Mental illnesses are illnesses just like any other. If you were suffering from a broken leg, your employer wouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against you or harass you because of this. The law stands exactly the same for a mental illness, whether that’s depression, anxiety or another condition.
Those suffering from a mental health issue may be more vulnerable to discrimination and harassment because their illness is not visible. If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed because of a mental health condition, it is important that you understand the law and that you take legal action if appropriate. The following is an overview of your legal rights as an employee suffering from a mental health condition.
You cannot be fired because you have a mental health condition
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, it is likely that you are struggling in some aspects of your work, or that you need to attend doctor’s appointments and therapy. Regardless, it is illegal for your employer to fire you, reject you for a promotion or ask you to leave, unless they have objective evidence that you are unable to perform your job role.
You don’t have to declare your condition to anyone
You never have to tell your employer about your condition if you do not want to. Similarly, your employer cannot ask questions about your health, physical or otherwise, except for some situations. Your employer can ask medical questions in the event that you ask for a reasonable accommodation if they are asking everyone in the same job category the same questions when they start the company, when they are engaging in affirmative action for people with disabilities or when there is objective evidence that you cannot perform your job.
If you believe that your employer may have broken the law regarding the way that they have treated you in relation to your mental health condition, assert your legal rights and protect yourself.