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Employment: Mental Illness

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Labour, Houghton and Sunderland South

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in protecting the rights of people with mental health conditions in the work place.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The Equality Act 2010 contains strong protections against discrimination on grounds of disability and many mental health conditions will meet the Act’s definition of disability, meaning people with those conditions are protected from direct and indirect discrimination and harassment arising from their disability; and the victimisation provisions ensure that complaints can be brought without fear of adverse repercussion. This protection applies in the workplace and covers both employees and job applicants.

Beyond these core protections, tackling mental health issues in the workplace is a priority for the Government, and we are committed to legislate so that patients suffering from mental health conditions, including anxiety or depression, have greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.

Legislation is not the only solution however. It is important that employers make efforts to understand the issue of mental health and how they can help their staff manage such problems while doing their jobs. In November 2018, the Health and Safety Executive published updated guidance in this regard, which is available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/mental-health

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