide employees on their rights, ensuring they’re treated fairly.
- Advocacy: In situations where employees face discrimination, lawyers can advocate on their behalf, ensuring their voice is heard and rights are upheld.
- Legal Recourse: If an employer violates the ADA, employment lawyers can assist in taking legal action, whether it’s seeking compensation, job reinstatement, or other appropriate remedies.
As World Mental Health Day emphasizes the importance of mental well-being, it’s equally vital to recognize the associated challenges in the professional realm. By understanding stigmas, being aware of employee rights, and recognizing the pivotal role of employment lawyers, a collective effort can be made towards creating inclusive workplaces where everyone’s mental health and rights are respected. Employers should make their workplaces welcoming for everyone, including those with mental health issues. If in doubt, an employment lawyer can provide more information about mental health discrimination and legal protections. Contact our employment lawyers for a free initial telephone consultation.