Inquiring after mental illness

Employers have certain responsibilities before disciplining or terminating an employee
By Douglas MacLeod and Fiona Martyn
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/02/2017
Stressed Employee
In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem, according to a 2011 report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Credit: Canadian HR Reporter Illustration (Shutterstock)

In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem, according to a 2011 report from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Although mental illness is often invisible, we should not underestimate its prevalence in society. Despite the growing popularity of mental health campaigns such as “Bell Let’s Talk,” mental illness remains a highly stigmatized issue. Employees are often reluctant to confide in their employers about mental health issues due to a fear of losing or jeopardizing their job, facing judgment from colleagues, or being too embarrassed to ask for accommodations.

As an employer, navigating the fine lines of mental health can be quite challenging, especially since mental disabilities are usually more difficult to detect than physical ones.