Mental Health Issues & The Workplace

January 20th, 2022 - Barbara Buckett

Workplaces need to be aware of mental health which requires identification and management

There is no doubt that anecdotally we are seeing a rise in mental health issues in the workplace. Research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that rates of mental illness are rising at an alarming rate. WHO identifies depression as the leading cause of productivity loss worldwide.

Whilst COVID-19 has aggravated the situation, it has just released the foot off the pedal.

The ever-increasing work dynamics and complexities are causing a resurgence of work-related stressors to point of crisis.

We are seeing the real emergence of workplace damage to the emotional and psychological well-being of staff.

Mental health issues at work are serious health and safety problems; one that the law requires the employer to manage and prevent.

Ensuring workplaces are safe and healthy is an employer’s responsibility.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure that the workplace does not impact adversely on an employee’s wellbeing, and it is safe.

Employers must take an employee as they find them.

The vagrancies of an employee’s health and resilience are factors that an employer needs to take into account.

It matters not that one employee can tolerate the heat of a situation more than another.

It is the impact on the individual that is the current legal focus. Employers must avoid discrimination.

Employers need to be more vigilant in observing signs of and triggers for stress.

No longer can an employer wait for the employee to put their hand up.

Foreseeability which creates obligation comes with the environmental and systemic circumstances created by them and within the workplace itself.

  • Employers need to be aware of red flags such as high levels of sick leave absence or high staff turnover.

  • Employers need to demonstrate that all employees know their obligations.

  • Employers need to reach out for professional advice to reduce and manage mental illness and provide healthy work environments.

The law does not tolerate unfair treatment of employees who suffer work-related mental health issues.

The consequences could be severe. Work-related suicides are increasing and alarmingly now a reality.

The penalties are increasing for breaches of health and safety requirements.

Make your workplace a happy space.

Buckettlaw sponsors healthy workplaces. We work with other workplace health professionals to give advice and bring about change.

Working together can bring change to avoid harm and compliance risk.

Employers, BuckettLaw can help you understand your obligations regarding mental health in the workplace. Employees, if you feel that your workplace is not providing a safe environment, you may have a personal grievance to raise.

Contact BuckettLaw today.

Note: BuckettLaw takes no responsibility for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of our articles. Any views expressed or comments made in an article are the writers option only. The content in our articles does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal or expert advice you should obtain specific advice about your case or matter from a professional. For legal advice based on your individual situation please contact us to speak with one of our expert lawyers.

Enjoy a complimentary 15-minute phone call as a first-time offer.

Barbara Buckett

Barbara Buckett is a highly experienced senior employment lawyer with over 35 years of practice in New Zealand. She provides expert advice on all areas of employment law and has a proven track record of delivering excellent results for clients. Barbara has extensive experience in resolving workplace issues and is an experienced litigator. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, working out, and fine wine and dining with friends.

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