You have a right not to be discriminated against.
It is not fair for your employer to treat you differently because you have a mental health problem.
The Equality Act - How does the law protect me?
The Equality Act protects people from discrimination. It brings together the law that was found in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the Race Relations Act, and the Sex Discrimination Act.
It protects people from being discriminated against because of certain characteristics, such as gender, age or disability. You might not think of yourself as disabled, but if your mental health condition has a serious impact on your day-to-day life over a long period then it might be considered a disability under this law.
The Equality Act applies to all employers in the UK. It also covers contract workers, office holders and business partners. It is a very detailed law, and Mind has produced a Legal briefing called 'Disability discrimination under the Equality Act' which explains how it works. Some of the most important things to know about it are:
- An employer must not treat a disabled person less favourably than another employee because of disability.
- It is wrong for your employer to treat you badly because they think that you have a disability
- It is wrong to treat you unfavourably where this is linked to disability.
- Employers must make reasonable adjustments to work practices, and provide other aids and adaptations, for disabled employees.
- The law covers you during recruitment, employment and if you are being dismissed for any reason, including redundancy
- Employers are not allowed to use 'pre-employment questionnaires' to ask about your health before you are offered a job
Advice Now Guides
Advice Now have produced an excellent website called Is that discrimination? which is packed with easy-to-understand information about discrimination, unfair treatment, bullying and harrassment. Download their guides to discrimination and what you can do about it here:
- Is that Fair? Help to recognise discrimination and understand your rights
- You don't have to put up with it - Help to understand your options and decide what steps you want to take next
Direct Gov Advice
This section of the Direct Gov website explains the differences between discrimination and bullying, and give links to further information and sources of support.
Equality and Human Rights Commission
The EHRC has produced a series of guides to explain your rights under the equality law. They cover recruitment, pay, management and many other topics.
Case study - fighting for fairness
Pat worked in further eduction, and felt she had been unfairly treated by her employers because of her mental health problems. Read about how Mind's legal unit was able to support Pat to understand her rights, and find a compromise with employers who had treated her unfairly.
The Disability Law Service
This service provides advice on all types of disability-related employment law problems, including reasonable adjustments, harassment, dismissal and the employment tribunal procedure.
Mind's legal advice service and legal unit
Mind's legal advice service - 0300 466 6463 -email@example.com
This provides legal information and general advice on mental health related law covering mental health, mental capacity, community care, human rights and discrimination/equality related to mental health issues
Mind's legal unit works with other mental health lawyers on significant impact cases and undertakes some casework, but only specific cases which meet strict 'casework criteria'.