Mental Health At Work

Mental Health At WorkMental Health At Work is a common issue and often raises issues in relation to disability discrimination.  It is essential to fully understand your rights if you have a mental health issue that is impacting your working life, which includes work-related stress and anxiety. In this article, we cover newly updated guidance on mental health at work, which will improve your understanding of how employers should deal with these issues.

What is ACAS’ guidance on mental health?

Your employer has a duty of care towards you as an employee. Part of their responsibility includes making reasonable adjustments to your role if you have a mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to do your job.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has issued recommendations that they hope employers will follow in helping employees with mental health concerns, including issues that do not necessarily amount to a disability. It recommends that employers take these steps before a strict legal requirement arises. We take a look at the Acas guidance on mental health and what to do if your employer is not giving you the help you need. An important starting point is understanding the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 (mental health issues often qualify as disabilities).

At Toner Legal, we can advise you of your rights and contact your employer on your behalf to make suggestions about how your needs can be met. We are employment specialists and we have many years of experience in helping employees navigate complex situations.

As well as offering a high level of legal expertise, we also have a reputation for outstanding client care. We know that managing a mental health condition is difficult and we will ensure you have the support and guidance you need.

If your employer is failing in their duty of care to you, call us today and we will be happy to discuss your situation and the first steps in remedying matters.

What does my employer have to do for mental health conditions?

The Equality Act 2010 says that employers must make reasonable adjustments for employees who have a disability. This includes a substantial and long-term mental health issue that is impacting your ability to do your job.

Your employer should make reasonable adjustments where:

  • They know that you have a disability or could reasonably have been expected to know
  • You have asked for adjustments to be made
  • You are having problems doing your job because of a disability
  • You cannot go to work because of a disability

Your employer should hold meetings with you to discuss what adjustments can be made. Your employee handbook may contain details of how to request this type of meeting. If it does not, you can make a written request to your employer setting out details of the adjustments you believe would be helpful and asking for a meeting.

What is the Acas guidance?

In 2023, Acas set out new guidelines for employers on dealing with employee mental health issues. The guidelines are not legally binding, but employers are encouraged to try and make reasonable adjustments even if the problem is not classed as a disability.

The Acas suggestions to employers include:

  • Adjusting an employee’s role to reduce responsibilities or workload, extending deadlines or moving them to a different department
  • Finding a different way for something to be done
  • Reviewing work relationships and the manner of communication to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Providing equipment, services or support, such as regular check-ins or training to build confidence or skills
  • Adapting work policies, for example, allowing paid time off for mental health appointments
  • Altering the physical environment, such as moving someone to their own quiet room or allowing working from home
  • Changing working hours, for example, allowing more frequent, shorter breaks or moving to flexible hours

What should I do if my employer is not providing mental health support?

If you are going through the difficult experience of a mental health problem, you have the option of approaching your employer confidentially to explain the situation. If you can identify changes that you believe would help, you can ask them if they are prepared to implement them.

If they agree to a meeting, it can be helpful to write down the points you want to cover beforehand. You should also check your employment contract and employee handbook to see what policies your employer has in place with respect to reasonable adjustments.

If your employer does not take the action you need or agree to make changes, you can call to speak to one of our team. We can discuss your rights with you and, where necessary, negotiate with your employer to secure reasonable adjustments to help you deal with your job.

We can also discuss your rights if you cannot work because of your employer’s failure to provide the help you need.

Contact our employment mental health lawyers

If you are having difficulties at work because of mental health concerns, contact us today. You will find our team to be sympathetic and understanding, and we will give you an honest assessment of your case.


This blog is for information purposes only. Nothing should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice, and nothing written should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship.

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