Explains what laws protect you from discrimination at work, what you can do if you are discriminated against, and where you can get support and advice.
Benny has schizophrenia. He is applying for a job as a shop manager. The recruitment agent asks Benny if he has any history of mental illness.
The recruitment agent has acted unlawfully by asking Benny health questions in the recruitment process. Benny does not need to answer this question. But if he does choose to answer it, our advice would be that he should answer honestly.
There are some situations when an employer is allowed to ask you questions about your health before a job offer is made. For example to:
If you are successful in your job application, then your prospective employer can ask you about your health. If, as a result of these questions, a prospective employer is concerned that your mental health problems may affect your ability to perform the job, they should seek more information or advice from your doctor or occupational health.
If your job offer is taken away when you explain your mental health status, and without further assessment or investigation, this may be direct discrimination.
The job of an occupational health professional is to assess you to find out:
Your employer can refer you to occupational health if you have a physical or mental health problem that is affecting your work or causing you to take time off sick, particularly if this is more than two or three weeks at once.
If you disagree with their assessment, it is important to seek advice.See our full list of legal terms.
'Disability' has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act, which is broader than the usual way you might understand the word. The Equality Act says that you have a disability if you have an impairment that is either physical or mental and the impairment has a substantial, adverse and long term effect on your normal daily activities.See our full list of legal terms.
These are changes that:
should make for you if you are at a major disadvantage because of your mental health problems and it is reasonable.
Examples of reasonable adjustments include:
The Employment Tribunal decides disputes between employers and employees about employment rights. An Employment Tribunal is like a court but not always so formal.See our full list of legal terms.
This information was published in March 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
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