Sunday, 19 July 2015

mental health disability discrimination: care providers making job applicants jump through hoops

I contend that if employers subject people with mental health labels to "special treatment" during their job application processes then they are guilty of contravening the Disability Discrimination Act.  Of breaking the law. 

If the "special treatment" consists of making the job applicant who has been offered the job attend more than one doctor interview, travel over 80mls for a meeting, get a written report from a psychiatrist, subjecting them to stigmatising language over the phone with human resources staff, then they are discriminating against the person with mental health history.  

Or trying to put the candidate off working with the organisation by singling them out for "special treatment".  Scapegoating I call it.  

I think that it is even more concerning when the care provider claims to work "in a person-centred way", to promote recovery focused services and actually works with people who have mental health difficulties.  

"Special treatment" which goes on for nearly 5 months after a job offer has been made, without any reason given, except to say it's the "process", is just not good enough.  

What annoys me most about this carry-on is that I'd delivered recovery focused training to clients and staff from this organisation in Nov/Dec 2008, in Glasgow.  I gave them free materials and met with their management staff at the time, in Glasgow and in Perth.  I thought they were genuine in their promotion of recovery.  However now I wouldn't recommend anyone else to go through this organisation's recruitment process if they had a mental health condition or label.   

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Ruby Wax had it right, in the Guardian article, 6 July 2015 'Should you tell your boss about mental illness?':


"If you become mentally ill, don’t – whatever you do – tell your boss. That’s Ruby Wax’s advice. The comedian and author, who was recently awarded an OBE for her services to mental health, told the Times: “When people say, ‘Should you tell them at work?’, I say: ‘Are you crazy?’ You have to lie. If you have someone who is physically ill, they can’t fire you. They can’t fire you for mental health problems but they’ll say it’s for another reason. Just say you have emphysema.” Mental illness, she added, “is like the situation used to be with gay rights. Like being in the closet, but mental illness is now the taboo instead.”'


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