January 9, 2017
Mental Health Issues in the Workplace: Common Mistakes 
With the issuance of an EEOC memo on mental health issues in the workplace, I'm reminded of some of the common errors I've seen supervisors or executives make with regard to this issue.  https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/mental_health.cfm
Perhaps the most common mistake I've seen is managers making the assumption they know whether someone has a mental health issue. In reality, it would be an invasion of privacy to start asking questions about someone's mental state, harass them by making disparaging remarks, or make some employment decision without really understanding the entire situation.

Don't assume someone has a mental health issue
With thousands of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, depression and other issues, as well as increased awareness about mental health issues because of tragic outcomes such as our loss of Robin Williams, you can expect an increase in these kinds of claims and you need to know what to do and what not to do.

What Should You Do?  
  • Don't assume. Your presumptions about someone's behavior may be way off base.
  • Focus on performance. Make sure that they understand the requirements of the job and that you've given them useful feedback.
  • Don't ask questions about their illness or medical condition unless they've asked for accommodation or you ask everyone the same kinds of questions and the answers are essential to the functions of the job.
  • If they do ask for accommodation because of their condition, call the experts! Your HR professional or employment attorney needs to be involved in sorting out these situations.

Did You Know?

We focus on how to have these kinds of tough conversations with employees, as well as the basics of disability issues and accommodation in our management classes.  

For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or 
[email protected]

Read Lynne's book "We Need to Talk - Tough Conversations With Your Employee!" and learn how to handle difficult conversations in the workplace with sensitivity and smarts!
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