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In The Current

 

Mental Health in The Workplace: It Matters

Employers around the world continue to struggle with how to appropriately address and accommodate individuals with disabilities in the workplace.  But of all disability types, Mental health is still one of the most invisible, stigmatized and not understood.  Springboard has heard many employers say they would not hire someone, if they knew they were currently experiencing depression or some other form of mental health issue. If this were not alarming enough, consider that researchers analyzing results from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said, “they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.”

Although it’s the Human Resource professionals that are the typical go-to folks in the organization relative to the employment of individuals with disabilities, most say they are not properly trained for addressing many of the issues that come up, especially, in the mental health arena.  And even when a manager wants to help, they are typically not equipped with the training to do so.

As with any disability, if the individual is not feeling well, being communicated with appropriately and receiving the appropriate accommodation, they are not going to be as productive and engaged as they could be.

A major part of de-stigmatizing a mental health or other disability in the workplace is about creating a culture where employees feel they can safely, comfortably, and appropriately disclose their disability without negative repercussions. To accomplish this, today Corporate best-practices include Disability Etiquette and Awareness training; Immersion training on Accommodations and the Interactive Dialogue for Human Resources professionals; Hiring Managers and Recruiters; the use of a Disability Disclosure Guidance Tool; Disclosure Road-Shows and Video Vignettes to name a few.  By doing these things, all of which Springboard Consulting provides worldwide, companies demonstrate their interest in successfully mainstreaming individuals with disabilities into their workforces and workplaces, including those with mental health issues

A really good place to begin the education portion of this work is to begin ridding ourselves of the conscious-bias that exists toward folks experiencing mental illness and with most disabilities. When asked, many managers have said, “they think an employee is trying to take advantage of the system when they request an accommodation due to stress or even depression.”

So how do you think these managers will respond to the individual who does disclose?  Probably not well.

While many companies offer Employee Assistance Plans (EAP’s), which can offer wonderful resources for individuals with disabilities, inclusive of mental illness, EAP’s cannot replace the work that must be done internally with HR, Talent Acquisition and Management.

Given mental health issues are prevalent in today’s workplaces, Springboard is committed to writing more on this topic and answering your questions.

To learn more about Springboard’s offerings in this space, please contact Ivette Lopez T: +1(973) 813-7260 x102; E:ivette@consultspringboard.com

 

Company Fired Temporary Agency Staff Member and Failed to Hire Her for Full-Time Position Because of Association with a Child with Disabilities

New Mexico Orthopedics Associates, P.C. (NMOA), which owns and operates a medical facility in Albuquerque, will pay $165,000 to settle a lawsuit for associational disability discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to EEOC's suit, NMOA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing Melissa Yalch Valencia, a temporary staffing agency employee, and failing to hire her for a full-time position because of her relationship with her then three-year old daughter, who had disabilities or was regarded as disabled.

In addition to requiring NMOA to pay monetary damages to Valencia and provide her a letter of reference, the consent decree settling the suit requires NMOA to conduct annual anti-discrimination training for its employees, managers, supervisors, and human resources employees. NMOA will also develop and implement a management evaluation and compensation system which takes into account compliance with equal employment opportunity laws, policies and laws prohibiting retaliation, and this decree. NMOA will also adopt and distribute its anti-discrimination policies and report to EEOC if there are any complaints of disability discrimination. The court approved the settlement and will retain jurisdiction for purposes of compliance for two years.

Discrimination victim Melissa Yalch Valencia said, "It should never have happened. A mother should never have to worry about losing her job because her child has a disability. I hope the lawsuit encourages moms and dads to stand up fearlessly when things like this happen. I also hope this lawsuit and this resolution encourages companies to train supervisors and employees to assure things like this don't happen in the workplace."

Employers MUST remember that the ADA specifically prohibits discrimination against mothers, fathers, caregivers, family members or others who are associated with persons with disabilities.

#Springboard Consulting can help employers to understand and better prepare for those kinds of situations. 

Contact us today at info@consultspringboard.com to learn more.

www.consultspringboard.com

Disability Matters Special Edition Newsletter – The Wave

Attached is Springboard's Disability Matters Europe 2016 Newsletter

 

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We here at Springboard hope you enjoy all of the amazing articles within as well as revisting this wonderful event!

Click on the newsletter image or the link below to access the entire newsletter


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