Time to Talk about depression

Time to Talk about depression and disability discrimination

Today is ‘It’s Time to Talk’ about depression day. To mark this, Prospect reports on a recent successful disability discrimination tribunal judgment and issues guidance to representatives on using the law proactively to avoid discrimination.

In a very recent employment tribunal case Prospect succeeded in establishing a member was disabled within the terms of the Equality Act due to his stress and depression.

Prospect has run several cases under the disability legislation for members diagnosed with depression. The recent case was rather different as the member contended he was disabled not only in respect of stress and anxiety, but also due to type 2 diabetes, serious hypertension, and a digestive condition.

The employment judge found that the physical conditions did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act, but that the claimant was disabled in relation to his mental health. This means the employer is under a positive duty to make reasonable adjustments to overcome workplace barriers arising from the disability.

Prospect advice to representatives, issued today, looks at the legal definition of a person with a disability under the Equality Act and offers practical guidance to running cases for members with depression.

Marion Scovell, Prospect legal officer, said: “The additional pressures that members face at work has meant an increase in the number of cases we are running for workers with depression.

“The 'Time to Talk' day is a great initiative, encouraging people to support others with depression. A key part of this is the vital role union reps play in supporting members in the workplace and standing up for equal treatment.”