A Perfect Storm: The Rise Of Employee Mental Illness And The ADA
Commentary and Checklist
An annual survey in the UK concerning mental health in the workplace found that, for the sixth year in a row, over 40 percent of employers saw an increase in employees with mental health issues.
Workplace mental health illnesses are on the rise. In 2009, only 24 percent of respondents reported increased mental health issues among their employees.
Training managers on how to assist employees with mental illness is essential, but currently only 30 percent of organizations provide such training. Likewise, only 31 percent of employers said they are trying to increase mental health awareness in their workforce, and 22 percent said they are not taking any action to improve employee mental health. Hayley Kirton "Two-fifths of employers report increase in employee mental illness," cipd.co.uk (Oct. 9, 2015).
- When presented with an accommodation request, engage in an interactive process with the employee with a disability. Seek expert opinion from the employee's health care provider regarding possible reasonable accommodations.
- Make sure the health care professional has a detailed job description that identifies all aspects of the essential functions of the job the employee seeking the accommodation must be able to perform.
- Establish a neutral process by which accommodation requests are evaluated to determine whether they cause an undue hardship on the employer or create a safety hazard for the employee, other employees or third parties.
- Provide independent proof to an applicant or employee with a disability as to why an accommodation creates an undue hardship or safety concern, and permit the employee to refute it, if possible.
- Once accommodations are in place, meet with the employee and others to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations. Determine whether additional accommodations are needed.
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